Named For: "One Wedding and a Funeral" (Beverly Hills 90210, 610)
Awarded To: The best drama episode of the season
2010 Winner: "Broken" (House, 601-602)
2011 Winner: "Always" (Friday Night Lights, 513)
10. "Nora" (Parenthood, 305) 1 point
4th by Jack
9. "A League of Their Owen" (Men of a Certain Age, 209) 1 point
5th by Me
8. "Do Whatcha Wanna" (Treme, 211) 5 points
2nd by Jaydon
7. "Far Away Places" (Mad Men, 506) 7 points
1st by Jaydon
6. "Danny Boy" (One Tree Hill, 911) 7 points
1st by Jack, 3rd by Me
5. "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" (One Tree Hill, 910) 7 points
3rd by Jack, 1st by Me
4. "The Reckoning" (The Vampire Diaries, 305) 8 points
1st by Matt, 4th by Me
3. "Two Prize Colts Go Head to Head" (Luck, 109) 10 points
2nd by Cecil, Larry, and Bonz
2. "Twenty Vicodin" (House, 801) 13 points
1st by Cecil, Rizzo, Larry, and Mags
and the Poolie goes to...
1. "Pilot" (Luck, 101) 17 points
1st by Tyson, T-time, and Bonz, 2nd by Me
In its lone season Luck tallied two nominations and one win for the best episode in a drama series. Here to talk about the magnificence of Luck's first episode is Poolie voter T-time.
The pilot was directed by Michael Mann and unsurprisingly, it looked to be film quality. The shots are exquisite. For an hour that was spent mostly in one location, the variety and brilliance of the camera work is astounding. The hills and palms that surround the Santa Anita Racetrack are ever-present. They are not just beautiful, they also ensure you never forget the southern California setting and of course, that’s the point. The setting of Luck is a track. It could be any track in the country, but to the characters that it brings together, it is the track.
Then there are the horses. Oh God, the horses. The footage of the striving horses in the pilot is among the best athletic competitions ever captured on film. The camera angles and choreography during the races is fantastic, they would be dramatically compelling even without a back story to give us a horse or jockey to root for.
But of course, they do this quickly. While we may be intrigued by the plot that Dustin Hoffman’s Ace is setting up, it is the story of the degenerate gamblers that drives the plot of the first episode. We were introduced early to the gentlemen who would later form Foray Stables and by the end of the hour we were already invested in the results of their pick-six play. When the bet paid off so did the drama.
The Luck Pilot introduced us to a variety of characters in a short amount of time but thanks to their mutual relation to the Santa Anita racetrack, it was not hard to imagine how the paths of jockeys, trainers, agents and gamblers would soon cross.
David Milch might have been denied a second season for Luck, and the first may have left a lot unsaid, but with the pilot we knew all we needed about the potential of the series.
by Tim Forcella