TV Review - Lights Out ("Pilot")

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Airs: Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX
Genre: Sports drama
The Set-Up: Patrick "Lights" Leary (Hoyt McCallany) is a former heavyweight champion boxer, whose wife (Catherine McCormack) made him hang up the gloves five years ago.  Now, faced with a failing economy and no real job prospects, Lights tries to maintain his relevance in a world that no longer needs him.  With his shady brother (The Wire's Pablo Schreiber) and Dad (Stacy Keach) still in his corner, Lights finds himself on the verge of a comeback when he's challenged for a rematch by a former opponent.
The Good: McCallany is a familiar screen presence but he gets a real chance to shine here, and he's perfectly cast as a washed-up boxer.  Some of the gigs that Lights takes on have a bleakly comedic appeal - a highlight of the pilot is Lights misreading a Bingo number at a fundraiser.  The family dynamics between Lights and his brother and father should prove fertile ground for weekly drama - not unlike The Fighter, which is currently in theaters.  Everybody loves an underdog sports story.
The Bad: Catherine McCormack's accent - is she British? American? - is too distracting.  Also, her character rings false and is currently underwritten.  If she's so against boxing, then why marry a boxer?  The pilot is fairly low-key and lacks a big hook, but the preview for upcoming episodes showed promise.
The Verdict: This is another solid drama from FX.  Lights is a great character and it'll be interesting to chart his journey back to the ring.  Based on the pilot alone, I'm giving this one *** out of 5 stars, but that rating could easily jump up depending on how the season progresses.

Filed under: Reviews, TV

Tags: boxing, FX, Lights Out, reviews, television, TV

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