[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Lucky 7" (ABC)
Airs: Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
The Pitch: Remember "Windfall" on NBC? That's right. Nobody else does either. This is totally fresh and new, then! Lottery winners! Sometimes it's not so easy for them!
Quick Response: Watch "Lucky 7" after watching most of the season's other new network dramas. That's my best recommendation. I certainly don't think that "Lucky 7" is great drama, but relative to most of the season's pilots, it's populated with semi-likable characters played by actors who aren't predictable Central Casting retreads and, most importantly, the pilot moves like lightning. For the latter attribute, I give an awful lot of credit to pilot director Paul McGuigan, who did the BBC "Sherlock," as well as the pilots for "Scandal" and "Devious Maids." I don't think McGuigan always directs "well" and he's prone to over-directing, but in overcompensating he gives momentum to situations that sometimes could use a shot of adrenaline. And this is absolutely one of those instances. David Zabel's script is a VAST improvement over his work on "Betrayal" -- this is an example of in medias res time shifting that at least somewhat rewards the viewer -- but it's also pretty generic stuff. [That Zabel also has the worst paced pilot I've ever watched premiering this fall makes me even more inclined to hold McGuigan responsible for what works here.] He's crafted broadly amiable characters, but I'd guess that 90 percent of what I like about those characters comes from the well-assembled cast. There are really solid and immediately inhabited performances from Anastasia Phillips, Louis Antonio Ramos, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Summer Bishil and, particularly, Lorraine Bruce. Kudos to Bruce, who played the same role in the British original "The Syndicate," but I never would have even considered that she originally hails from Manchester. Matt Long is positioned as the reassuringly Caucasian and bland leading man and he acquits himself reasonably. Thanks to McGuigan, "Lucky 7" zips along stylishly and, in 43 minutes, introduces its characters, introduces basic needs and desires for each of the characters and weaves around through time smoothly enough to impose a dash of mystery and a dash of ethical unrest. That's something!
Desire To Watch Again: I would say that that's enough to make "Lucky 7" one of my three or four favorite new network dramas of the fall, but that's such a low bar. Watched amidst a slew of total duds and misfires, this was a pleasant surprise. That doesn't mean I have any anxiousness to see additional episodes, even in a time slot where it's going up against a pair of shows -- "Person of Interest" and "Chicago Fire" -- that I watch regularly, but only occasionally genuinely enjoy. It's possible that I like "Lucky 7" just enough that I'll be willing to defend it when other people criticize it with needless harshness, but not enough that I'm going to be driven to watch it every week. But we'll see. I'll watch a second episode and adapt. This is the capper to ABC's all-new Tuesday and, really, it makes almost no sense. It isn't compatible with the other Tuesday shows on ABC and it's really "soft" for a 10 p.m. show. Dunno.

 

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All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries