There's a lot of horse racing stuff, so what? I have no interest in horse racing, in fact, I can't stand the commentary but that doesn't detract from the story. Would love to have seen season 2. A real pity they killed it.
Each passing moment is to be savored; everybody says they want TV like this and then they refuse to enjoy it when they get it. Every episode the performers individually make themselves more readable and collectively show what superb acting can do with intelligent writing. Ace clearly has things under the surface we are yet to see, and Dustin Hoffman is capable (and more) of putting that across. Each time they change locations or characters I am left wanting to know what happened to the characters right after that cut. Congratulations to everyone involved in making and everyone willing to take on a show like this.
This is my first review for TV.com, and that is because nothing since X-Files has been as inspiring and addictive as this show. It's like picking up a classic book once a week and allowing yourself an hour to read as much as possible.
Giving up after ten minutes is not a review. I wonder if any of the previous reviewers kept watching to find out why the gambling storyline was so important to the pilot episode as a character introduction and now the betting isn't even really discussed, except as Jerry's poker problem. Each of the nuances of the first two episodes are larger and more intriguing now that we know who we are getting involved with -- although every week each character turns your thinking around. Will Ace's temper derail his attraction to Claire? Is Escalante the slavedriver he is at work or the lover he is at night? The anticipation of these many varied characters on a collision course is as enticing as any storyline TV has ever tried to present.
I like detailed dramas, that have some depth and detail. Im a great fan of the wire, and recently the Boss came close to that. However, im now into episode 6 of LUCK and still havent really the foggiest what is going on!. Horse racing is not exactly everyones cup of tea, so trying to captivate a wider audience the story needs to be broader, yet all I can see is that theres a whole bunch of people obsessed with owning horses and winning races? so what? We often see characters midway into "inside" conversations that have little meaning or substance to the plot. Often whats said is indecipherable. Theres no real plot that is clear or where the viewer can see things heading. Often it takes a while in a series to fully grasp all the characters and subplots, but 6 episodes is much too long a waiting game. People will turn off and spend time in less confusing shows.
This is a review of the pilot of 'Luck', new series premiering 29th of January 2012, on HBO. It is based on a horse racing track and the events on a usual race day. HBO chose to air the premier right after the 2nd season finale of Boardwalk Empire (B.E) to give a teaser to the large audience who tuned in to see the nail biting, jaw dropping finale of B.E. Luck is supposed keep the audience hooked to HBO for a few months when their major shows are off till the return of Game of Thrones (GoT) in Spring. So without further ado, 5 points why you should watch this freshman show:
Opening Sequence: Like the cover of a book, the opening sequence can tell a lot about the show. Audience can often decide whether to switch the channel or not during those few seconds of the sequence. For that reason (I suppose) HBO usually pays a great attention to the opening credits/sequence of any T.V show they air. One of the best opening sequences have come from HBO ( The Sopranos, GoT, B.E, Entourage, to name a few). Similarly, the opening sequence for Luck has been very skillfully made. They have gone for the vintage photo effect in this, with some stunning colors. Although I didn't quite fancy the Chinese/Japanese neon glow board used for the title, which had a bit of a brothel-ish look to it (Oriental art is very 2004-05 for me). The theme song is also very like-able, 'Splitting the Atom' by Massive Attack, it also featured on the FIFA '11 soundtrack (probably why I like it so much).
Dustin Hoffman: the 2-time Oscar winner, is the first thing we see in Luck. Getting released from Jail after serving 3 years, he seems like the chief protagonist of this show. In the pilot, Hoffman has seemingly kept a lid on his character, remaining extremely calm and composed (except for that one scene where he jumps out screaming and tearing his shirt off). No one has any doubts about Hoffman's talent as an actor, hence, he alone could be the reason viewers tune in for this show.
Great Support Cast: If Hoffman alone wasn't enough attraction, Luck has some seriously talented, possibly expensive, and in my opinion, particularly under-rated Supporting Cast. 2-time Oscar nominee, Nick Nolte heads the list, acting as a mysterious, horse whispering type 'Old Man'. Two actors we've seen in countless movies and T.V shows yet never knew or remembered the names of, Richard Kind and Dennis Farina also make the cast; Former, plays a stammering agent of one the jockeys on the show; Latter, one of my favorite characters on the hilarious gangster film Snatch. Kevin Dunn, Jason Gedrick, Michael Gambon (of whom we didn't see anything in the pilot of, but eagerly await) and quite a few others make up this stellar cast list.
Brilliant Cinematography/Direction (specially of the races): Michael Mann has directed the pilot episode and with a touch of class as well. He has previously directed some blockbusters such as Public Enemies and Heat. Mann handled, potentially tricky/awkward scenes of the actual horse race, in a fantastic way. We can expect to see a lot of high-speed horses on the track in this show and if the scenes from the pilot episode are used as benchmark, we are in safe hands.
Plots and sub-plots: Luck is created by David Milch, 4-time Emmy winner, of the Deadwood fame. He's previously been involved in a handful of cop dramas such as NYPD Blue. Deadwood ended prematurely, according to some viewers/critics; so did John from Cincinnati apparently (his last creation for HBO, which also aired right after a blockbuster finale on HBO, more about it later). Not surprisingly, there doesn't appear to be just one plot in the show. As is normally the case with a big cast, a lot of stories run parallel. A mob associate comes out of jail in search of revenge, a trainer races a horse after hiding it for 2 years to win a huge pay-off race, handful of degenerate gamblers win a bankroll of a life time and an old man trains the next star horse; these are just the few stories which made up the pilot episode. At the end of the pilot, we see a glimpse of what's to come later in the season. It involves a lot more gambling, possibly race fixing, probably murder and other vices.
Negatives: It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns for Luck in the pilot episode. For starters, my last impression of Hoffman was Little Fockers, which was a total stinker. Hence, his involvement may not be a certain race winner (pun intended). Secondly, the extremely annoying accent of the trainer, John Oritz, made it absolutely impossible to fathom what he is saying. He's supposed to be Latin for God's sake, not from outer space or something. I'm really nitpicking here, but, the scene from the race where the horse breaks its leg, I would think that at full speed, a leg break would cause the horse to fall really badly. However, appallingly, he comes to a full halt, instantly. Kevin Dunn, who plays a disabled person on the wheel chair, appears to be moving his legs quite comfortably in a scene (again, nitpicking). The rules of betting have not been explained in much detail in the pilot, which could be difficult to understand for someone who has had little experience with horse racing. They need to address this issue in the episodes which follow. Lastly, the omens are against Luck, ironically. HBO used a trick which has previously failed; they aired premiered right after B.E finale. Previously, they aired the premier John from Cincinnati (by the same creator) right after the series finale of The Sopranos; John from Cincinnati made it to a grand total of 10 episodes before getting cancelled. Although, it could be blamed on the final scene of The Sopranos, which left most of the world scratching their heads. In conclusion, this show is a very Very watchable show, based on the pilot, and would do a decent job in the absence of other big name blockbuster shows.
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I just tried to watch the pilot. I started seeing great actors like Dustin Hoffman and I thought "He usually does great stuff, let's give it a chance".
Unfortunately, that was the end of anything interesting about the show. Ten minutes in and I was really dying of boredom from the the "nothing really happens" pacing to the uninspiring story about gambling and horses (which is really not my cup of tea).
I kept on watching, just to give it the chance it deserves, but ultimately this shows does not offer anything new nor interesting even if it has a cast of many famous people, which really indicates how hard they are trying to sell us this poor idea. Thumbs down.
Long a fan of the dearly departed (and brilliant) Deadwood, I was gassed at the prospective return of creator, David Milch. You will not leave disappointed.
Luck is his new show set at the Santa Anita horse track outside LA. It has a fully-loaded cast lead by ex-con "Ace" Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and horse owner "Old Man" (Nick Nolte). The rest of the cast is loaded with literally dozens of familiar TV and movie faces. Especially fun to watch are Dennis Farina as "Gus", Richard Kind as "Porky Pig" and Kevin Dunn as the wheelchair-bound "Marcus."
Full of inside-racing vernacular, abbreviated sentences and dialog captured mid conversation, it's a little difficult to follow. Like reading Dickens, it takes a while to settle in to your consciousness. I watched it twice to make sure I was able to savor every scene. This is not your ordinary television. If your idea of good tv is "Two Broke Girls" you're likely not going to have the patience for the pacing or verbiage in this densely written drama.
Personally, I can't wait to see the chapters of this potential masterpiece to unfold.
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