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The latest news from Hollywood is that Eva Longoria’s production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment has sold a new drama to NBC called CASINO. Critics and TV fans alike are already salivating at the thought of this new show that has the potential to be as successful as Desperate Housewives, the show that made Longoria so famous. According to Deadline, the plot “centers on the aftermath of a mogul’s mysterious death when his young widow and illegitimate son have to join forces to save his famed casino, while circumstances surrounding his death come to light and threaten to take them both down.”
Over the years, casinos have been represented frequently in TV and film, and more often than not, to great critical acclaim. So why does this genre work so well?
It’s not hard to think of the reasons why casinos make such exciting viewing. The flashing lights, the sounds, the spectacular sprawling floors that house game upon game, the buzz of excitement as fortunes are won and lost, the glitz, the glamour, the place where dreams are made. The casino has it all. From circus freaks to supermodels, mobsters to midgets, gorillas, tigers, cheaters, sharks, clowns, stag parties desperately trying to find the missing stag – there is no limit to the potential characters and storylines surrounding a casino. And this is exciting viewing. It’s thrilling in real life, so why shouldn’t it be just as so when shown on the screen?
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Some viewers like it because it reminds them of the place they love. Some viewers watch because they have never visited a casino and are intrigued about what goes on in one. And because gambling isn’t available in some places, some viewers get a real rush from travelling to a casino. For all different types of audience, there is high appeal to storylines surrounding the casino. This is why even before the acting, filming and story is taken into account, Eva Longoria’s new TV show has the foundation to be successful.
What does the audience need to know before watching?
Some people who don’t have an extensive knowledge of gambling may be apprehensive about watching a show centered around a casino if they think they are not going to understand anything. Fortunately for these people, usually when a casino is shown on TV or in film, only a basic knowledge of what goes on is required. If the storyline centers around anything more complicated, it is explained. However, it might be a wise idea to familiarize yourself with a few of the most popular games like roulette and blackjack, and also to learn some of the casino lingo before the show gets underway. A bit of online research should provide a crash course in casino culture and phrases. You may already be familiar with some of the common casino phrases like on a roll” or “bet your bottom dollar,” but until now you may not have known what they meant.
Alternatively, to whet your appetite and get well on the way to becoming a casino expert, you could start by watching some of the popular TV shows and films that have already graced the screen. Before long you’ll be ready to “go for broke.”
Las Vegas was a very popular drama about casinos that ran for 5 years, and could be where Longoria’s company got some of their inspiration. It followed the surveillance team that included James Lesure who more recently appeared in hit show, Blue Bloods. The team was based in a casino in the Sin City, where there was always a lot of work to be done. They constantly had to combat scammers, and the show gave viewers an idea about just how complex a machine the casino can be.
In 2006 there was a Canadian series called The Casino, which received good reviews but only lasted for one season. This was a social commentary on gambling. Perhaps a bit dated now, it wouldn’t really be applicable to the casinos of today. Even so, it is still worth a watch to see the casino from the gambler’s perspective.
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When thinking about casino in film, the first thing that springs to most people’s minds is Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, Casino (1995). The slick gangster epic starred Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci who met on screen for the fifth time. This acting partnership has to go down as one of the greatest that cinema has ever seen. Not only were the performances astounding, the film was intense, dramatic, and gave the lay viewer a real insight into the running of a casino. There was also a fine supporting cast that included James Woods, who some may know as Sully Sullivan in Ray Donovan. The way that De Niro’s casino was run may not be too accurate in the present day, but the film is unmissable nonetheless.
To get a better understanding of one of the most popular casino games, Blackjack, check out a film called 21. House of Cards star, Kevin Spacey, heads up a team of mathematicians who learn to strategize against the house. They take these skills to casinos to try and win large amounts of cash, but ultimately find themselves in a lot of trouble. Not so much of a classic as Casino, the film does still give viewers a good sense of the workings of a casino floor and the blackjack tables.
The release date for Eva Longoria’s new casino drama is yet to be confirmed, but it is looking like it will be worth the wait. Until then, there is ample time to refresh your casino knowledge and brush up on the entire book of casino phrases, why not even pop down to your local gambling house and roll the dice.