Pilot Preview: ABC's Insta-rich Drama Lucky 7
Hey you! This isn't a review, it's a PREview. Huge difference. Most notably, the "P." Also, these PREviews are based on early cuts of pilots that might change drastically by the time they officially hit the air, so we can't properly review them. But we CAN give you an idea of what to expect. In this series of early looks at the new shows of fall 2013, there's no contemplating, no deep analysis; just super-duper quick thoughts on what we just watched that we're passing on to you. We'll revisit each previewed show in the fall with the hyper-intellectual breakdowns and fart jokes you're used to from us goons here at TV.com.
Lucky 7 – Tuesdays starting September 24 at 10pm on ABC
STARRING AND CREATED BY: The ensemble cast is comprised of a lot of unfamiliar names, with the exception of Isiah Witlock Jr., a.k.a. Mr. Clay "Sheeeeeit" Davis from The Wire. The rest of the lucky winners are Matt Long (Jack & Bobby), Stephen Louis Grush (bit parts in The Chicago Code, The Mob Doctor), Lorraine Bruce (The Syndicate), Anastasia Phillips (Bomb Girls), Summer Bishil (The Last Airbender), and Luis Antonio Ramos (The Huntress). Lucky 7 is based on the 2012 British series The Syndicate, and was imported to the U.S. by former Detroit 1-8-7 executive producers David Zabel and Jason Richman.
THE GIST: The lives of seven very different employees at an automobile service station are forever changed—and not necessarily for the better—when their lottery pool hits the jackpot and they become millionaires overnight. But some of them have secrets! And others have cheating husbands! And one of them even has an arranged marriage in the works! All the idioms about money (it can't buy happiness, it's the root of all evil, it's actually quite nice, etc.) apply here and will be shoved down your throat.
SNAP JUDGMENT: This show is soooooo ABC with its light drama, its musically scored montages, and its vinegar-and-water mix of crime and relationship plots. It's really all over the place, and that didn't make the first hour easy to watch. It'll go broke without a solid cast and great characters, and no one stands out as remarkable early on. Maybe the characters will shine later in the series (or maybe the U.S. version will follow in the U.K.'s path of focusing on one character per episode to spice things up), but so far Lucky 7 is a big disappointment. It was probably conceived back when the recession was a main topic of discussion in this country, but it's missed that Zeitgest. I must have zoned out about 16 times while watching the pilot... it just couldn't hold my attention.
PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: Oh it's so pilot-y up in here! We know from the logline that these people win the lottery, yet we spend the first half of the episode waiting for them to win it and listening to all their financial whining. If the characters were more interesting, I could forgive the delay in getting to the point, but they're not—and the slow development and set-up kind of backfire. There's also zero sense of how the series will work after the pilot, because the individual characters' stories have barely begun.
FACES TO LOOK OUT FOR: Lorraine Bruce reprises her role from the British source material, and she's pretty good. But it's too early to tell who among the rest of the cast will use Lucky 7 as a springboard to something greater, like a show that will last more than three episodes.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: The pilot starts off in media res—during a flashforward to an exciting moment that takes place seven months after the lottery win, which is designed as "the hook" to get viewers interested—but never goes back to it. That's lame to the max. Especially since there's no context, and it's not as exciting as the show first made it out to be. Good '60s and '70s soul-music choices for the soundtrack, though!
EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Very low. I'll check out the second episode just to see if it goes character-specific, but this is a pretty bland addition to ABC's lineup that will be a good Dead Pool candidate. (Dear Taccado, before you ask, the winners of last year's Dead Pool are long overdue but not forgotten; stay tuned!)
PILOT PREVIEW POWER RANKINGS:
(Where we rank the fall season's pilots based on very early impressions)
1. Almost Human - J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman's robotic buddy-cop drama
2. Intelligence - Josh Holloway stars as a Cyber Command agent who has Wi-Fi in his brain
3. The Blacklist - James Spader is a master criminal who turns himself in to the FBI on one condition: He only works with the pretty new female FBI agent
4. Dracula - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the fanged one in this re-imagining of the classic story of an undead guy chasing his old girlfriend
5. Lucky 7 - A group of gas-station employees win the lottery, for better or worse
1. Trophy Wife - Malin Akerman marries into a big family and ends up with two ex-wives and three stepchildren in the process
2. The Crazy Ones - Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are a father-daughter team in the advertising business
3. Enlisted - Geoff Stults goes to army reject camp with his two brothers
4. About a Boy - Jason Katims' TV adaptation of the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel about a man-boy friendship
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