Luck’s on SoHo’s Side Over Summer

Amid a slew of top new dramas, SoHo will launch HBO’s Luck barely two weeks after it goes to air in the US.

HBO provided subscribers a sneak peek of the high-profile horse-racing drama when it showed the pilot in December.

But it won’t resume the series until January 29, with SoHo picking it up from February 13 for its prestigious 8.30 Monday slot.

Already one reader has given the David (Deadwood) Milch-Michael (Heat) Mann collaboration two thumbs up but the Los Angeles Times warns it may be an even slower nag than Boardwalk Empire.

“All the big seeds are planted — love, power, self-destruction, betrayal, revenge, redemption — though planted so deep one can’t imagine them blooming anytime soon.

“Even the master of the multiple storyline, Charles Dickens, took pity on his readers and appointed a protagonist, but Milch and director Michael Mann steadfastly refuse.”

But the cast alone — Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Nick Nolte and Michael Gambon — will make Luck worth a punt.

SoHo also will roll out two other key dramas in February: Boss, which stars Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer in a dramatic turn-against-type as a ruthless Chicago mayor; and the BBC thriller, The Shadow Line.

The former will take over Weeds’ 9.30 Wednesday slot from February 1 and the latter will replace The Killing in the 8.30 Wednesday slot from the following week.

The Hollywood Reporter dubbed Boss “a wholly impressive new drama that comes out of the gate with gravitas, swagger, originality and intrigue” but the New York Times thought it “a smart look at political power brokers that gets silly on the subjects of sex and violence”.

While Boss wowed most critics, not so The Shadow Line. “Few recent series have divided opinions more than Hugo Blick’s The Shadow Line – BBC Two’s super-complex, super-stylised conspiracy thriller,” The Daily Telegraph reported.

“I’ve watched every episode, but an awful lot of viewers seem to have found it a turn-off. Over three million saw the first episode; a million of those switched off before the second; by the penultimate chapter it was down to 1.3m.

“That’s not great, especially for a series heralded as a flagship of the Beeb’s commitment to serious, ambitious new drama to match the best that is being produced in the US.”

About the police’s investigation of a crime boss’ murder, it stars Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), Chiwetel Ejiofor (American Gangster, Kinky Boots), Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, 28 Days Later), Rafe Spall (Anonymous, Shaun of the Dead) and Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, Top Boy).

The last of SoHo’s big-gun summer dramas is Strike Back: not the British series that’s aired on Prime (and is out on Blu-ray) but a similar-sounding action hour made for US cable channel Cinemax.

It stars Philip Winchester (Camelot, Fringe) and Sullivan Stapleton (Underbelly, Animal Kingdom) as globe-trotting, anti-terrorist agents.

Variety thought it “reduced everyone pretty much to geopolitical stereotypes” but the Wall Street Journal said it boasted “plenty of high-level suspense” and The Washington Post found it “surprisingly stylish and addictive”.

Strike Back will air 8.30 Tuesdays in Dexter’s slot from February 7.

New to SoHo this month are Hell on Wheels (from January 22), The Corner (which started last night), the British child abduction drama Five Days, which already has aired on free-to-air TV (from January 9), and season two of Treme (from January 19).

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