LUCK Season Premiere Preview on HBO: A TV Review

by on December 11, 2011

in Entertainment, tv reviews

HBO aired a preview of the season premiere of Luck, which is officially going to premiere in late January. This TV Review of Luck is a non-spoiler review of the premise of the new series from HBO.


For me, Luck on HBO has a certain draw due to the setting of the horse racing industry, and any serious fan of the sport recognizes Santa Anita, in Arcadia, California from a mile away.

Luck has an all-star cast, with Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Dennis Farina, Michael Gambon and more… and the premiere episode was directed by Michael Mann, from creator David Milch (Deadwood).

But this season premiere seemed more steeped in the technicalities of horse racing than they were the details of the many characters this premiere episode of Luck introduced.

The non-fan in my household with me was confused with the story developments. And this fan found a few beautiful and confounding points to the season premiere.

I think they could have gone lighter on the details of who does what and what not from within the horse racing industry. The pick-6 process seemed clear enough, but to me. Did it make sense to anyone else?

The photography of the horse racing was absolutely beautiful. Barring some folks resistance to the sport of horse racing, the creators of Luck managed to capture the pure poetry of the sport, the power of the event and the matched agility of both the rider and the horse in unison, while in motion. It was entrancing to this past fan of the sport.

On the other hand, some of the photography of a race needs better coordination in coming to print. What I mean was as one of the race scenes was supposed to be in the backstretch, some scenes that were shot on the front stretch in an early morning time of day were injected. Other scenes put the horses being shot in the wrong turn, for the turn they were supposed to be in.

There were other mish-mosh of scenes in Luck that were shot at the wrong time or place on the track, but HBO’s Luck still delivered beautiful poetry in motion.

So, to some extent, I don’t care about the wrong scenes at the wrong spot. But I hope they don’t do that too many times! This Santa Anita veteran fan, as I’m sure other such fans, will go a bit crazy. (It’s a very long story on how I got to know that track and the industry so well… and that story is for another day.)

So we’ve been introduced to the main cast of characters from HBO’s Luck, from jockeys, to agents, owners, trainers and the like.

I think Luck could be a fun series… they have a powerful enough cast to pull this off and for me, I didn’t need much time to ramp up on what they were delivering and found myself sucked in. I think the success of Luck will depend on how quick people get drawn into the characters or pick up on the industry enough to not get lost by the complexities of the horse racing industry.

I would completely recommend giving the series a few episodes to determine if you like it or not. It’s like AMC’s Hell on Wheels. That first episode was vague, but subsequent episodes dug in and drew the viewer in hard!

So if you can catch up on the industry, there’s a lot of material for HBO to deliver from their new series, Luck.

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