TV Listings | Luck's out and over
Pick of the week: Luck (SVT2, Sat 21:15)
Why are we recommending you watch a show that was discontinued before it could pick up the pace? Well, for one, you’d only be losing nine hours of your life if you got hooked. And two, there’s a serious chance that you might. Unless you hate it, that is.
The first and final season of Luck, HBO’s high-profile flop, which scored 75 percent on Metacritic, doesn’t exactly bring out the moderate in people. Some love it, some hate it, and most haven’t even heard of a show that saw its viewer numbers drop with every episode aired.
But what’s to hate about an HBO series with a prestigious cast (Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte), tough guys with rough voices, hushed-up intrigue and organised crime, a theme song by Massive Attack and some beautiful shots of horses (or mediocre shots of beautiful horses) thrown in for good measure?
Well, that’s just it: after a third horse needed to be euthanised due to irreversible damage to its health, HBO had to cancel the show.
Whether you’re in the ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ camp or feel the horses’ occupational hazards were compensated for by their fame or some other form of cosmic justice, let me just say that the discourse around this show has for too long been dominated by horses.
The Guardian claims it was all an excuse to cancel a show that was “difficult and downbeat, lost in a self-indulgent fog of obfuscation, and grandly demanded infinite patience from the viewer, rather than grabbing them from the start”. Yet most other critics rave about the brilliant performances, poetic writing and undulating pace of Luck’s storytelling.
The sense that Luck is a complex and vividly realistic show may have good reason: series creator David Milch is in fact a recovering gambling addict, and parts of the storyline were drawn from his own experiences. Luck is worth taking some time getting into – even though you are ultimately backing the wrong horse. (ASH)
Coming Soon: Helix
Suspense junkies with a soft spot for sci-fi will salivate like Sigourney’s alien at the thought of Ron Moore’s (Battlestar Gallactica) dark, stop-the-virus thriller. Every episode depicts one day at a secret Arctic high-tech research facility where scientists investigate a pernicious virus that could annihilate all of mankind.
With the kind of synopsis that so interested the team who remade The Thing, you may agree with the San Francisco Chronicle that “there’s nothing all that original about Helix, but it works well enough. The script gets bogged down in soap opera suds from time to time, especially when it involves the love triangle.”
Okay, so Helix may not go viral. But with so little sci-fi on the market right now, you may well come to find the thrilling pace of this ice-cold series infectious. (ASH)
Not sure why, but DR2 are showing three documentaries with a common theme this week: Lockerbie: Death of a Terrorist (DR2, Sat 18:25), Gadaffi (DR2, Mon 21:00) and Libya: Diary from the Revolution (DR2, Tue 23:00). Surely it’s not to mark the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie – one month too late?
Anyhow, none of them will reveal the truth behind the bombing. As Jim Swire, the parent of a woman killed in the terrorist act, told APTN in 1990 he was reliably informed that the various governments involved are “never going to tell”.
Among the other docs worth checking out are the BBC’s Pleasure and Pain (DR2, Sat 21:15), which sounds saucy, but isn’t; and Silent War: Battle beneath the Waves (DRK, Mon 20:00), which is about the Cold War.
Elsewhere this week, we’ve got The Grammys (TV2 Zulu, Sun 02:00); there’s another chance to see the British miniseries Mad Dogs (DR1, Sat-Sun 00:05), but in just two episodes. (BH)
Sport of the week
Just a couple of weeks before Sochi comes the winter edition of the X-Games (DR3, Sat & Sun 20:00) from Aspen, where Olympic hopefuls will mix with the rebels of the snow-loving world. With more contact, more jumps and more deaths – everything is taken to the extreme. A bit like the weather at the Australian Open (Eurosport, Sat & Sun 09:30), which is due to wind up this weekend – once again without Woz in tow. And don’t miss the fourth round of the FA Cup (K6, Sat 13:00 FA Cup: Bournemouth vs Liverpool) as the 32 teams become 16 and start to question why they didn’t concentrate on not getting relegated. (BH)
Film of the week
It’s tough being Martin Scorsese. Any other director and Shutter Island (SVT4, Sun 21:00) would have been hailed a masterpiece, but in his case, it’s nowhere good as Goodfellas. My Sister’s Keeper (TV2, Sat 14:55) isn’t either, but at least its plot about a girl who sues her parents for conceiving her to aid her leukaemia-stricken older sister is intriguing. Unlike The Back-up Plan (SVT4, Sat 21:3) in which J-Lo has IVF hours before meeting her dream guy (err, that’s it). Elsewhere, Glorious 39 (DRK, Fri 20:45) is so bad it’s good, and Red Riding Hood (TV2, Sun 00:10) so bad it hurts. (BH)