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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A Knockout. A compelling and tense drama that shows life inside and outside of the ring is dirty and tough.

9/10
Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia
26 January 2011

I have to say that of late of all the new TV series to come along this one just out on FX titled "Lights Out" is a clear winner and knockout! It's a tense and compelling drama that shows life is tough and dirty and that sometimes just to get by you have to break the rules. And the series has plenty of realism as it stays true to form to the boxing life of shady promoters, political payoffs and cranial damage and the most rewarding a journey towards a comeback. The stories and acting is top notch for a cable series.

Set in the Garden state of New Jersey it follows the tale of an ex heavyweight champion named Patrick "Lights" Leary(Holt McCallany I remember him from 1987's "Creepshow 2") and after his boxing life is now over Lights tries to stay afloat and travel thru life as if he were in the boxing ring. It's tough in the suburbs living like a middle class guy, yet he has the support of his tough and caring loving wife(played just fine by Catherine McCormack)and his three daughters are the love of his life too.

On the downside his now primary source of income is his personal appearances based on his former fame plus Lights runs a training gym for up and coming boxers and he co owns this with his arrogant and shady brother(Pablo Schreiber)still Lights is a beast and his mind keeps pulling him back into the fighting ring.

As you watch each episode you see that Lights is a good family man, yet to get by just like many in today's pressure economy and work life this man succumbs to temptation. It doesn't matter if it's taking political bribes or doing dirty work involving promoters and agents Lights and his brother will do it to survive. As his ultimate goal is a rematch with the fighter who beat him. A good supporting and wild card role is when you see Light's father and gym trainer(played by the wonderful Stacy Keach)as dad is tough and by the book as he tries to keep both of his sons on the straight and narrow road even though he most of the time fails with that it's still compelling to watch.

Really this series has it all especially the realism of boxing such as challenges, comebacks, brain damage, crooked politicians and greedy promoters all tied into organized crime. Those themes tie in well with the life and family drama for a show of slow boiling tension. I think "Lights Out" is one of the best new series around the drama and tension mixed with life and bending the rules to get by is compelling and uplifting. Plus it's nice to see someone like Holt McCallany get a break and have a fighting chance at acting stardom. "Lights Out" will knock you out both inside and outside of the ring!

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31 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Great New Show

10/10
Author: marilynjdoyle from United States
18 January 2011

I love this new show and I love Holt McCallany as an actor. He should have been cast in a lead way before this. I hope FX does not cancel this show. I will be watching this show every week. I can't wait to see more episodes. I like his wife Theresa too. I don't understand why major TV channels don't pick this show up. This is one of the best new shows on TV. I can't wait to see some fight scenes. This show is great. It's about time TV gets some exciting TV shows. I remember seeing Holt McCallany in a couple of Law and Order episodes and I thought he was a great actor then. I really hope FX renews this show next year because it stands out over the other new TV shows this year. I hope voting for it on this website helps keep it on TV. I am going to email FX too and tell them I really like this show.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

This thing knocks me out

9/10
Author: Geneticks11 from United States
15 March 2011

Sorry for the cliché. Yes, it's dark, and sure, it can be depressing. And for those approaching it with a video game mentality it's not exactly action-packed. But from a psychological standpoint, for insight into a man and a family cornered by bad luck and scummy people, this is some of the richest, truest material I've yet to see on the little screen.

Start - and really end - with Holt McCallany. As Patrick Leary this man gives one of the most layered, convincing performances I've ever had the pleasure to watch. Every gesture, every fleeting facial snapshot, exposes the hurt of a proud man who has to beg for a break, for things to work out just one more time. Watch him have to deal with his children, with his wife, and see the uncertainty of a hard man who hates what he's doing. Except that it's for them, and for himself, and the conflict eats him away like acid. I've never seen him in anything else, but I'd literally pay to watch McCallany as Lights Leary.

The supporting cast falls short. Catherine McCormack as his wife Theresa is a perpetual nervous breakdown in waiting. Her only emotion is quivering, moist-eyed brittleness. Stacy Keach has either lost his chops or, more likely, been hamstrung by his one-dimensional role as old-school hard ass. Reg Cathey as the Don King stand-in is such a leering caricature of cartoon villainy you can't take him seriously. Leary's brother Johnny - Pablo Schreiber - has the odd handicap of a face that seems stuck in a slightly goofy, what-me-worry expression that flattens most of his scenes. The one exception to this surrounding blandness, for me, is Eamonn Walker as the renegade trainer. As an oddball paranoid who's either been born or beaten out of round, he plays the role with an understated, slightly loony intensity that rings weird and true.

McCallany, not truly a physical heavyweight, has learned to spar and train convincingly. The buildup to his fights is slow, excruciating, and wracked with the fear and tension of real battle. The fight scenes grip, not for their verisimilitude but because of the psychological freight they pack.

But, oh - Holt McCallany. Whether you like family drama, boxing, or just studying the technique of a man immersed in character, he alone is worth the price of a ticket. You cannot afford to miss him in this.

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly terrific new show!

9/10
Author: macktan894 from United States
28 January 2011

I'd given up on TV series except for the very popular 3 shows that always win awards (Breaking Bad, In Treatment, Dexter). But I'd heard about this show and noticed the first episode was free, so I watched. I was entranced immediately. The first episode opens on the fighter looking like Frankenstein, almost unrecognizably human. And his character builds from there, a sweet soul who finds himself having to do some questionable things to stay afloat.

I like the way this story is told, in a non-linear but very understandable fashion, giving us chunks of unseen information after its happened, as a flashback. And the writers are slowly building the stakes here, painting our champ into a corner so that you know what he's going to have to do to provide for his family.

Great soundtrack, too.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

I love this show.

10/10
Author: hands4health2 from United States
28 January 2011

I was so excited to watch after seeing the previews on TV...and I am glad I did. I thought the show was/is great and the characters are as well. This has to be the best that Holt has ever done. It gives him so much range and emotion. I love this character because of him. They have finally written a part for him that allows him to shine....and he absolutely does in this. I am watching every episode and can't wait until the next one comes. I think FX has done an amazing job with this one. I hope they listen to me and I am not alone out there. For once a show feels real. The characters make you want to watch. I want to see this run for years!!!

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Refreshing new drama

10/10
Author: InTraffic3118 from United States
3 March 2011

I started watching this show in a hotel room on a business trip to Dallas. I was instantly hooked. This show is about a man, a good man, and a great boxer, trying to keep his family together at all costs. The acting is first rate and the casting was spot on.

This show is also about boxing, as art. Boxing itself is a character in this show and the folks at FX do a great job of really making boxing quite compelling.

I must say that at the ripe old age of 28, Lights Out has me interested in boxing, really interested for the first time. Yes, it's brutal, but the show owns up to that and is unflinching in its portrait of this savage and beautiful sport.

I'm interested to see where the plot goes and how long FX can milk the whole 'comeback' aspect of the storyline. It has the potential to evolve into more than that. FX is making great shows and Lights Out is a testament to their creativity. You won't be disappointed with this one. It's a hit.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

excellent show

9/10
Author: toxology from USA
1 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lights Out a fine portrait of the working class American male. The lead actor is well cast, reprising his role from Fight Club and others. We come to sympathize with Lights because he is fair, means well and is generous with his family. He is doomed, however, by his greed and stupidity. In the end he is a doberman who fights for food, and will always be played by the manipulators who use him until they throw away and replace him. Lights is aware of this, but he doesn't mind and soldiers on because his goal is to elevate his family into the intellectual elite, so that they can become manipulators themselves. The family situation is fully explored, and it is made clear that Lights is the leader, financially and morally, of a misfit crew that would be completely lost without him, save for his brilliant daughter. This is the story of evolution, in the context of pure Americana, as Joe Palooka takes the punches to deliver his possibly-unworthy and definitely-ungrateful family to the promised land.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Provocative look at boxing world

9/10
Author: Maniac-9 from St. Louis, MO
5 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lights Out which was a 1(season) & done show on FX last year was a very interesting behind the scenes look at a fictional boxing champ. Holt McCallany a career character actor finally gets his chance to take the lead role. He plays that of retired former Heavyweight Boxing champ Patrick "Lights" Leary. Leary has been retired for about 5 years now after he lost his title to "Death Row" Reynolds the current champ. But after financial troubles force him to come out of retirement he gets back into the boxing ring. Much to his wife's disappointment since she was the one who talked him into retiring in the first place since she didn't want to see him take any more punishment.

Very good acting by everyone involved in the cast and a real shame the show got the axe after only 1 season.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This is a sensational show!

Author: flickhound12 from Surrey, United Kingdom
16 August 2011

I was told about this show by my cousin. It sounded good but my oh my I didn't expect it to be this good. You most likely already know the premise of the show so I won't spend time on that for now. But the writing is superb. Holt McCallany as the main character Patrick "Lights" Leary is a fine performance.

The beauty of this show is that it doesn't just focus on the boxing but on the boxer's personal life and the ins and outs of the murky world of professional boxing.

The makers of this show must have researched well since it feels like the real deal.

The scripting is excellent and unpredictable yet always believable.

My only one gripe with the show is that the boxers don't really look big enough to be heavyweights, they look more like middleweights.

I only sat down to watch one or two episodes but finished the entire season off in two nights after work, compelling stuff.

Looking forward to season two.

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Ruined by the writers.

6/10
Author: James Hillier from Australia
2 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just read the news that this show has been canned....I'm disappointed but not surprised.

The writers had an excellent premise to work with but unfortunately blew it...big time!! The actors are fine (especially Holt McCallany) and the plot is rich with potential. So what went wrong?

The characters that make up the 'Leary' family are so unsympathetic, especially brother Johnny who is supposed to add a 'bad boy' element but just comes off as totally annoying. Added into the mix are the wife who spends most of the time pouting over her husband's projected return to the ring, a domineering father who just won't let go and an interfering sister. The entire clan come across as a bunch of selfish parasites sucking the life blood out of poor old Patrick.

As if the writers realised the error of their ways, about half way through the series they introduce a new influence in Patrick's life; a new trainer who recognises the Leary family for what they are and tries desperately to extricate them from Patrick's boxing affairs....he partially succeeds too. At this time I thought things were really looking up...then, inexplicably, the new trainer is written out of the plot and we go back to the same old same old.

It's a shame; 'Lights Out' had all the ingredients for a potential hit only to be ruined by totally inept scripting.

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