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Episode Review: LIGHTS OUT (“Pilot”)

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To start it up nicely: Having a boxing series on television is a great idea. Even though I don’t know nothing about boxing, and the only fight I’ve watched in my life was the goodbye fight of Henry Maske (and the ones where a German entertainer boxed against a female pro in live television), there couldn’t be enough TV shows on about something I don’t know anything about. But to be truthful: The pilot for LIGHTS OUT couldn’t have been more slow and focused on one single character, which made the entrance into the series world more boring than it actually is. No wonder why I liked TERRIERS: It was living off its buddy-genre and the chemistry between the friends. But here the episode can’t tell me why I should like Patrick Leary (Holt McCallany)…

With it, I was never a big fan of the ROCKY movies, or any other movie, which focused on the boxing sports (yes, I haven’t even watched MILLION DOLLAR BABY so far). Moreover, I liked the boxing episode BATTLESTAR GALACTICA had during the third season, while many other people hated the guts out of it. So, it seems like I was never a friend of LIGHTS OUT from the beginning. And I want to like this show. I wasn’t able to like SONS OF ANARCHY and JUSTIFIED, but I loved the hell out of TERRIERS. And I still want to like the show, even after I couldn’t love the pilot.

And it actually started interesting. I loved the first couple of minutes, with the last moments of Leary’s boxing career, and the first minutes of “Five years later”. It could have been a great story for a movie, maybe even similar to THE WRESTLER, but I don’t know if it will interest me throughout 13 episodes (and there probably won’t be more, judging the premiere ratings, which were lower than TERRIERS’ premiere ratings). But for now I can say that the family-part of the series seems to be more interesting than Leary’s new job as a debt collector. The former thing could serve more as a drama show than the latter part, and in addition I didn’t really find it good how Leary got into his new business, which went a bit too fast in my opinion. First he was thinking about a possible comeback, because of his money problems, and suddenly he was beating up other people to get their debts being paid. Just to think about the comeback again at the end, when he suddenly was thrown into one.

So, I can basically see how the season will look like. Here and there, Leary is doing some jobs, is preparing for his comeback, will have problems with his family. First with his wife Theresa (Catherine McCormack), who doesn’t wat a repeat of events five years prior, and then with his younger daughter Katherine (Lily Pilblad), who basically doesn’t know anything about her daddy’s job, when she was a baby. Again: Here could lie the most interesting part of the series, while the rest could look pretty much boring for me – I don’t really care about the comeback and how Leary is preparing for it, and I don’t really care much, if all the men are hating him for beating them up, because he is a hard-ass debt collector. So I hope that the writers will have taken much time for the family, instead for the sporting events.

Not that the pilot was bad or anything: It just couldn’t awake any interest in me, when it comes to the main plot of the series. I see that there is a lot of possibilities to make a really good TV show, and while the pilot looks stellar in production values and acting, the writing couldn’t fully grab me. But I hope it will get better with the season. 5.5/10

Before the trouble, Lights was just beat up in the ring

Midway in trouble, Lights gets threatened with baseball bats

Written by Christian Wischofsky

January 12, 2011 at 7:42 PM


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