January 26, 2012

THE HORSES ARE ON THE TRACK:

HBO's Luck ponies up with a winning cast, setting and story (Scott Stinson,  Jan 25, 2012 , National Post)

Few series have embraced that cable ethos as completely as Luck, the new HBO show from David Milch, the creator of Deadwood. It is a slow-building revenge mystery, coupled with a tale of redemption, and joined with the goofy comedy of four goombahs trying to make it big at the racetrack. It is anything but simple and straightforward. And it is a great pleasure to watch.

At its most basic, Luck is a series about the culture of horse racing. Milch, who grew up with a father who often took him to the track, has said he was always fascinated with the environment. "I find it as complicated and engaging a special world as any I've ever encountered," he told Variety magazine. "Not only in what happens in the clubhouse and the grandstand, but also on the backside of the track, where the training is done and where they house the horses."

His appreciation for the sport is evident from the outset; a scene in the pilot of daybreak at the beautiful Santa Anita track in California sees the horses prepped for practice runs, steam rising from their warm bodies as they loosen their muscles and exhale violently. Shot in loving slow motion, the horses are like race cars revving at the starting line. But, you know, alive.

As environments go, the ponies are plenty intriguing: Once a dominant part of the North American landscape, the "Sport of Kings" has been reduced to one pursued by those on the seedier fringes of society. Milch plainly sees the racetrack as a place of romance lost.
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Posted by orrinj at January 26, 2012 6:15 AM
  
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