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FX's 'Lights Out': Another Great New Show to Start the New Year Correctly
January 11, 2011  | By David Bianculli

Today on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, I'm previewing the engrossing new FX series Lights Out, which you can read and hear about about 4 p.m. ET by clicking HERE. It's a show about a heavyweight boxer, but it's really a show about a family man pulled in several directions at once, a guy faced with several unattractive options for his future, and a man who isn't sure where his money went, or how to get more of it.

In other words, it's a fairly universal story...


Holt McCallany, in a defining role, stars as aging boxer Patrick "Lights" Leary, who walked away from the sport, at the behest of his wife (Catherine McCormack), after a brutal loss. For five years, he's been a loyal househusband, living off his heavyweight title purse and providing his spouse and daughters with the good things in life. He carries new boxing gloves in his trunk, to sign as an instant get-out-of-trouble-free card -- but his cruise-control approach to life after boxing changes suddenly when his ex-boxer brother, now his business manager, admits that the money is gone. Their father, who runs the local boxing gym paid for by Patrick, has no idea, and Patrick doesn't want to tell him.

That's just the start of this new series, created by Warren Leight, who wrote the wonderful play Side Man. Before long, Patrick considers doing things for money that he once would have refused, and gets involved with shady promoters and shadier mob types. For Patrick, the road to redemption may mean mounting a comeback in the ring -- but are his father (Stacy Keach) and brother (Pablo Schreiber) in his corner, literally? And even if they are, does Patrick want them there?

I've seen the entire 13-episode first season of this series, and it gets better, more intense and less predictable with each hour. TV WORTH WATCHING viewers are likely to recognize several of the cracklingly good supporting players -- he's from The Wire! He's from Oz! -- but one thing you'll recognize, for certain, is how captivating Lights Out quickly becomes.

After seeing one full season, I already want a rematch.




wilberfan said:

I put great stock in your recommendations, so I will definitely watch "Lights Out"--but I must say I'm a tad leery after your enthusiastic recommendations for "Episodes" and (especially) "Shameless" were waaaaay off the mark!

I was a bit underwhelmed with "Episodes"--the jokes felt a little 'tired' and predictable too often, but "Shameless" rated a "turn-it-off-after-25-minutes" around here. As a friend put it,

"I didn't care about the characters in "shameless". During the first half of the show, they were trying way too hard to be irreverent. And I kept waiting for Macy's scenes! He finally had a good scene about halfway through. The second half of the show was better ... But I doubt if I'll watch if again."


We still love you, David, but let's be a little more careful, shall we? ;-)

[I'm fine with a less than overwhelming reaction to "Shameless," but please stick with "Episodes." It builds beautifully, and is wonderful. -- DB]

Comment posted on January 11, 2011 1:02 PM

Sean Dougherty said:

Thanks for mentioning the original Lights Out to open your post. It shows proper respect for dramatic radio in your television blog.

Comment posted on January 11, 2011 3:34 PM

jan said:

Been watching this from the get go...following the Terry Gross interview. I'm totally impressed with the script...almost all of the players. Love the squealing surprises and hate waiting a whole week for the next one. But I've decided it def adds to the drama...encourages thought - which of the issues sailing around the writers are gonna pounce on or smack us w/new ones. I'm hoping it doesn't go too far down the mob route - but heh...I'll wait n see. Excellent drama and def TV worth watching.

[Jan -- Thanks for writing, and for your enthusiasm about Lights Out. I definitely agree... and please, if you can accept this future style tip without taking umbrage, notice that I didn't say "I def agree." TV WORTH WATCHING may be one of the last sanctuaries on the web for complete sentences and non-abbreviated words. Thus is my hope, at any rate. - DB]

Comment posted on March 16, 2011 11:03 AM

Andrew said:

It's too bad this show's already been cancelled. I'm always on the go and don't actually have much time to watch much TV, but Lights Out looked interesting and I wanted to watch it. Luckily being a DISH Network employee and subscriber I have access to the TV everywhere service, which allows me to watch any of my programming on my iPad anywhere I can get a decent WiFi signal. So for the last few days I've been catching up on this show and it seemed like it had a lot of potential.

Comment posted on March 29, 2011 9:33 AM
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