Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Strange Luck: The Complete Series

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Strange Luck: The Complete Series - 1 out of 5

About a year ago, while watching the finale season of 24 I noticed that actor D.B. Sweeney was among the cast and I was suddenly reminded of his short lived Fox series Strange Luck that aired for one season from 1995 to 1996. The only thing I remembered about the show was the fact that I watched the first episode, didn't really think of it one way
or another and moved on. So, after being reminded of the show and discovering it only ran for 17 episodes, I thought I would give the series a shot again. However, there was no DVD release of it but I remembered that my father had recorded the episodes on some VHS tapes, so I went on a little scavenger hunt in my father's old belongings and found the tapes among other tapes that had The X-Files on them. With tapes in hand, I dusted off the VHS player (at least I didn't have to track down a Beta-Max player and my apologies to any young reader who don't know what a VHS or Beta-Max is--it's ancient technology), I popped one tape in, watched the first episode and was mildly entertained. I moved on to the next episode and when it completed, I decided I needed a break from watching more. So, a year later, I finally finished all the episodes...and, as you probably guessed from my rating and the fact it took nearly a year to watch all 17 episodes, I wasn't that impressed with the show.

Strange Luck's premise actually has loads of promise. The story is centered around a freelance journalist photographer who has--well, strange luck. He always seems to be in the wrong place at the right time. Now, as a photographer, this would seem like GREAT luck but you can't have a drama without the drama. So, the entire series follows the hardships this luck brings all the while he tries to figure out the mystery of his past--oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this cameraman was a sole survivor of a plane crash when he was just a wee widdle boy.

If written properly this show could have been definitely great. However, right off the bat, the show seems to dare you to laugh and not take the show seriously as they name the man character Chance Harper. CHANCE?!? I haven't facepalmed this hard since I saw Avatar and they named the precious but difficultly acquired mineral unobtainium. Okay, but I tried to move past that lame gag but when the acting is weak, characters and the show lack consistency and your whole show is built upon a premise that is otherwise a plot device and has the makings for a legion of people with attention-deficit disorder filling up forums about how the twist and turns keep them glued to their seats better than Ritalin it becomes increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief and get into the show.

There isn't a single actor in this show that really delivers in a memorable way. Most of the time, actors come off like
they are auditioning way too early for the stock of crap kid shows that Disney now pumps out...in case you have had the fortune of never seeing shit like The Suite Life or Hannah Montana, every actor on this show is over-acting their faces off. But I guess this becomes a necessary evil because the characters aren't one dimensional, they're downright schizophrenic. For example, Chance Harper (really Chance?) in one episode will be dark and brooding but the next he will be a stunted man-child who comes off like he has a mild case of mental retardation. Sometimes he tries to be a superhero and other times he comes off as a lazy bum. Now this could be the fault of the actor but the series itself lacks consistency. Some episodes try to be The X-Files and government conspiracies and supernatural shit is the name of the game but the next episode will try to be a lame comedy. Other times it tries to be a soap opera...and sometimes it tries to combine them all into one episode and becomes the worst tasting smoothie of TV viewing I've ever sat through...and I once watched 2 minutes of Jersey Shore. I blacked out after the two minutes and woke up in a puddle of vomit but I tried.

However, the show's biggest downfall comes in the fact they can't quite master their own premise--that's right, the premise itself lacks consistency. At times, Harper's (I won't call him Chance again...Seriously, the writers named him Chance?), his luck will help him, other times it hurts him and sometimes it helps others--there's even an episode where his luck jumps from him to a friend of his. So, in the end, his supposed "luck" comes off as random events and
are only connected because the writers made it that way. If Harper (CHANCE?!?) was a real person and we saw aspects of his life outside the stories we see in these 17 episodes, his luck wouldn't seem that strange. He would seem like a normal guy who sometimes has good things happen to him and sometimes ends up eating shit. That's life. But had the writers sat down and figured out a real plan for Harper's luck (CHANCE?!? WHY?!?) maybe make a diagram of it, this show could have been interesting but as the series continues, the story starts to spiral out of control. I'm not kidding but Chance (ug) becomes an object of interest by government employees as they want to...*sigh*...bottle his luck and it seems they orchestrated the plane crash that Chance (I'm no longer going to comment on that name) survived. Was this out-of-control-rocket of a story in response to the falling ratings and a grasping attempt to win viewers of The X-Files? I would say yes because they even name drop Fox Mulder in the show but, alas, it wasn't enough as falling ratings caused the show to be canceled and the show left on a cliffhanger. However, with the series being what it was (not good), I really don't care about what happened to...Chance...or the mystery behind his random events--or as the show called it; luck.

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