• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 11, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Catlin
    Jan 31, 2012
    80
    What keeps these threads tight and advances the action is the input of Michael Mann, who directed the pilot and set the tone for the rest of the nine-episode first season.
  2. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Jan 30, 2012
    75
    Luck is a sometimes confusing yet fascinating study of the colorful characters--the jockeys, trainers, owners, gamblers and railbirds--who populate horse-racing tracks.
  3. Reviewed by: Ross Langager
    Jan 30, 2012
    70
    For these all-too-brief moments of sheer visceral exhilaration, all of the related backroom machinations, self-destructive manipulation, and blithe dishonesty of the characters seem completely justified.
  4. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 30, 2012
    70
    Viewers who appreciate slow-moving stories set in gritty, somewhat sleazy environments with characters of questionable morals are most likely to be rewarded by betting on Luck.
  5. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Jan 27, 2012
    70
    If you make it to the end, the payoff is sweeter for the suffering. In the meanwhile, enjoy each scene on its own merits, which are not inconsiderable.
  6. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Jan 27, 2012
    88
    Asking viewers to simply look his characters in the eye, Milch has created an infuriatingly but genuinely moving drama.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jan 27, 2012
    70
    The parts that do work possess the doom-laden yet strangely optimistic romanticism of Milch's best work.
  8. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 27, 2012
    80
    Luck too is far from perfect, but I found a lot to love in its rough edges.
  9. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 27, 2012
    60
    At this point, [it's] somewhere between a long shot and a lock.
  10. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Jan 27, 2012
    100
    With an impossibly good cast, writing so spot-on it's poetic, and slow-build stories, I, for one, was left wanting more--even after watching the entire season.
  11. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Jan 27, 2012
    75
    Luck can be maddeningly inscrutable but it becomes less so over time.
  12. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Jan 27, 2012
    80
    Strong writing and acting ensure that we soon become so sensitive to the characters that we feel for them the way they feel for their horses.
  13. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 27, 2012
    80
    I've seen all nine episodes of Luck's first season and I still don't know how to place a bet, much less pick a winner. But when the carousel finally stopped turning, I couldn't wait to buy another ticket.
  14. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jan 27, 2012
    40
    This nine-episode series is maddeningly and needlessly opaque, and so deferential to the rites and rituals of the track that the storytelling is labored and even joyless.
  15. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 27, 2012
    100
    "Deadwood" fans already know that Milch doesn't make it easy for viewers to get a purchase on his series, but for those willing to do the work, Luck, pays off.
  16. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 27, 2012
    83
    You should give Luck a chance to slowly pay off. It proudly depicts a gritty/picturesque world that the ABC Family channel's Wildfire only airbrushed during its 2005-08 run.
  17. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Jan 27, 2012
    70
    Pretty good, yes; but great, no--or at least not great in that Sunday-night way HBO has led people to take for granted.
  18. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 27, 2012
    60
    The plot is as stubbornly slow-burning as Hoffman's sharply reined-in performance and ultimately far less inspired.
  19. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 27, 2012
    60
    Luck is suffused with brilliant acting and amazing scenes, but in a few unfortunate ways, it remains impenetrable almost until its last hour.
  20. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    There are great performances from Gedrick and Dunn as leaders of a gambling quartet, and good work all around.
  21. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jan 26, 2012
    100
    There are three excellent reasons--Milch, Mann and Hoffman--why your faith will be rewarded.
  22. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 26, 2012
    83
    With Milch holding the reins, Luck seems a lock for the winner's circle.
  23. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 25, 2012
    91
    It's clear and engaging and moving to this novice.
  24. It's a scattershot approach that ultimately undermines what is admirable about Luck, including some gorgeous photography.
  25. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 23, 2012
    80
    Luck is a smart and ambitious series that looks to truly pay off in the home stretch.
  26. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 23, 2012
    60
    Luck--for all its quirky exchanges and marquee performers--proves at best a photo finish as to whether it's worth the effort.
  27. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Jan 17, 2012
    40
    When it comes to story, unfortunately, Luck is a drag.
  28. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jan 30, 2012
    91
    I suspect Luck will need its own kind of good fortune to persuade HBO Subscribers to get on its wavelength--to go with the undulating rhythm of its storytelling. But it's worth the effort. [3/10 Feb 2012, p.104]
  29. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jan 19, 2012
    88
    Luck is a true original, a show with a tone like no other. [30 Jan 2012, p.43]
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jan 29, 2012
    10
    I don't like horseracing. It's boring, in my opinion. I loved Luck. Brilliant cast, brilliant writing and cinematography. I saw the pilot aI don't like horseracing. It's boring, in my opinion. I loved Luck. Brilliant cast, brilliant writing and cinematography. I saw the pilot a while back so that's why I'm reviewing now. I definiely recommend it to everyone. People who like horseracing and to those who don't. Full Review »
  2. Feb 8, 2012
    10
    Okay, here's what we can conclude from the reviews of "Luck." Critics are getting dumber. If a TV series doesn't make every little thing clearOkay, here's what we can conclude from the reviews of "Luck." Critics are getting dumber. If a TV series doesn't make every little thing clear at first glance, they get mad and call it "impenetrable." Had they reviewed "Hamlet" in 1601, they would have complained about the "impenetrability" of the ghost. Critics also seem to believe that narrative momentum trumps all other dramatic qualities. If the plot doesn't flat-out gallop like a speed horse running wire to wire (sorry), then the show fails. Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times writes that "Luck," like "Treme" (!) sacrifices excitement to "lofty intentions and a certain snobbery," by which she means the effort to create a rich and vibrant sense of place. If that's snobbery, then call me Thurston P. Howell III, because I enjoy the sense of being immersed in a new culture or subculture, and few shows do that well. As for users, we fall into two categories. Those literate enough to write reviews celebrate "Luck" and understand it much more deeply than the critics. Those who have strong opinions but don't express them in words are much less enthusiastic, putting "Luck" behind "Spartacus: Vengeance" in the user polls. I suspect that the critics and the numbers-only users are more alike than different and that, if Metacritic really wanted to offer viewers a useful index of quality, it would publish three numbers: the critics' average, the user-raters' average, and the user-reviewers' average. A long shot, I know. Anyway, "Luck" is superb, a smoldering masterpiece in which, like gamblers studying their environment for signs, viewers accept that their knowledge will always be partial because the underlying reality is mysterious and immense. That is why many of the characters are so circumspect, their acting so restrained, and it's a good--no, a great--thing. The opening credits tell viewers exactly what to expect and how to approach it, from the banked fire of Massive Attack's theme song to the subtle sequence of images: some partial, some barely focused, many deceptively simple. Pay attention. Be patient. Don't assume a fire is dead just because you don't see flame. Oh, and because everyone else is confessing, I DO love horse-racing and could handicap like a champ when I still had my baby fat. "Luck" doesn't get every detail of racing right, but it gets what matters, and it is one of a very few shows today that rise to the level of art. Full Review »
  3. Jan 30, 2012
    10
    Quirky, understated, and original, like nothing else I've seen in a while. I'd watch it just for the gorgeous shots of the horses (and I amQuirky, understated, and original, like nothing else I've seen in a while. I'd watch it just for the gorgeous shots of the horses (and I am not a horse-racing fan at all). This drew me in, in a big way. Full Review »