I’ll be honest, I was not very interested in Lucky 7 when I first read about it. After my first glance, I quickly dismissed Lucky 7. I assumed it would be the comedic story of a band of misfits who win the lottery and how it changes their lives — I was wrong on multiple fronts. After looking at the thoughts of a few critics around the web who had access to the series early, I noticed more than a handful of critics were cautiously optimistic about the series (something that has been unsurprisingly rare this Fall season) and, hey, it isn’t a comedy. I saw someone on Twitter recently pitched Lucky 7 as “Hurley’s story from Lost without the island”, which definitely got me a bit more interested in the series.
If you’re unfamiliar with Lost (why?), you might ask “what does that mean for this series?”. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you.
From Lucky 7‘s pilot, it seems to mean this: we have a bunch of folks who were struggling to make ends meet, but they end up winning a fortune in the lottery. The drama comes in when bad things start to happen to them left and right after they’ve won their money. Now, that might not exactly be “Hurley’s story” (I wouldn’t expect anything supernatural to happen, but I wouldn’t be displeased if it did!), but it is the same basic circumstances. Lucky 7 (if it is anything like the British series it is adapted from) will most likely feature the same episode model as Lost as well — episodes that focus on telling the story from each character, one episode at a time.
I was surprised by my own interest in Lucky 7 while watching the pilot — I didn’t open my phone to play Angry Birds: Star Wars II once during its hour run-time. Before I knew it, I was theory-crafting all of the things that could and should go wrong along their paths and had hopes for what would go right. I was invested in these characters and their futures.
Let’s talk a bit about these people who sunk their hooks into me like emotinal ninjas.
Matt (Matt Long) is one of the two characters we spend the most time with during the pilot. Matt is under a lot of pressure at (his mother’s) home as he has a girlfriend, a son and one more on the way, but makes a meager wage working at the gas station, Gold Star. As if that wasn’t enough, his girlfriend and mother are constantly at each other’s throats. That’s almost enough for a man to, I don’t know, go along with his ex-con brother’s plan to rob the gas station he works at to make some extra money? Maybe, but probably not.
Speaking of Matt’s ex-con brother, we’ve got Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush) up next. Nicky did some time before the series for grand larceny and, while he says he’s a reformed ex-con, it’s pretty clear he hasn’t. After Nicky’s past comes back to haunt him, his first thought is to rope his brother in to a plot to rob Gold Star. There is also a bit of a relationship between Nicky and a co-worker over at Gold Star, but I’m not sure she’s that into him.
Samira (Summer Bishil) is a young girl who struggles between living her own life and dealing with her overbearing father (Rizwan Manji) who brought his family to America in pursuit of the American Dream. She seems to have a bit of a crush on Nicky, but she is getting pressure from her father to be involved with a doctor (who she meets through coincidence in the pilot).
Denise (Lorraine Bruce) is the lovable innocent. She’s put on a few pounds since she got married to her husband, but she tries hard to work on it — despite temptation staring her in the face at every corner (I mean, she works at a gas station). She is always smiling, incredibly generous and optimistic to a fault. The sad part? Her husband has been cheating on her for some time. It’s a shame, but she shows a great deal of strength by accepting it and realizing what she does, she does for herself and not her cheating (soon to be ex, I hope) husband.
Leanne (Anastasia Phillips) is the one we know the least about. So far, all I’ve been able to gather that is based on fact is that she’s an employee at Gold Star who has an adorable daughter. There is a scene in the hospital where it seems like there might be some clues pointing to her not being who she says she is, but that is all theory at this point. Either way, I’m interested to see where her story goes.
I wasn’t sure about Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) at first. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with him or his life during the first half of the pilot. While his co-workers at Gold Star are all struggling, he is living a modest, but enjoyable life with his loving wife and kids. But, then we find out. Instead of betting his money on the lottery, he’s been saving his lottery money the entire time and putting it aside for emergencies. His problem is that he’s prudent and cares too much for his money to leave a little bit to luck. I really hope they buy him something with their winnings.
It’s hard watching Isiah Whitlock Jr. play a likable guy after the mess he made in The Wire, but Bob is the antithesis of Clay Davis. He’s a sweet man who genuinely seems to care for his employees, but is put in a tough position by the parent company wanting to issue some cutbacks.
I came into Lucky 7 expecting to slow through an hour-long bore, but walked away pleasantly surprised. The pilot spends most of the time showcasing the struggles present in the lives of the “Lucky 6” (and Antonio) before they win their money and does a good job of making me want the best for these people and their families. I want Leanne to not have to worry about giving her daughter five bucks for pizza day. I want Matt to be able to move out and support his family. I don’t really care about Nicky, though. Oh well. The pilot does a surprisingly good job of establishing the past and setting up the future without making the present scenes feel like filler.
- Rating: “Pleasantly surprised.”
- Comment: Lucky 7 is a completely different animal than what I expected, and I’m happy for it.
- You might like Lucky 7 if you like: serial dramas, ensemble casts, Lost-style character-driven storylines
Lucky 7 airs Tuesdays on ABC at 10 PM PST. If you missed out on this week’s premiere, you can catch up on Hulu.