Series creator David Milch is a recovering gambling addict in real life, and drew on his own experiences for part of the storyline. He jokingly refers to that part of his life as "the most expensive research period" of his career. See more »
I never thought I would get so worked up over horses...
Luck is the kind of grand sociological series that creator David Milch and to a lesser extent HBO as a network are known for. It presents a cross-section of one out-of-the-way spot in the dying world of horse racing. That sense of death and decay pervades the entire narrative, which stars an assortment of broken-down men headed up by Dustin Hoffman and extending to the quartet of hard-luck gamblers that are perhaps the soul of the show. And yet there's a sense of hope that occasionally shines through and makes it all not just bearable but beautiful.
This all makes it sound arty and kind of dull, and indeed the series has a very deliberate pace that might turn some viewers off, although that's an essential part of its style. But even without the overdose of sex and violence you can get from other HBO series, Luck provides some exhilarating sequences, most notably the brilliantly-shot horse races. Add that to great writing and acting and you have a show that satisfies on every level.
Well, up until the end, that is. Luck is doomed to be a one-season wonder, cancelled not because of low ratings but because of a series of horse deaths on set. It still works as a whole, but with only nine episodes, it's hard not to wonder what could have been. Still, what we have is a gem of a series, and well worth checking out for any fan of high-quality drama.
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