If Lucky, FX's newest half-hour dramatic comedy,
finds an audience, it'll be more than just the luck of the draw.
A vehicle for John Corbett, a hot supporting player thanks to roles in Sex and the City and the theatrical sleeper My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the series is an entertaining glimpse into the seamier sides of Las Vegas culture.
With rogue-lite charm, Corbett portrays Michael "Lucky" Linkletter, a professional gambler and former poker world champion who has fallen from the peak of his profession. When we meet him, he's just won a $1 million jackpot and is about to marry a beautiful woman. A year later, he's squandered away the money and his wife has passed away.
Thankfully, the pilot episode doesn't waste much time on that back story, but plunges right into the action — Lucky's attempt to secure $8,000 cash to repay the money his in-laws fronted for his wife's funeral. It also introduces a colorful array of supporting characters, including Joey Legs (veteran character actor Dan Hedaya), an omnipresent mob boss who manages to find lucky whenever Lucky "needs him"; and Danny (Kevin Breznahan), a somewhat sympathetic crack addict who always seems to be around whenever Lucky doesn't.
Eventually, Gamblers Anonymous member Lucky is forced to fall off the wagon in order to make back his money — but not before making a bond with another GA member, realtor Theresa Philips (Amy Carradine).
Fun sidelights to main story are the misadventures of Lucky's two closest sidekicks, small-time gamblers Vinny Sticcarelli (Billy Gardell) and Buddy "Mutha" LeGendre (Craig Robinson). In one later episode, the pair pose as doctors to infiltrate a orthopedists' convention — only to find that the doctors they thought they were scamming weren't doctors either.
The four episodes FX presented for review take many such appealing twists and terms. In this world of cons and the conned nothing is ever as it seems to be — but everyone's also in on the game, which makes things that might seem bleak on paper more human within the confines of the script.
Though the subject matter may seem dark when it's laid out in print, Lucky's a lot of fun — the proof's in the viewing.
bows Tuesday, April 8 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.