This felt all too familiar. Some 6 or so months ago, I sat here at my desk and typed pleas to the internet community to watch Terriers. I was met with: ‘that new FX show about the dogs?‘. No one could quite figure out the marketing campaign, and that hurt the show. But unlike the networks, our favorite cable station FX let Terriers play out despite the abysmal ratings, instead of canceling it mid-season. I credit FX with giving it a chance, even if they didn’t re-new it. And they’ve just done the same thing again.
Tuesday marked the end of the season, and series for the boxing show Lights Out. They obviously had learned from Terriers. The marketing was clear and concise, and the ratings showed it. Though still not good, Lights Out gave the advertising department a chance to sell commercial time a lot easier than they did with Terriers. And while FX played the entire 13-Episode season, the low ratings forced them to cancel the show before the last episode even was even aired.
Light’s Out wasn’t as good as Terriers, but it still had its loyal fan base. And the American TV viewer once-again punished FX for trying something new. Despite an excellent track record with shows like The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, and Justifed, FX still isn’t considered amongst the likes of Showtime or HBO. People seem to ignore the channel, choosing instead to watch the mindless drivel being produced by CBS.
You’ve failed me America. Sorry, I’m ranting again. Let’s get to the show.
Lights Out chronicled life after boxing for former Heavyweight Champ Patrick ‘Lights Out’ Leary. Five years removed from the ring, living in the ‘burbs with his wife and 3 daughters, he finds out he is bankrupt. His younger brother and business manager has made some bad investments and put the Champ in a bad spot. So, he is forced into attempting a comeback.
From here we are introduced to the seedy underbelly, and political aspect of the boxing world. Making a comeback is about more than just getting in shape, it’s about greasing the right wheels to make the fight happen. Patrick is forced to deal with Barry K. Word (apparently based on Don King), the promoter who makes the sport run. Patrick is tied to him because of Johnny, his brother, who was forced to make promises to Word to secure a fight for another boxer in their gym.
From here we see Patrick’s struggle for a comeback slowly tear apart his life. Involvements with the mob, arrests, and public scandals all mar the impending rematch with the man he lost his title to 5 years ago – ‘Death Row Reynolds’.
I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you who are waiting for DVD, so I wont get into the plot much, but I can attest to production quality and cast. Visually it’s what you’ve come to expect from FX original programming. And the cast, while not filled with as many big names as some other shows, it excellently rounded.
Our protagonist is played by Holt McCallany. If you don;t recognize his name, you may recognize his face. He has working fairly steadily since the late 1980s. He appeared in Alien 3, Fight Club, and more recently The Losers. On the show he is trained by his father, and probably the actor with the most name recognition on the cast – Stacy Keach. You might recognize him from American History X or as the father on the short-lived sitcom Titus, which he credits with helping reboot his career. But Keach is no stranger to the fictional boxing world either, as he played a boxer opposite Jeff Bridges in the 1972, critically acclaimed film Fat City. His wife is played strongly by Braveheart alum Catherine McCormack. As for the rest of the principle characters, they are well cast, but not stage stealing, and make for a believable family. His brother Johnny chief among them.
There were also s couple of actors who I’m a big fan of, that made appearances though the course of the season. The first was David Morse, who adds to an already impressive resume that includes movies like 12 Monkeys, The Rock, The Green Mile, and Drive Angry. He plays a retired boxer who is struggling with brain damage and possibly foreshadows a future that Patrick could share. The other is Eamonn Walker who fans of Oz should remember as Kareem Said. Walker is, in my opinion an extremely under rated actor, and pulls off quite convincingly the role of ‘Ed Romeo’ – Ex-Trainer of ‘Death Row’ Reynolds.
The show had really seemed to hit it’s stride as the season went on, and feedback from all around seemed positive. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep it on the air. The season however, much like Terriers, ended in a way where they could’ve gone on, but also we don’t feel cheated. It was a good episode arc of a story.
Enjoy it for what it was if you watched and check it out on DVD if you didn’t. I just hope this doesn’t stop FX from going out on a limb and giving shows like these a chance.
Images: Columbia Pictures, HBO, MTV, FX