Review: Heels on STARZ S1
With season 2 of Heels starting soon I wanted to share my thoughts on season 1.
Usually, when I see a TV series where the focus is on pro wrestling I get excited. I've always loved pro wrestling and even wrote about a fictional wrestling organization in Theater of Pain which was well-received by a WWE Hall of Famer!
When I heard about Heels I was initially excited. I knew Stephen Amell did a stint in WWE and that he genuinely respects the sport. But watching this series I have a real problem with it.
It feels dated.
Anyone who knows the history of pro wrestling knows about the old territory days and how WWE came along and disrupted that. In Heels, the main storyline feels like the territory days only it's not supposed to be. If it weren't for their use of cell phones and Internet I would swear this show was meant to be in the 80s. Had they done that, it would've made more sense. But since they didn't, here's where I have a problem.
The focus is on a rinky dink promotion in the south struggling to get by. Fine. We could run with that. Plenty of small promotions still around trying to establish themselves. But the references are dated. The gear and gimmicks are fresh from 20+ years ago. Women's wrestling is still a sideshow even though in reality women shattered that stigma over eight years ago.
I'm not sure if Heels has a wrestling consultant but it feels like they don't. It seems like someone who knows very little about pro wrestling is writing based off being on the outside looking in. You can get away with that if you really care about the topic you're writing about. Remember, I wrote a wrestling book that a bonafide Hall of Famer said she could relate to. But Heels feels very stereotyped and the bad southern accents don't help.
I would've rather seen this set in the 80s or have a little more to make it feel current. The show Kingdom with Frank Grillo comes to mind. That show focuses on a small MMA promotion but it feels real and relevant.
Hopefully season 2 of Heels is better but as a writer and a lover of pro wrestling I feel like the series is missing the mark (no pun intended!).
"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy, writer wellness, and my author journey.