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2013 Pilots: LUCKY 7

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Lucky 7 Cast PromoSeason 1, Episode 1
Date of airing: Sep 24, 2013 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 4.43 million viewers, 1.3/4 with A18-49

They gotta be fucking kidding me.

I thought I would not like half of the offerings the season has to offer. It would have been so easy for me to just cancel the hour-long shows like that, when they either don’t fare well in ratings, or are just a pile of shit (like SAF3, but I think about watching the second episode), but what ABC just offered me here was unbelievable. I prepared myself for hating the shit out of LUCKY 7, because both the idea and the actual premise seemed so boring and clichéd and stereotypical and predictable, I could already smell how the show would look like in ten episodes, just by seeing a trailer for the first episode, and I would have not been happy about the development the show would take in the future. I was expecting for LUCKY 7 to be completely and utter bullshit, when I see it, but ABC has to fuck me over yet again. ABC has to throw out a show that I expected all kinds of badness from, but could eventually love until its death in television, and beyond. Like DEFYING GRAVITY back in 2009. I didn’t expect anything of the show, I kinda got used to it during the first few episodes, and I was loving it by the halftime mark of the season. And now I’m still sad that DEFYING GRAVITY didn’t have more than 13 episodes. It’s almost like LUCKY 7 could be the next show that fares “so well” with me, four years and a little plus after DEFYING GRAVITY. In fact, I wouldn’t mind to have those kind of shows in my archive (which I love and adore, and always rewatch once or twice a year [by the way: STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP is among them as well, but at least it has closure. And more episodes], but I also wouldn’t mind if a TV drama doesn’t fuck me up like that. Either I love it or I hate it from the beginning. LUCKY 7 is a hybrid. I wanna hate it, even after watching the first episode, but I love it after having watched the first episode.

First of all, LUCKY 7 continues where all other ABC dramas have left off: The clichés and the predictability are cooking up, and you smell the dinner before it’s even served to you. The characters are network TV templates, and their conflicts are what you see in every second TV drama nowadays. The production of the episode itself is stereotypical as well, because for most of the times that’s what most of ABC’s dramas look like. LUCKY 7 is a show that aired on ABC eight years ago when the network was trying to capitulate on the success on GREY’S ANATOMY and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES; it aired five years ago, when the 8pm slot on Thursdays wasn’t really working, and when ABC needed a shitload of an anchor on Sunday nights (since BROTHERS & SISTERS was never a huge success); it aired on ABC for the last three years, because shows like REVENGE and ONCE UPON A TIME need a companion, because you can’t just have five BETRAYALs and six REVENGEs on the air, because that would just suck ass. I have no idea what BETRAYAL looks like, but I can already imagine that it will go in line behind DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and GREY’S ANATOMY, alongside LUCKY 7. All that soap drama ABC is dishing for my TV dinner was never really my thing. I was digging DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES for a few episodes, but I never watched past the beginning of the second season, while I always gave up on GREY’S ANATOMY in the middle of the second season, and a few years ago in the middle of the third season. I gave up BROTHERS & SISTERS after one and a half seasons, because it was simply a predictable bore. I only watched half a season of UGLY BETTY, and it couldn’t wow me. And the rest of the soap drama (with a genre twist, like ONCE UPON A TIME)? One or two episodes only. Does LUCKY 7 fare better than those shows?

I have no fucking idea.

Like I already said, I wanted to hate this episode. The genre, the stories I already saw teased in the trailer, the soap-typical cast, the introduction of the characters, the way it jumped between stories, the way it was put into a soapy drama, the big and little twists… That usually doesn’t smell like a good television drama, but for some reason I liked the bad taste, and I really don’t know why. Maybe it was the production of the pilot, maybe it was the execution of the idea, maybe it is the fact that LUCKY 7 will be closely following THE SYNDICATE and offer episodes told from the perspective of one character (only that was not to be seen in the pilot, since all the characters shared a fair amount of screentime). Maybe it’s because the ridiculousness between brothers Matt (Matt Long) and Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), which made me interested in the future of the show (as short as that future might be, according to the Nielsen numbers). I mean, just look at the robbery of the gas station. Nicky, who had absolutely no clue about what he is doing, and Matt, who had absolutely no clue about what he is doing, because he couldn’t decide whether to help out Nicky or play the male damsel in distress – it was pure comedy gold. And I don’t know if that was intended. Or maybe look at the intercuts between Denise (Lorraine Bruce) and Leanne (Anastasia Phillips), and how they were going nuts after finding out they won the lottery. Sometimes hilarious (again, I don’t know if it was intended), and sometimes ridiculous. And it continues with the relationship between Matt and Mary (Christine Evangelista). I kinda liked the difficulties in the beginning, since it was a good soap meal, but as soon as the lottery winning came in, and Mary was dreaming about her Jetsons future, I could only roll with my eyes, before realizing that this part of the episode might be comedy as well. And it doesn’t even stop here. The contrast to Matt’s story with Mary, as well as Nicky, and the “suspense” of the question whether he is eligible to have a share of the money, was just ridiculously awkward. At first, Matt’s story served some good and potentially interesting drama, which was followed by an idiotic robbery, which is followed by an off-screen birth (whoa, all the potentially great drama suddenly puffed into space) and big plans, and all of a sudden Matt had to silently beg and pray to have some of the money, while the robbery arc had its very own aftermath. Sometimes I thought there was just too much of everything. The introduction of the robbery detective could have been put into the second episode, because the “thrill” of Nicky being questioned, and Matt worrying about Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), and if he is able to get a share of the winnings, just didn’t fit into that moment of ridiculousness (and unintended?) comedy. As if LUCKY 7 wanted to be anything during the last 15 minutes, because why the fuck not?

And the mix of different piles of shit still tasted well.

Like I mentioned already, the execution was quite nice. Director Paul McGuigan made sure that LUCKY 7 doesn’t really look like one of the other ABC soap dramedies and made sure that there is SOMETHING that could be considered unique. Okay, I didn’t see anything unique in this episode, but the whole hour felt like it wanted to be different in special. And that’s enough for me after one hour, because so many TV pilots don’t try at all to be different, unless you have a unique story that hasn’t been nearly as told in television before. Or unless you have the time to do a pilot in two hours – which doesn’t happen at all anymore, which is shameful. In addition, the cast looked actually good in their roles, though I find it uninspired and lazy that Lorraine Bruce was cast to reprise her role from the British original. I found her alright in this episode, and I never saw THE SYNDICATE, but simply the fact of casting an actor from the original show to do the American remake… Talk about unique ideas! (Not.) But whatever. I still dig Anastasia Phillips, though I only made it through one season of BOMB GIRLS, but she had an interesting story back then, and she delivered here. Matt Long does what he can do best (look good in an ABC soap) and still has to find his character in the huge amount of “everything” he was getting in the pilot, while the rest of the cast didn’t shine so far, because their characters only got the standard recipe for a standard ABC soap.

Am I watching the second episode? Hell yeah. Am I watching the rest of the show? It looks like I’m gonna have to wait until next summer, because it won’t take a while until ABC decides to can LUCKY 7, because everyone else obviously thought like me; This show would taste like shit. I wonder if the taste of actual shit shines through in the second episode, because I find it not believable that I would like an ABC drama. This is just not my genre, and I will hate all the shows stuck in this genre. LUCKY 7 will not be the exception. LUCKY 7 will not be my next DEFYING GRAVITY. Hopefully. 6/10

Brothers who shouldn't be brothers

Brothers who shouldn’t be brothers

A fat chick who shouldn't be fat

A fat chick who shouldn’t be fat

Written by Christian Wischofsky

October 1, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Posted in Lucky 7 (ABC)

Fall 2013 Preview: LUCKY 7

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Lucky 7 Cast PromoDescription: In Astoria, Queens, a group of seven gas station employees have been chipping into a lottery pool for months, never thinking they’d actually win. Money could solve problems for each of them: Matt (Matt Long) could get his girlfriend and two kids out of his mother’s house; Matt’s brother, Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), an ex-con, could pay off a dangerous debt; Samira (Summer Bishil), a second-generation Pakistani immigrant, could afford to go to Juilliard; Denise (Lorraine Bruce), a plucky cashier, could focus on rebuilding her crumbling marriage; Leanne (Anastasia Phillips), a young mother, could help her daughter realize her dreams; Bob (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), the store’s manager, could finally retire; and Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) could give his wife and kids a whole new life.

Written by David Zabel and Jason Richman, LUCKY 7 is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, David Zabel and Jason Richman. The pilot was directed by Paul McGuigan. LUCKY 7 is produced by ABC Studios and Amblin Television.

Expectation: Sometimes I really wonder what the network executives go through, when they look at their pilot scripts, read them, say “Yes” or “No”, and what they think when they say “Yes”: “This is going to be a hit, yes it will.” Or maybe “Steven Spielberg’s studio is producing it, that means everyone will tune in, because everyone thinks this is from Spielberg.” Or maybe “I don’t care what it’s about, the only thing I care is a big name on the executive producer list.” Or maybe “Whatever this is about, it’s cheap, and it’s a soap, so it comes on the schedule.” Holy shit. If I would have been an executive at ABC, I would have done everything to make sure that LUCKY 7 is just a pilot script. If no one at ABC can smell a flop here, maybe somebody should clean up the house, and bring in people who have a nose for those kind of things.

Not that I say LUCKY 7 is a sure bet for the first or second cancellation, but what is ABC actually thinking with this new show? The series premise smells like a cliché, the character descriptions (even the oneliner I copied from the press release) are a walking cliché, and if you know something about television dramas, or have watched a lot of shows, you will know where LUCKY 7 is going to go. Just the premise alone: All of a sudden a bunch of losers without dreams or hopes have a bunch of money, and they now have a bunch of dreams to become a bunch of better people. What a shame that the seven lucky lottery winners have to share their winnings, which also means that this is the first basic plot of conflict. And I guarantee that it’s going to be a topic in the pilot. Something like “Why don’t you get more money when you already earn more at this crappy job?” or “Why am I supposed to get less money, when it was me who changed the numbers to the winning numbers?” In addition, the drama that is being teased in the description, as well as in the trailer, cry for the use for a time machine, because otherwise I couldn’t explain myself why I suddenly have a bunch of story arcs in my head, even though I’m busy with this show for about ten minutes now. It’s already obvious that the seven lucky lottery winners will have even more troubles, now that they have money in their hands. Secrets will be exposed that could have never been exposed without the pressure as lottery winners; friendships will be destroyed, and trust will be put on the spot. Also, somebody from the cast will probably try everything to get more from the jackpot. That means affairs, betrayal, maybe even murder. And all of a sudden you have a dark drama, and the “lucky 7″ are not so lucky anymore. Because one thing is for sure: You can’t keep the original premise straight without losing yourself into a few plot twists. And that’s what’s going to happen with LUCKY 7.

Which makes me hate this show already, before it has even premiered. When everything seems like a bad stinking cliché, why should I even waste one more minute with LUCKy 7? I must say, Anastasia Phillips is the only reason why I’m even thinking about watching the show. I loved her in BOMB GIRLS, even though that show was the unnecessity in the detail, but I don’t believe for a second that LUCKY 7 is going to be the surprise winner during the television season 2013/2014. Together with FOX’s DADS, LUCKY 7 can feel lucky (hurr hurr, I am as clichéd as this show) to be on the top spot for the fastest cancellation. Not that the premise is such a bad idea, but it’s such an old idea. If you remember, in 1983 ABC already tried itself on a lottery winner show called LOTTERY! (And not to forget NBC’s doubled effort to bring a lottery-winning show on the air in 1979 and 2006 – also cancelled after one season) I remember, because it used to air on German television every now and then, and my parents were watching it. It almost seems like LUCKY 7 is going to be an “expanded remake” of LOTTERY! This time without the two agents, who look for the winners, and this time with a more serialized storytelling. I wonder if LUCKY 7 will be connected to LOTTERY!, because it would be … well, logical, considering the hidden thinking process of ABC. Because I still don’t understand what the show is doing on the schedule.

Before the win, when everything was fucked-up, but normal

Before the win, when everything was fucked-up, but normal

After the win, when everything normal became fucked-up

After the win, when everything normal became fucked-up

Written by Christian Wischofsky

May 29, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Posted in Lucky 7 (ABC)

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