Luck: Season 1 (2011 - 2012)


Season 1
Luck

Critics Consensus

With its outstanding ensemble cast, immersive atmosphere, and terrific cinematography, Luck is a well-pedigreed series that takes its time but is ultimately absorbing.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 50

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 71

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Episodes

Air date: Dec 11, 2011

'Pilot.' (Series Premiere) Ace Bernstein plots his return after three years in prison; four racetrack junkies make a Pick Six bet. Ends 12/30

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Air date: Feb 5, 2012

Ace meets with his parole officer and starts to line up potential investors as a public face for his next big venture. Meanwhile, Renzo stumbles into a risky proposition by making claim on a horse trained by Escalante; Jerry takes a beating at a high-stakes poker table; and Walter finds a seasoned jockey for his prized thoroughbred, much to Rosie's dismay.

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Air date: Feb 12, 2012

'Episode 3.' (Season One) Ace enlists a cocky young whiz kid named Nathan Israel in his plans; Walter loses Ronnie as his rider. Ends 12/30

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Air date: Feb 19, 2012

Ace meets with Claire about a charitable endeavor for prisoners, and discusses his new venture with an old partner. Meanwhile, Jerry's gambling nemesis lures him into a dangerous game that may require an intervention by his racetrack buddies; and Walter turns to Rosie to be his new jockey.

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Air date: Feb 26, 2012

'Episode 5.' (Season One) Ace forces Escalante to swap out Leon for a more experienced jockey; Marcus fears for his health. Ends 12/30

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Air date: Mar 4, 2012

'Episode 6.' (Season One) Ace pitches his deal to buy a piece of the racetrack, while Smythe flips Israel into an informant. Ends 12/30

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Air date: Mar 11, 2012

'Episode 7.' (Season One) Ace and Claire tour a prison outreach horse farm; Jerry attempts to win his way into a poker tournament. Ends 12/30

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Air date: Mar 18, 2012

Ace reacts decisively to a new wrinkle in the racetrack deal, but it's probably not a move that Smythe will take lying down. Meanwhile, Walter tries to concentrate on the historic Western Derby, in which his horse will go head-to-head with Gus'; Rosie's good news isn't so great for Leon; and Jo is injured in a stable accident.

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Air date: Mar 25, 2012

In the series finale, Gus draws on past experience to deal with a present threat, and Ace is floored by a surprise visitor. Meanwhile, Walter's Gettin' Up Morning and Gus' Pint of Plain wow the crowd in the Western Derby; Mon Gateau's owners prepare for their biggest race so far; and Escalante checks in for frequent updates on Jo's condition.

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Luck: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

David Milch, who reinvented the horse opera with "Deadwood," continued his equine fascination in this drama set at California's Santa Anita Park, a monument to the sport of kings where trainers, jockeys, gamblers, criminals and others all have something at stake. Among them is Ace (Dustin Hoffman), a wealthy ex-con who wants to bring casino gambling to the track, where his right-hand man, Gus (Dennis Farina), owns a horse that's being trained by the mercurial Turo (John Ortiz). Another prominent stable figure is Walter (Nick Nolte), an old hand nurturing a colt with Kentucky bloodlines but faced with the choice of veteran Ronnie (Gary Stevens) or rookie Rosie (Kerry Condon) to ride him. Farther down the food chain are a quartet of inveterate bettors, including Jerry (Jason Gedrick), whose handicapping skills could be the difference between their prosperity or poverty. A second season was in the works, but HBO canceled the show after the death of three horses during production.

Critic Reviews for Luck Season 1

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (27)

Luck has massive amounts of verisimilitude but only occasionally comes to life.

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Despite its impressive bloodlines, Luck is a real plodder - a maddeningly deliberate series that stalls right out of the gate and never quite makes up lost ground.

Jun 12, 2018 | Full Review…

Listen closely and you'll hear the elegant approach of a machine built to refresh a myth about the goddess of fortune.

Jan 29, 2012 | Full Review…
Top Critic

You're in good company even when Luck can be a slow, bewildering ride.

Jan 29, 2012 | Full Review…

There's a good potential payoff on this race.

Jan 29, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Pretty good, yes; but great, no - or at least not great in that Sunday-night way HBO has led people to take for granted.

Jan 29, 2012 | Full Review…

I'm still more than a little lost at sea, but I've never been so entertained while being so very uncertain as to what I'm seeing.

Jun 13, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It seems that Luck may be an acquired taste, but it's one worth acquiring.

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

I guess I can't resist a character study after all even if I don't understand most of what's going on.

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

From the start, it's clear that the pairing of Mann and Milch is a match made in television heaven.

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

For much of this first season, the brilliance only comes through in flashes, but when it does, the promise of the show and what it could be is hard to ignore.

Jun 13, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Zippy, the plot is not, and the tangled web of characters could really benefit from a flow chart. But the one thing Mann and Milch do right was cast well and give their actors meaty dialogue to chew on.

Jun 12, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Luck: Season 1

  • Jul 09, 2019
    I love this worked at many big and small racetracks , I did the real work of food and beverage , also fun stories . Horses die everyday at race tracks , when they break a leg they are humanely put down immediately , why is PETA upset that a legal profession is unjust , as accidents happen . I hate only one season , great stories actors action
  • Apr 08, 2015
    Luck? Not for the horses murdered on set.
  • Jan 21, 2015
    Brilliant. HBO cancelled this masterwork because the hypocrites over at PETA complained about three horses dying while on set. Does HBO and PETA both know how many animals have to die to make film for most of these shows to be shot on? So by this loony logic, should HBO stop shooting TV shows and PETA protest every single television show and movie that is shot on film? Come on HBO, Milch gave us so many tremendous characters only for you to cancel the show over mystifying reasons? "Luck" should be seen, regardless, for its intricate and dense storytelling and characters, a good roster of directors, excellent soundtrack, a cast that had not one weak link, and plenty of the usual Milch trademarks spanning philosophy to history to a vile and intelligent worldview and so on.
  • Oct 10, 2014
    It was awesome until it lasted

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