Original cast members Wendy Raquel Robinson and Hosea Chanchez return as sports agent Tasha Mack and footballer Malik Wright, respectively, as the duo relocates to Las Vegas from San Diego, with new players and familiar faces popping by. Former series regulars and fan favorites Coby Bell, Brittany Daniel and Pooch Hall will make special appearances as Jason and Kelly Pitts and Derwin Davis, respectively.
For Hosea, it was almost a no-brainer to come back the third time around. The privilege of playing the same character for "20-something years" isn't something most actors get to say often.
"Obviously I'm back -- three times, three different networks. So I can't get enough," he joked to ET. "I think it's the authentic world that Mara [Brock Akil], our executive producer and creator, created. It's a world about relationships in a world that's so fascinating to Americans. I mean, what's more American than football?"
The appeal of the revival, Hosea proposed, is that it's the comfort of a classic dynamic mixed with the reality of how time would change fans' favorite characters. "Fast forward to the current day -- what makes the show even more current is how football is changing the dynamics in our culture. Why not bring it up?"
And while Wendy's "Mama Mac" is still on top, it's a very different world than the one we last saw the momager.
"You know what, at the end of the day, Mama Mac is running things," the actress told ET. "I love my son to death and we're going through some hard knocks right now, you know? But at the end of the day, family first. I have always learned that from Tasha as well as Wendy. We've come full circle but we go through our growing pains."
"I call this season a learning curve. Just coming back, you know, we've got these wonderful new characters that are added," she continued. "But he and I have really been grounded together and I think that's really one of the things that's just so special about the show. Our bond has really stayed so close. But mama's gonna be on top!"
As for the new kids on the block, there are several familiar faces viewers might recognize from other shows. Chicago Fire's Adriyan Rae, who will portray the daughter of Jason and Kelly Pitts, Brittany Pitts, Tyler Perry’s The Oval actor Vaughn Hebron as Jamison Fields, an undrafted free agent, and Sneaky Pete's Analisa Velez as Raquel Navarro, Brittany's best friend. Tim Daly, who plays self-made billionaire Colonel Ulysses S. Thatcher, and Toby Sandeman, who plays Garret Evans, the top football player in the league, will also star in the series.
When asked why this is the right time for the series to make a return, Vaughn noted that with so many social media platforms and forms of media, fans have all sorts of ways to get an "inside scoop" on their favorite athletes' lives. The series will show how that kind of exposure affects both celebrities and their followers.
"Now that we have a chance to see how things are on the field and how things are behind the lens for these athletes, it's such a perfect time [to] really touch on themes and concepts that keep on coming up in the news and social media today that you never really get insight on," he explained. "Now you can touch on it and kind of explore it so a lot of the prevalent concepts and themes that come up in the show are what we're seeing on social media and in the news."
The actor shared that the series will also explore how institutionalized racism can both exploit and be "advantageous" for certain athletes, and how sexism can also play a part in how athletes are treated on and off the field.
"Also a major thing with the show is second chances. So, you know, you see a lot of high school and college athletes making mistakes and you see if they're gonna get a chance to bounce back and see how their careers [are] affected by what they did in their earlier years," he added.
For Toby, a key theme touched upon in the new batch of episodes, somewhat more subtly, is mental health. Hosea agreed, noting that the subject is one near and dear to his heart.
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"Devon Greggory, our executive producer and showrunner, really wanted to ground the world in what was happening in today's times permeating through, not just what happens with the NFL players, but in real life when they go home," Hosea explained. "[What's happening with] their partners, their parents, their children and so on. We're going to tackle a lot of mental health issues this year."
Expanding on the topics the season will touch on, Adriyan added that the show strives to discuss subjects they believe people are talking about in real life. "We touch on classism, we touch on racism, sexism, we touch on mental illness -- things that are very prevalent nowadays, things that people are starting to talk about and we allow it to be a safe space for discussion," she said. "That's why I think [the show] definitely needed to come back now. I feel like that's so relatable even though we're in this football world... The show is about relationships... these connections you find out of a place that you didn't think you would have anybody."
"I just feel that all of those things are so relatable that it allows the audience to come back in and connect to at least one of our characters, one of our storylines. Then once you're engaged with one of them, we intertwine it," she said.
"But I think we have to remember that it's a dramedy. It's not a documentary, so we're having fun with it too and trying to bring something for fans where, yeah, you learn something, but also you can have fun watching this too," Toby added.
The Game is now available to stream on Paramount+, where all nine seasons of the original series are also available to watch.
ET and Paramount+ are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.