Written by: Richard Reitzfeld
Lucky 7, the American re-imagining of the British series, The Syndicate, premiered this past Tuesday on ABC. The show follows seven down-on-their-luck employees of a gas station in Queens, New York, all of whom are struggling both financially and with their own blue-collar issues.
We’ve got Samira (Summer Bishil), an Indian girl who wants to pursue her dream of becoming a musician by attending the prestigious Juilliard School, but whose father, a cab driver, insists that she submit to an arranged marriage. There’s a pair of brothers, Nicky and Matt (Stephen Louis Grush and Matt Long), who live at home, one of whom is an edgy ex-con and the other your typical “good guy” just trying to get by and support his daughter and pregnant wife by moving them into their own home.
You’ve got your stereotypical single mom, Leanne (Anastasia Phillips), thrown in there, whose apparent sweetness is exceeded only by her daughter’s cuteness. There’s an obese woman, Denise (Lorraine Bruce), who’s husband is clearly cheating on her because she’s become fat in recent years, a mechanic, Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos), who’s just doing his best to provide for his family and also be a good man. Finally, we have the manager, Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), of whom not too much is known about thus far.
You’d be hard pressed to come up with a more cliché cast of characters. After their painfully scripted introductory scenes, the plot ball starts rolling in a maybe sort of potentially interesting but probably won’t be direction.
The seven of them all contribute to a lottery pool at work every week in hopes to one day hit the big time and solve all of their problems. Unfortunately, the lotto is a fickle mistress, and they’ve yet to win. With the threat of his wife leaving him in the wake of the birth of their child, our “good guy”, Matt, pleads with Bob for a pay advance to put a down payment on an apartment to no avail.
When his wife is rushed to the hospital and gives birth, she informs Matt that she plans to move in with her sister until he can find them their own apartment. Matt’s brother, Nicky, suggests they rob the gas station at which they are employed, and after 30 or so seconds of angst-y inner moral debate, Matt agrees.
Things don’t go as planned, however, and Bob winds up in the hospital due to a blow to the head from Nicky. The police get involved and Matt starts to shit bricks. He’s at their mother’s house, contemplating turning himself in, when all of a sudden fate comes a knockin’, and Denise rushes in to inform them that they’ve won the lottery! Problems solved, right? We’ll see.
After the initial celebration, there’s some confusion as to who contributed to the winning lotto ticket, prompting a vote for whether or not one of our characters will be allowed to share in the winnings. The vote is split (future drama!) and the final decision comes down to a still hospitalized Bob. Additionally, one of our cast – watch to see who! – who decided to do the responsible thing by opting out of the lottery pool years ago and save the money instead, is excluded from the winnings. Sucks to be you, pal.
The above coupled with the “high-octane” seven-months-later introductory scene depicting Matt and Nicky in a car chase and throwing a bag full of money out onto the street sets the stage for what will likely be an attempt at a heartwarming evolution of characters, in which everyone learns that money isn’t really the answer to all of life’s problems. Yee-haw!
Like I said, there may be some potential here. Cliché character types aside, there are enough of them at play that hopefully they will interact in some interesting ways. I found Lucky 7 to be nothing short of painful at times, but in spite of that, I find myself curious as to where the show will go now that our protagonists have won the lotto. Well, some of them at least. I’ll say it’s at least worth watching another episode or two, but color me skeptical.
Lucky 7 airs Tuesday nights at 10PM on ABC if you want to check it out.