The world of wrestling is one that has caused many a controversy throughout the decades, whether it be because of the use of moves that cause deteriorating health conditions for its competitors, the behind-the-scenes goings on of some of the biggest sports entertainment companies in the world or, something else entirely.
With that in mind, it’s actually shocking that a show like Heels - exclusive to Starzplay in the UK - hasn’t come along sooner. This weekend (August 15th, 2021), we got a look at the first episode of the new series and are happy to report that it’s a roaring success.
Whether you’re a fan of wrestling or not, the series starts with some simple text on screen, which explain that in this world, the good characters loved by the crowds are called ‘faces’, whilst the villains who are relentlessly booed are referred to as ‘heels’. Those lines however are completely blurred when it comes to the stars taking on those roles…
Former Arrow lead star moves into the role of Jack Spade; the older brother to Ace Spade (played by Vikings’ Alexander Ludwig) and, the new leader of the Duffy Wrestling League (DWL). The role is one passed down by his late father and though he at first seems to have taken to it like a duck to water, it soon becomes clear that Jack may be more than a little out of his depth.
In front of the fans, Jack is one of the meanest sumna b*tches you could ever meet. He’ll do whatever it takes to come home with the win, even if that means bending the rules behind the back of the referee so that he can keep his championship belt slung over his shoulder. Now though, his brother Ace has quickly become one of the most popular stars the DWL has ever seen, and he’s ready to fight for an opportunity at the gold.
This rivalry is one we assume is simply in place for the fans who indulge in the narrative being told, but we quickly come to learn that the brothers are also sparring in the majority of their real lives. Amell and Ludwig share a burning chemistry where as a viewer, you really do believe they could throw a punch towards one another’s skull at any minute. We’re sure the actors themselves get on like a house on fire, but when they’re in-character in Heels? They reek of pure hatred!
Jack doesn't only have to deal with his brother's ego and intensity however, but the differing personalities of all those working at his wrestling promotion which include Ace’s girlfriend and valet Crystal (Kelli Berglund); Duke Davis Roberts as Big Jim Kitchen; David James Elliott as Tom Spade; and Robby Ramos as Diego Cottonmouth. Alison Luff also stars, doing an incredible job in the role of Jack's wife, Staci Spade.
With all of that on his plate and, the arrival of Chris Bauer's Wild Bill Hancock who left the city for the big league and made a huge name for himself, Jack has a lot going on; and not much of it is positive. With his company on the brink of disaster, he goes to lengths nobody would expect to try and keep everyone in line. Exactly how that’s going to play out for him moving forward? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Stunning cinematography combines here with a gorgeous soundtrack that lays perfectly over each of the scenes it’s allowed to complement. This might just be the best series the Starzplay streaming service has ever put out.
Heels is available exclusively on Starzplay, with new episodes debuting each Sunday.
Tagged in Heels