After a somewhat up and down debut episode, "Any Given Wednesday" appears to have found its footing in the follow up act.
I liked a lot of things about this episode, especially the fact that the segments felt more conversational, and less rushed. This may be thanks to the fact that they don't need to introduce the show like they did last week, allowing for Bill to jump right into the action.
The action was a conversation between Bill, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and renowned author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell. This could have gone wrong due to Cuban's somewhat brash nature and the reserved and intellectual disposal of Gladwell, but they meshed together very well on screen. Their discussion of sports leagues as businesses (or whether or not that is true as a concept) is interesting and enlightening, and Gladwell's analytical approach is well balanced by the affable and entertaining Cuban.
This is quickly followed up by a tight and entertaining bit on the New York Knick's free agency approach, which quickly turns into the next long segment, a sit down between Bill and actor/comedian, Bill Hader. Simmons and Hader had a good on screen chemistry, and this was on display immediately, as the transitions were smooth, and it didn't feel like Bill was leading him anywhere in partciular. As opposed to the now infamous Affleck rant of the first episode, this was light and entertaining, and Hader provided a laid back and somewhat self deprecating presence that gave this segment a more conversational feel.
The final segment was Bill discussing the recent wrap up of "Game of Thrones," season six. This segment was entertaining, but I personally feel that there has been a bit of over saturation of "Game of Thrones" in every piece of media I consume. As much as I love the show (please check out my reviews on the 41O), I don't need to hear a recap of it everywhere I go. Thankfully, Bill provides a funny and fresh take on it, that isn't really worth a recap, but rather a watch.
If you felt a little bit underwhelmed by the show's first episode, I don't blame you. But "Any Given Wednesday" returns in its second episode with a much stronger effort, and is well worth checking out at this point.