Small screen

The Magnificent Seven: Sporty TV shows

We take a trip down memory lane to a time when Linda Block was the only girl for us.

ON SATURDAY NIGHT, Sky Atlantic screens the latest offering from the same production line which brought The Sopranos, Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, to our sitting rooms.

Luck was aired by HBO in America a fortnight ago, and is the brainchild of acclaimed director Michael Mann (Heat, Ali) and producer/writer David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue).

It’s also got a heavyweight cast which includes Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina and stars Dustin Hoffman as Chester ‘Ace’ Bernstein – a recently released convict who invests in an Irish racehorse and looks to inflict revenge on those responsible for sending him down by gaining control of a racetrack in Los Angeles.

After having a peak at the trailer (below) we’ve decided it’s definitely worth recording if you’re not sitting in on the night.

YouTube credit: skyatlantic

And with Friday Night Lights beginning from scratch on the same channel earlier this week, it got us thinking about our favourite sports-based programmes from the past and present…

1. Dream Team

Steamy affairs between the star player and the chairman’s missus, assassinations and team bus massacres were all run-of-the-mill occurrences at fictional Premier League club Harchester United. Unlike its successor Football Wives, you actually got to see ‘Fletch’, Dean Hocknell and Luis Rodriguez in action – by which we mean the creators showed footage of, say, Portsmouth versus West Ham and made out that Linvoy Primus was actually Harchester’s Darren Tyson.

The Sky One programme’s theme tune should re-jog your memory.

YouTube credit:  thedragonshufc

2. Eastbound & Down

Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is the ultimate anti-hero. Chucked out of the Major Leagues because of his drug-taking, the fallen pitcher spends the first two seasons attempting to claw his way back to the big time with the help of his sidekick Stevie. If you haven’t come across this before it’s well worth checking out. There’s also a cameo appearance from Will Ferrell, who plays manic car dealer Ashley Schaeffer.

YouTube credit:  

3. Fran: Assistant Manager

Fran: Assistant Manager gave a hilarious insight into the running of a Leinster Senior League football team when it was broadcast on Tv3 back in 2009. The main character is St Peter United’s right-hand man, who lives for the club and while he talks a good game, in reality, is a total laughing stock.

YouTube credit:  Peterdmc12

4. Hang Time

This was one of those cringy teen sitcoms from the mid-90s, but yes, we were known to tune in for the odd episode. Think a poor man’s Saved By The Bell, which revolved around a high school basketball team. Anthony Anderson, who has gone on to feature in The Departed and Transformers, got his break as Teddy – the slightly overweight comedian.

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5. Renford Rejects

A motley crew of outsiders and no-hopers join forces to form the Renford Rejects. Basically, they’re a team made up entirely of blokes who were always picked last in the school yard. Goalkeeper Ben was more interested in poetry than pulling off saves, Barry aka Bruno Di Gradi suffered from a severe identity crisis and Jason, was a Hull City fan.

One question: Why on earth were the opening credits accompanied by a Manic Street Preachers song about Oz?

YouTube credit:  ROTSSisalive

6. On Home Ground

RTE decided to back a drama centred around the GAA club of a town in rural Ireland to fill the Sunday night slot. It starred several familiar faces including Ronan Keenan and Amy Huberman but didn’t last very long and was axed in 2003.

YouTube credit: wf53wf53wf53

7. Father Ted

Ok, so this doesn’t strictly fit in alongside the rest but we’ll take any excuse to include some classic Ted. The over 75s five-a-side between Craggy Island and Rugged Island is an absolute gem with Jason Byrne as the twinkled-toed referee, Ms Doyle’s partisan fans, the cultured Fr Romeo Sensini and…. “Wait a minute, these are fake arms!”. Genius.

YouTube credit:

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