Talk about an ironic title. HBO abruptly shut down production on Dustin Hoffman’s iconic new series “Luck” after a third horse died on the set. Say what you will, but the show, having just aired its fourth installment, was finally picking up steam.

With an esteemed cast, including producer/star Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Michael Gambon, Nick Nolte, Jason Gedrick and Kevin Dunn, HBO no doubt was expecting another Sopranos-like show.

Instead, with writer David Milch and director Michael Mann, it got a small, quirky show about horse-racing. Shot at the legendary Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, Calif, it truly moved at a snail’s pace.

But after their latest two installments, it finally showed signs of moving forward in a powerful direction. It was one of those stories that unfolded all their stories at once, yet took its sweet time in linking all the narrative together.

Pundits immediately said that the accident was a decent way for the cable net to unload the show; it drew a paltry 300,000 viewers. To me, it was a rich, fascinating look at the seedy horse-racing environment; a monumental addiction if there ever was.

Dunne, as an asthmatic, wheelchair bound addict, was terrifically good. There was no question he was a despicable person; but, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Each show ended with a quarterbacking session with Hoffman and Farina; again, mesmerizing.

Believe it or not, they were filming their second season when the shut down call came! Tough call no doubt, but I’ll remember “Luck” as a brilliant failure.

Names in the News

Bobbi Dahl, Freddy Bastone, Neal Lawrence, Jacqueline-Boyd Dolenz, James Edstrom, Lee Jeske, Race Taylor, Jim Kerr, Ken Dahsow, Bobby Mcleod, Art Rutter, Michele Grant, Ken Davenport, Bruce Glikas, Tom and Lisa Cuddy, Zach Martin, David Salidor