September 24, 2013

PREMIERING TONIGHT: THE SKED Pilot Review – ABC’s “Lucky 7″”


Read All Our Fall Pilot Reports here and Midseason Pilot Reports here.

LUCKY 7:  Tuesday 10PM on ABC – If Nothing Else Is On…

LUCKY 7 doesn’t feel like a jackpot.  Although its premise pilot doesn’t necessarily give a clear idea of what the series will be, the seemingly irresistible plot hook–a half-dozen ordinary folks who win a $45M lottery prize and what it does to their lives–seems awfully mundane in the script by Jeffrey Richman and David Zabel (the latter will serve as series showrunner), based on a British format.

The US version takes place in Astoria, Queens, and the winners work at a gas station/auto shop.  Each, naturally, has a dilemma of his or her own.  Manager Bob (Isiah Whitlock, Jr) is keeping to himself the possibility that the station is going to be shut down.  Matt (Matt Long) has a baby on the way and a wife who might leave him if they can’t raise the money to move out of his mother’s house; Matt’s brother Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush) is an ex-con who still owes gangsters the $60K he borrowed for the drug buy that put him in jail.  Leanne (Anastasia Phillips) is a struggling single mother, Denise (Lorraine Bruce) is a plus-sized wife whose husband is cheating on her, and Samira (Summer Bishil) is an aspiring violinist whose Indian parents are pushing her into an arranged marriage, even though she and Nicky have an attraction.  The seventh person at the station isn’t so lucky:  Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) decided to sock his money away instead of participating in the lottery pool, so he’s out in the cold.

The pilot, aside from a quick flash-forward indicating the chaos that is to come, only takes us to the point of the group winning the prize, so obviously the stories are going to take a sharp turn now that all the characters have sudden wealth.  Still, none of the people or actors manage to pop in the pilot (not even Whitlock, who always pops), and there isn’t any storyline that makes one impatient to know what’s going to happen next.  Admittedly, these are supposed to be ordinary people, but “ordinary” needn’t be a synonym for unintersting.

David Zabel has been a showrunner of ER, so he certainly knows how to keep an ensemble drama humming (although he’ll be splitting his time this fall between Lucky 7 and another ABC drama, Betrayal), so it wouldn’t do to dismiss Lucky 7 too quickly.  It faces a pair of procedurals in its 10PM slot, Chicago Fire and Person of Interest, and while it doesn’t figure to get a huge lead-in from Trophy Wife, there is a potential opening for something new and distinctive.  At this point, though, Lucky 7 just doesn’t seem to have that ticket.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."