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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Melodrama > Scotland > Sports > Soccer > Australia > Cable TV > Basketball > The Nest (2020)/Playing For Keeps: Season One (2018/Sundance/both Acorn DVD)/Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty The Complete First Season (2022/HBO/Warner Blu-ray)

The Nest (2020)/Playing For Keeps: Season One (2018/Sundance/both Acorn DVD)/Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty The Complete First Season (2022/HBO/Warner Blu-ray)

Picture: B-/B-/B Sound: C+/B-/B Extras: D/D/C Episodes: B+/B+/C+

Now for some TV you may not have heard of, save a new hit on HBO....

Emily (Sophie Rundie) and Dan (Martin Compston) are a wealthy Scottish couple who has everything, the only they don't have is a baby. When Emily one day accidentally runs into Kaya, Kaya (Mirren Mack) just happens to overhear their 'problem' and volunteers to be a surrogate mother, but that's when the trouble starts, being a surrogate mother for couples with fertility problems falls into the 'grey' area of the laws and keeping it a secret is even harder. There are secrets on both sides, one secret threatens to destroy the other, Kaya doesn't want her past to be revealed and Emily and Dan will do anything for their child, but not at the expense of being used in the TV mini-series The Nest (2020).

Kaya is an 18-year-old gal and after nearly being hit by Emily's car, she sees it at a golden opportunity 'help' them have one last chance to have a baby and her next meal ticket. Emily and Dan are desperate to have a baby, but using a surrogate mother has no legal laws/rights/protection to say what they can or can't do. At first, they come to an agreement, but then Kaya starts demanding more money and she wants to go out and have fun and even shacks up with Emily and Dan's nephew, then when one of Kaya's former junkie boyfriends ends up dead Kaya's past comes back to haunt her, she has been keeping something from Dan and Emily, a sealed juvie record and she is actually Scotland youngest killer. The media learns of this and it spins it into Dan and Emily were using Kaya, abusing their wealth and power, then when the baby is born prematurely, Kaya's estranged mother shows up and changes Kaya mind and they then end up in a custody battle in court.

The law is in the grey and by law, the birth mother has legal control. Kaya goes to the media and gets public sympathy on her side and it seems like she is going to win, but then she realizes she is becoming just like her mother, a gold digger, and her real reason isn't for the baby, but the money and how close she almost became her mother.

This was a 5-part Scottish-produced TV mini-series and it is drama, drama and more drama. After each episode there are sudden twists that causes the audience to have sympathy to one side or the other. In the end, the entire series plays off on how rich people can use their money or power to get what they want or those who are poor will do anything to get what the rich people have. The law in the end doesn't protect the good or punish the bad, but to control the damage afterwards. The only extra is a behind the scenes featurette.

Paige (Cecelia Peters) is moving into the big city with her boyfriend Daniel (George Puller), the new rookie star of the Southern Jet football/rugby team. While Daniel is there to play, Paige must learn to fit in with the wives and girlfriends (or better known as WAGs), a group of high society females, but behind closed doors there are secrets, sex, affairs and scandals, and Paige must quickly adapt if she is to survive in Playing For Keeps: Season One (2018).

Paige is a country bumpkin girl with big dreams, moving into the city, with her boyfriend. She becomes part of a group of alpha females known as WAGs, Wives and Girlfriends of the city football team and they are basically treated as celebrities and V.I.P.s and she is now part of this elite 'club'. At first, she feels like the WAGs are all rich and famous and supermodel and she is just a wall flower, but the WAGs real power comes from all the secrets (and who they are sleeping with) behind the team. When one of the players mysteriously dies during the training, Paige must uncover the lies and discover the truth of what really happened.

This was a drama filled series about lies, secrets, sex and scandals. It takes the view from the rookie couple that just entered a world sports, celebrities and sin. Aside from the main character, all the other characters are high society characters, beautiful and powerful and they think they can get away with anything. Only the main character, Paige is the only one with common sense and morals and she is challenged to either fit into their social circles or be rejected by it.

Overall, a fine Australian TV production.

Each show breaks down into the following, though be warned of spoilers:

Episode 1: Paige and Dan move into the city where Dan is to play for the Southern Jets Football team. Paige meets the wives and girlfriends of the team and is warmly welcome as their newest member. However, tragedy soon hits the team when one of the team member Jack dies during their training camp.

Episode 2: As the funeral is held for their teammate, media sharks surround the team 24/7. An investigation is looked into his death, but the evidence is pointing toward it may not have been an accident and the team members are ordered to stay silent. Paige is accepted into being a teacher, but only when she mentions she is part of WAGs. Dan confesses to Paige he was one of the last ones to see Jack alive.

Episode 3: Paige begins to learn about all the affairs behind the team. Rusty and Jessie (Jack's widow) were having an affair and someone leaked it to the media and the WAGs blame Paige for it. Tahlia is having her own problem with Connor's mother and Connor cheats on Tahlia with Kath. It is revealed that Kath and her husband is both already having open affairs but have managed to keep it a secret. Rusty lies during the investigation.

Episode 4: Both Brian and Kath decide to end their secret affairs for the sake of the team. Kath and Connor try to break it off, but have comfort sex with each other again. The WAGs find out it was Karlie who leaked to the press and they all apologize to Paige. Rusty reveals to the media he is gay and to get the media to back off Jessie.

Episode 5: Jack's death is ruled as an accident. Tahlia and Connor are not getting along. After Rusty media bombshell there is huge sympathy in him coming out gay from the public. Jessie is no longer hounded by the media, but then she reveals her pregnancy is with a different affair.

Episode 6: Paige is fired from her work when she video records one of her underaged students entering a bar. Paige tries to find a new job, but then decides to use social media to her advantage. Connor reveals his affair with Kath to Tahlia and then Tahlia blackmails Connor to marry him then and she vows to destroy Kath. Jessie tries to get her lover Nate to step out to the media, but he refuses when he is afraid of the scandal it will cause him.

Episode 7: Tahlia and Connor attend marriage counseling but then realizes their marriage was based on lies and threats and they break up. The owner tries to create a foundation in Jack's name, but Jessie instead donates it to single mother's aid. Tahlia reveal to Brain Kath's affair with Connor. Rusty reveals he was in a relationship with Jack.

Episode 8: Paige breaks off with Dan and refuses to use her connections with WAGs to get back her old job. It is revealed the owner Andrew has been stealing millions from the team and keeping the truth from everyone. The truth is finally revealed when coach Brian was the last one to talk with Jack and he got into a fight with him and then left him, but then Jack passed out afterwards and drown in the water. Andrew is forced to resign as the owner. Paige and Dan say good bye and she leaves the city.

The Adam McKay-produced Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty - The Complete First Season (2022) is the beginning of a series that not only tries to deliver the story that the long title promises, but wants to be the basketball experience and that means a post-modern approach of mixed media, mixed times and mixed sense of place. John C. Reilly is actually able top keep it together as moneyman Jerry Buss, who buys, takes over the builds the team into a force that not only dominates the sport, but redefines it and all the media sports will soon find itself in.

For fans of the team and sport, it will be a great experience, but for the rest of us and those who feel the series is like a Buss biopic that may favor him a little too much, it is likely not to work as well. Add fans of rival ball teams and you can see this will generate some controversy as its idea of a timeline unspools.

Helping is a solid cast that includes Adrien Brody, Sally Field, Jason Clarke, Jason Siegel, Tracy Letts, Gaby Hoffmann, Hadley Robinson and Julianne Nicholson, but Solomon Hughes is a convincing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Quincy Isaiah is really good as Magic Johnson. No matter any criticisms, McKay knows what he wants and what he is doing, the people here are serious talent and this is for real by people who want to tell this story and love it. That's still not enough to give it a giant recommendation, but its huge ambitions are inarguable.

Extras include Digital Code copy, while the discs add Winning Time: Invitation to Set

  • The Forum: Episodes 1 - 10

  • Winning Time: Set Tour

  • Winning Time: Changing the Game

  • Winning Time: Training Time

  • Winning Time: The Craft

    • Rodney Barnes - Writer and Executive

    • Richard Toyon - Production Designer

    • and Argya Sadan - Set Designer

As for playback performance, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Time are easily the best-looking transfers here since it is the only Blu-ray release here, but it does mix all kinds of analog, digital and photochemical film footage throughout, so the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the DVD releases are solid and not bad, plus do not resort to that montage approach.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Time is also well mixed and presented in a warmer way than the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Nest DVD and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Keeps DVD, but they still sound fine for what they offer.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Winning) and Ricky Chiang


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