Is Clipped on Hulu worth watching? (And more to know)

Clipped just premiered on Hulu and there's good reason to check out this fantastic real-life sports drama!
Kelsey McNeal/FX
Kelsey McNeal/FX /

Clipped just premiered on Hulu so here's a few things to know and why you should be checking out this wild true-life sports drama! It's definitely worth it. The show premiered on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 and new episodes will continue to stream weekly until the finale on July 2. There's a total of 6 episodes. Read on below to see why we think you should be watching Clipped on Hulu!

Caution: This article contains SPOILERS for Clipped episodes 1 and 2 below

Kelsey McNeal/FX /

Setting up the series

In the annals of the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers have always been seen as so bad they're cursed. The premiere of Clipped openly addresses it, noting the team's history of terrible seasons, passing on big stars and would-be top players being hurt. It's not helped by owner Donald Sterling (Ed O'Neill) being a miserly guy more interested in his wealth than spending for top talent. As his assistant, V. Stiviano (Cleopatra Coleman), summarizes, Sterling "sells hope," meaning he figures fans will come out more for a team trying to win than actually winning. 

To try and change things, Sterling hired Doc Rivers (Laurence Fishburne), who had coached the Celtics to championship glory as the Clippers' new head coach. It gets off to a rough start with Sterling at first refusing to sign JJ Reddick because of his whims of listening to people with no basketball experience tell him stuff. Still, Doc (who played under Sterling in the early '90s) tries his best to get the team going with Blake Griffin (Austin Scott), Chris Paul (J. Alphonse Nicholson), DeAndre Jordan (Sheldon Bailey), Matt Barnes (Sarunas J. Jackson) and Redick (Charlie McElveen). 

During this, Sterling and V have been having an affair, with V under the delusion Donald is going to divorce his wife Shelly (a formidable Jackie Weaver) and marry her. When Shelly hits with a lawsuit, V decides to go ahead and release tapes of her and Donald together. But rather than the sex tape everyone expects, it's audio tapes of Donald's blatantly racist talk on Black players. That elicited a firestorm that culminated in Sterling being banned from the NBA for life. 

Kelsey McNeal/FX /

Clipped is a powerful new drama to check out

The first two episodes of Clipped set the tone for things before the final moments of episode 2 have the tape released. O'Neill is terrific as Sterling, the kind of guy who considers himself "an ally to the Blacks" when spouting out lines and honestly thinking DeAndre Jordan is Latino. That he has a Black mistress makes it worse. Yet O'Neill is wonderful, showing Sterling's ego and inability to understand how he comes off, setting up his downfall. Even before that, we see the signs in how Sterling treats those under him like garbage with bad jokes and insults and is unable to accept he can be wrong while driving the Clippers into the ground. 

Weaver is just as marvelous as Shelly, who is tempted to leave her husband but can't let go of the rich lifestyle. She and Donald have the same problem thinking they can easily handle V and underestimating the damage the tapes will do. Coleman is a bit low-key at first as V, a meaty scene of her finding out about the lawsuit, but also a woman who clearly loves the flashy life, and striking out like this is her own ego rather than trying to correct an injustice.

Fishburne delivers a good impression of Rivers, getting the man's unique voice down and his usual intensity on display as a coach. So far, the actors playing the Clippers stars don't have much to do, but the hint that will change when the tape's impact is felt. There are also unique supporting turns like LeVar Burton as himself, who serves as a sounding board to Doc during sauna visits.

If you're not a NBA fan, don't worry, they don't go too in depth about the nuts and bolts of the games, just highlights of the Clippers making a 2014 playoff run. The focus is on the fallout of the tape, the questions of the NBA racial culture, and how Sterling transformed into the most despised figure in the NBA. In that regard, going off the first two episodes at least, Clipped looks like a great tale for even non-basketball fans to enjoy. With a top cast and an amazing true-life sports story, Clipped is off to a great start, so it's a fine time to get into this powerful new drama.

Clipped streams new episodes Tuesdays on Hulu.

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