Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lucky 7

Lucky 7
Episode 1: Pilot
By: Carlos Uribe

Lucky 7 is a show about a group of gas station workers who win the lottery.

Spoilers Ahoy!

I think that the lottery is the biggest waste of money of all time. It might only cost a couple of bucks per ticket but it adds up over time. One could theoretically spend hundreds of dollars over the course of a few years on tickets and never win. Money that you could save up in order to buy a toaster or a television. At the same time, the hope of being a lucky winner is what strives people to buy these tickets. It offers them a way out of poverty. An escape from their life of having to work from eight-to-five every day in order to make end's meet. Lucky 7 is a show about what happens when regular people who participate in a lottery pool get the winning numbers. The interesting part about this premise is that there are two ways for the viewers to take this show. The first is escapism. They can pretend that they are like these characters, that they won the lottery. The second is that they can see the show as an insult. One where they've never won the lottery but these characters managed to do it. It's mocking them for their misfortune. In this economic times where people have trouble even finding jobs, a show about winning the lottery can either be timely or disconnected. I can't say for sure which one a viewer might take. It wouldn't surprise me if the reason that Lucky 7 might be a hit is because of the escapist element. Who wouldn't want to win the lottery? On the other hand, if the show doesn't make it, it might be because the audience would have resented that these characters won the lottery while their struggling financially. I certainly would like to see how the audience reacts to this program. As to my own reaction, I didn't like Lukcy 7. The characters were all weak, the narratives weren't compelling, and I was relatively bored. As it turns out, making a show about regular people winning the lottery means that it's exploring typical problems. Typical problems might work in comedies but it's difficult to make them work in a drama.

The narrative in Lucky 7 never really picks up. There is an attempt to pump adrenaline in the beginning to get people excited but it lacks the proper execution. It felt like a forced, stilted, halfhearted attempt. The rest of the pilot is relatively uninterested as it doesn't really contain any compelling material. There are the expected plots of a couple of characters who are forced to commit a crime because they need the money for their families. An overweight girl is trying to go on a diet while dealing with the possibility that her husband is cheating on her. The show attempts to add a layer to her plot by revealing that her girl has suffered problems since her miscarriage. Which is tragic but doesn't really make her more interesting. There is a girl who probably stole her identity or something seeing as how she's confirmed about proving she's who she is to the lottery board. She also wants to be able to buy her daughter what she wants. The guy who stopped buying into the lottery pool in order to save up the money. The girl whose parents want her to marry a doctor. There isn't a single plot in there that piques up my interest. I'm not really given a reason on why I should keep watching Lucky 7 because I don't care about any of these characters. This is a huge issue with Lucky 7. I guess it's nice we get to see their lives before the lottery win but it would have been nice if that was contained within the first two acts. It might be different if we actually got to see how the lottery affected their lives during the pilot rather than merely hinting at the possibilities.

I don't really care about any of these characters. It's an ensemble drama but the closest this show has to a protagonist is Matt Korzak. Matt is pretty dull and bland. He has the same worries as many people: he's trying to keep his girl together while trying to provide for his family. He's an everyman whose forced into pulling an inside theft job due to his money issues. He's not particularly interesting. There's a part of the show where the writers tease us with the possibility he might not get the winnings since he technically didn't pay in. It came down to an election where we don't know who voted for him or not. I imagine this is to create relationship drama later on but it's one of the many instances where the show tried to force tension. Was there any doubt he wouldn't get his winnings? He's the closest thing we have to a main character. It's just like the scene where the lottery numbers were announced. We already knew they were going to win so dragging it out just seemed unnecessary. His half-brother, Nicky Korzak, is an ex-convict who claims to be reformed. His first solution at hearing about Matt's problems and his own impending debt? To commit a crime. Yeah, he's definably not reformed. It's hard for me to really relate to him. The two brothers take up a huge chunk of the time because of their involvement in a crime. I guess this makes sense. What's worse is that Matt's girlfriend is so annoying and such a complainer that I'm actually repulsed by her. I wonder why he would want to be dating to someone who uses sex to manipulate him.

It's too bad none of the other characters are any better. Denise Dibinsky is an overweight woman who realizes her husband is cheating on her. She suffered a miscarriage in the past which has caused her marriage problems. She's suffering serious issues but I didn't really care because she never won me over. The series assumes that simply presenting her is enough to make me care about her. Leanne Maxwell is a single mother who is going to have issues proving who she is. That's basically her whole personality right there. Samira Lashari is resisting her parent's pressure to marry a doctor. That is until she meets him where she presumably hits it off with him. Once again, I have no reason to really care about her. The final lottery winner is Bob Harris. His whole character is presented as the nicest man in the world. Nice is a good attribute for anybody to have but it doesn't necessarily make that person interesting nor does it really create a lot of opportunities of conflict for that character. There is one worker who doesn't win the lottery, Antonio. Antonio is a romantic who misses out winning because he never thought it would actually happen. He's been able to save $700 instead of putting money into the lottery pool. It's good that the series is keeping one of them poor to not only compare how his life has stayed the same with those who won the lottery but also to create conflict. His wife is a bit disappointed in him so this will strain his relationship.

Lucky 7 presents a pilot that is deeply flawed. The premise is okay but the issue is with everything else. The characters are largely dull, boring, and we have no reason to actually care about them. The plots aren't compelling nor are they interesting. A mixture of weak characters and weak plots create a show that creates no incentive to watch a second episode. Ultimately, Lucky 7 isn't a very good drama despite it's strong cast.

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