Queens, NY, 2013. At a local salt-of-the-earth neighborhood convenience store and gas station, the titular Lucky 7, several employees are about to have their lives changed forever. Each week, all of the starring players anted up for a shared lottery ticket. True to their store’s name, the group wins the lottery in the Pilot episode, and the series was planned to unfold their tale. The very first scene is shot in media res, and depicts employee Matt Korzak on the run from some very unsavory gang members. As he escapes, money flies behind him, taking the viewer back to the past, before the employees’ lives became as complicated and difficult as millions of dollars in lottery winnings can surely make them.
Although only two episodes of the series aired, the Pilot and subsequent episode were still able to effectively set up the lives and plights of its players. The show was based on a format from the UK, The Syndicate, and much like The Office and other North American transplants before it, the hope must have been for a show with cross-continental appeal. Keeping with this hope for broad popularity, the series depicted a vast array of characters across various social strata.
Matt, the everyman of the show, has a family at home depending on him, and must navigate his family members’ unscrupulous ties to local criminals.
Samira, an employee trying to keep her head down and please her parents, finds herself in an uncomfortable love triangle and spotlight.
Denise, in contrast, lives a simple life and is largely unaffected by the winnings. She uses the money as a vehicle to nicer clothing to impress her philandering husband, unaware of his transgressions as he cruelly texts his mistress literally behind his wife’s back.
Luis Antonio Ramos, now on the acclaimed series Power, wrenches viewers with his laid back response to a tragedy borne of awkward carefulness: despite chipping in to the lottery pool for years, the one week he chooses not to is the week that, ironically, the group wins their millions. He’s subsequently voted out by a majority of his fellow employees, and his quiet struggle to better his family’s life despite being cut out of any share of the winnings promised to be one of the more compelling aspects of the series.
Lucky 7 Actors
With a vast stable of popular character actors, Lucky 7 does not boast any household names per se, but does offer up a variety of talented and ethnically diverse cast members. Chief among these, and the arguable lead of the show, is Matt Long, best known for his chief role as Jack in the short-lived but critically beloved WB series Jack & Bobby, which also starred a young Logan Lerman. Long has also received critical acclaim and attention for a stint in the AMC series Mad Men. The owner of the gas station is played by the venerable Isaiah Whitlock, Jr., best known for his portrayal of Senator Clay Davis on HBO’s The Wire. Although his role in Lucky 7 is in stark contrast to his performance on that previous series, it is likely the cause of his starring role here.
With a vast array of actors, it’s difficult to discern who exactly stands out from the ensemble as a featured player, but one notable actress must be Lorraine Bruce, reprising her role from the original British series, The Syndicate. In the American version, she pulls off an American accent with aplomb and provides a unique counterbalance to the rest of the cast, as an ordinary person struggling not with gangsters or break-ins but with issues that are more mundane. She steals the show in most of the scenes in which she appears, primarily because of her amiable presence as a sounding board for her co-workers and the heart-wrenching realization that despite her attempts to lead a healthy and happy life, her husband is seeing another woman for purely vapid reasons. One of the most disappointing aspects of Lucky 7’s early cancellation is the lingering concern for the character of Denise and the fact that her story arc will never reach a deserved resolution in which she might attain truer happiness.
Lucky 7 Cancellation
Despite its impressive creative pedigree and acting talent at its proverbial helm, the show was cancelled as the first casualty of the 2013 – 2014 network broadcast season. It had earned a mere 1.3 rating in the key 18 – 49 years of age demographic, and much like other brilliant but swiftly cancelled shows before it, such as Kyle Killen’s Lone Star a couple of years prior, the show was met with a quick fate after only two episodes of the series had aired. The viewership fell off considerably between the first and second episode, from 4.43 million viewers to 2.62 million viewers, which likely cemented the network executives’ decision to halt the series’ run far earlier than the typical 6 – 13 episodes that are extended to a series.
Although to watch Lucky 7 online was a feature available through ABC.com for much of the 2013 – 2014 network TV broadcast season, the episodes were pulled from the site by the end of said season. Unlike other recent cancelled series such as Kidnapped or Awake, the network did not make subsequent unaired episodes available for free, likely due to a finding that such a practice was not worth the minimal web revenue such episodes would bring in. As such, much like its spiritual predecessor Six Degrees, the show’s fans will be left to wonder how the characters’ predicaments could be satisfyingly resolved.