Race of the Week 2017

Don't Turn Your Back on "Luck"

This past Sunday night, HBO introduced its newest show, “Luck”, to a hopefully large audience coming off another endearing episode of HBO‘s hit show “Boardwalk Empire”.

HBO, and this show’s creator David Milch, are both largely responsible for some of the most important television programs in the past 40 years.

In addition to the multiple Emmy award-winning program Hill Street Blues, Milch is also responsible for the creation and production of innovative programs like Murder One, Deadwood, NYPD Blue andL.A. Law.

HBO, far and away the boldest and most creative of all the television networks in this country, has received worldwide praise for its original programs such as The Sopranos, True Blood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Hung and John from Cincinnati.

More than anything else, I was impressed right away when I was made aware of this program, not just because of the subject matter, but also due to the star talent signed on to such a risky and bold proposition.

So when I sat down last Sunday night to view the pilot episode of Luck, I was not at all surprised to be riveted by the characters, and  I was also left with a hurting desire and a need for wanting more.

Milch is a master at creating interesting and deeply woven characters in his programs. 

In this day and age of reality television which caters to a primarily “dumbed-down” audience, this is a very dangerous step, because many Americans simply don’t have the time to invest in such a smartly written, intelligent program.

I’m all in -- no pun intended -- as far as Luck is concerned.

And for those people who are offended  or turned off by the final scenes of the pilot episode, in which a thoroughbred breaks down and has to be euthanized, I merely ask you one question.

Were you this turned off the last time a real horse, in a real race, in front of your real eyes, was tragically put to sleep?

Chances are you were… and that’s precisely the answer I was looking for.

Businesses and the people who run those businesses are filled with dark secrets, questionable people, risky or dangerous decisions -- and in every real aspect of their lives, there are consequences and repercussions for those actions -- be they good or bad.

Let’s not simply abandon this fine show simply because your feelings got hurt over a fictional character in a fictional show.

I imagine, in our real lives, we’ve all run into at least some form of every single trackside character in the show.

The people on the show are fictional, but the business of horse racing is not. There are bad people in the sport, much like there are bad or questionable people that work in crime labs, police departments, law offices and virtually every business you walk into and spend your hard money occupying.

As well as the television shows you watch.

Horse racing is not about fan pages, posing as "news", devoted to the writings” of pregnant racemares, or facebook fan pages devoted to every housewife that thinks that a simple notification of a blemish on a horse’s ass needs to be treated as if the world were coming to an end.

You are not advocating the sport’s dark side by watching "Luck". 

You are however, shielding your eyes from the truth of this business, if you turn away from this show simply because it doesn’t represent the business behind the rose-colored spectacles you choose to hide within.


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Older Comments about Don't Turn Your Back on "Luck"...

As I said above, you must read this link it's a hoot BUT RIGHT ON as to why this series might not keep viewers: http://www.nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/12/handy-guide-to-understanding-hbos-luck.html?imw=Y&f=most-emailed-24h5
It left me wanting another hour. The pilot had drama, charismatic characters that you want to know more about the like the group of down and outers that won the 2.6 mil pick six or the hot "bug boy" jockey who will no doubt catch the female viewers attention; great acting from Hoffman and Nolte (though Nolte seemed to grunt mostly--I hope they don't waste his talent). Who knew Gary Stevens could act? I thought the race scenes were rivoting and yes, when the horse broke down--had the shock value. Not predictable. How many thought he was going to win? It's HBO, it needs to be exagerated drama. Frankly the writing, the filming and the acting are all top notch. As expected from HBO. My only concern was that the pilot used quite a bit of track jargon that I hope it doesn't turn off the average viewer because they couldn't follow or were confused. Thus this link on understanding "Luck": http://www.nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/12/handy-guide-to-understanding-hbos-luck.html?imw=Y&f=most-emailed-24h5
Steve - totally agree, being on both sides of the fence and knowing how "this" business can operate at times, it was refreshing to see the show not be afraid of showing off, the old-timer hoping for one last super horse or the betting public which at times really do spend their disability check or get a loan from a track loan shark. This put you on both sides without preaching or allowing you to make a judgment.
Can't wait to see the whole series
I think I'll call my cable company and add HBO. I liked the third to last paragraph. Brutally honest.
We are in agreement here, Steve, which may turn out to be the current minority. But I think that will all change when get to know these wonderful character better and better. Too edgy? I say bring it on!

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