Monday, September 24, 2018

Pilot Review: Dead Lucky

Dead Lucky (Sundance Now)
Premiered September 20

It seems like the serialized short crime drama is booming right now, with the latest import, from Australian network SBS, premiering all four of its episodes on Sundance Now earlier this week. In many ways, it’s a standard show, one that deals with the return of a serial killer who makes a very particular mark on how he targets and takes people out, and he’s also killed cops, namely the partner of the dogged detective hot on his trail. His identity is known but his location and where he’ll strike next aren’t, make this a suspenseful and dark look at a killer stalking his unknowing prey. This series is notable for two reasons. The first is that it stars Rachel Griffiths, familiar to American TV audiences for her Emmy-nominated work on both “Six Feet Under” and “Brothers and Sisters.” I was much more a fan of the former than the latter, and it’s just jarring for me to hear Griffiths with her native Australian accent, which makes her seem even more hardened and unfriendly than she often comes across when (successfully) attempting an American dialect. She is good in this show, one that, as the second facet, stands out to me because it doesn’t feel like a show that needs to run only four episodes. I didn’t know that going into it, and it surprised me only because the pacing of this hour made it seem like we were setting up for the long haul. I’d credit that as a positive, one that demonstrates that this show is likely going to be capable of wrapping up its storylines but isn’t framing them in a way that necessitates a quick and contained run.

How will it work as a series? Griffiths’ Grace seems like a magnetic and angry enough central character that the story could continue long beyond that of her current nemesis, which could make this one-season arc eligible for a renewal to return to this storyline. This first hour was more than interesting enough – if it wasn’t the start of pilot season I’d probably stick with it to see how it turns out.
How long will it last? I can’t find anything on either ratings data or reviews, and so I’d imagine that this is going to be a one-shot deal just like all the others, though AMC distributing it internationally may be a positive if it’s seen more widely, and having Griffiths in the lead role gives it some credibility. A renewal is possible but unlikely given the tendency with these short-form series.

Pilot grade: B+

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