Tuesdays on ABC
Pilot, September 24
A different take on the ensemble casts comes to us on the same night and network as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A cautionary tale told in dramedy style with a cast of flawed everyday people working at a gas station/garage/convenience store in Chicago. They are a family of choice, of sorts, bound together by circumstance and collective struggle, who try their “luck” weekly by pooling their money for the lottery. What happens when their numbers win? Well, as can be expected, greed corrupts in the same way power does, so we all know where this will lead.
In contrast to S.H.I.E.L.D., where (super) powers can corrupt, Lucky 7 is filled with anything but super heroes. These characters are stereotypically strapped for money and carry their own sets of baggage along that we are given glimpses of in the pilot. We are also shown, at the very start, a flash forward scene that foreshadows what’s to come, and it does not look good. I am not sure the future of this show looks that good, either.
The characters were too hollow and predictable to me. They came off as badly sketched representations of what we are to take as “everyday” men and women. We have the young husband and father who has an hard to please wife and an intolerable family, who he and his own family have been forced to live with. He has a ticking time clock over his head, and a down payment looming for a chance to save his marriage and have a home of their own. His brother is an ex-convict who is being tailed and harassed by his old “crew” who are demanding payment. We have the wife who has “let herself go” which we are to believe is the reason why a) her husband is cheating and b) why they haven’t had sex in five years. Really? So, not being thin means no sex and a cheating spouse? Oh, and in her first scene we get to see her sneak donuts (really?) and believe a blatant, and poorly executed, lie from her husband said between his taunts about her eating. Oh, and of course we have the young girl from India whose family is pushing her to marry a doctor, and a single mom who is obviously in hiding from something (probably an abusive husband). Have I forgotten anyone? Oh wait, yes, the kind owner of the store who is injured at the start, but still thinks the best of those who hurt him and the implied hero of this tale, the charismatic father who did not buy into the lottery pool, choosing instead to save his “lottery monies” in a coffee can – we already know that despite his disappointment in not sharing in the millions, he will come out being the most successful and happy in the bunch.
You can probably see where this is all going, as well, right?
I do not think there is enough in the characters, story or plot to sustain a full series, much less a season of a series. For me, there are no surprises, as I could see the paths and the futures for all these characters before the show reached its half-way mark. As much as I love dramedies and ensemble casts, I do not think this one is a keeper.