Heels is a new show from Starz mixing family drama with the lower levels of professional wrestling.
What is a Heel?
If you’ve been drawn to Heels not because of the wrestling angle but because of the stars, then you may be wondering what Heels refer to. In the wrestling world, a ‘heel’ is a villain, a bad guy, the one the crowd are supposed to boo. The heroes, the good guys, the stars the fans should be cheering for are known as ‘faces’. Over the course of a career, it is not uncommon for performers to switch between the role of heel and face.
What is Heels about?
Professional wrestling isn’t all bright lights, big arenas and loud crowds as you might see at WWE events. Heels is a lot less glamorous. The show centres around two brothers who are involved with the Duffy Wrestling League in a small town in Georgia. DWL shows take place in a rundown building that leaks when it rains, operates with temperamental fog lights and needs the star man to update the website.
Just in case you didn’t know, professional wrestling isn’t real! Shows are scripted and choreographed and Heels delves into that side of things as performers develop how contests will play out, vie for the glory roles and dream of reaching the big time. Alongside the wrestling, Heels has the familiar traits of a family drama. Early indications are that themes such as sibling rivalry and career vs family will feature prominently.
Who Created Heels?
The show was created by Michael Waldron, who also serves as executive producer and writer on the show. Waldron has an impressive looking CV, having previously written for Rick and Morty and more recently Loki. He’s heading towards movies too, having written the screenplay for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse Of Madness. He must have impressed Marvel head honcho Kevin Fiege, as Fiege hired Waldron to write his untitled Star Wars movie.
What Actors Are In Heels?
The show is headlined by Stephen Amell, the star of Arrow, as Jack Spade. Jack is the heel of the show’s wrestling organisation. With his dark waistcoat and trunks and in-ring bad attitude, he seems to have a touch of Stone Cold Steve Austin about him. Alongside his role as a performer, Jack also runs the organisation, a role left to him by his late father. He seems to have a hand in everything from property maintenance to filming to writing the scripts. Jack is married to Staci, played by musical star Alison Luff. Helping him run things is Willie Day, played by Mary McCormack, who includes the incredible The West Wing in her many credits.
Jack’s most fierce in-ring rival is his brother Ace Spade, played by Vikings star Alexander Ludwig. With his long blonde hair, high energy style and charisma he seems to be in the mould of Chris Jericho. Kelli Berglund plays Crystal Taylor, Ace’s valet. Jack and Ace don’t just battle in the squared circle, the brother’s rivalry also extends to their domestic lives as they dispute the best way to run the business and develop storylines as they follow in their father’s footsteps.
Perhaps best known for Blackish, Allen Maldonado plays Rooster Robins and Chris Bauer, from The Wire, True Blood and many other quality shows, plays Wild Bill Hancock. Proper wrestling names those.
There are some big athletic names (and bodies) on the show too. James Harrison, a two time Super Bowl winner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, plays journeyman wrestler Apocalypse. Former WWE and UFC star and current AEW wrestler CM Punk will also appear as Ricky Rabies. His valet, Vicky is played by Bonnie Somerville, of Friends and The OC fame.
How To Watch Heels
Heels is available to watch on the subscription cable/satellite service Starz, which is also available via Apple TV and Amazon Prime. The first series consists of eight episodes, airing on Sunday nights from August 2021.
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