"Lucky 7" Cancelled, Because The Stupid

From EW comes news of the first cancellation of the latest TV season's new shows, "Lucky 7", about a group of co-workers who win a $45-million dollar lottery.  It was cancelled after only two episodes airing.

Predicting the cancellation was a pretty easy call.  I didn't watch either of the episodes, but from the promo ads I saw, the show made a fatal error in concept: It showed a bunch of ordinary schmoes having a truckload of money dropped in their laps, and their lives didn't get any better.  And got worse and more complicated, even.  (It looked from one promo that one of the characters was in trouble with a bunch of gang members even before the winning draw.)

The great appeal of Powerball, Mega Millions, and the other lottery games out there is this: We all believe, or at very least want to believe, that if we get a truckload of money dropped in our lap, our lives will get better.  The basic premise of "Lucky 7" (and of a very similar show, "Windfall", some years back, also cancelled quickly), that winning a lottery will make our lives complicated, painful and dangerous, is... I think this is an appropriate word... blasphemous.

The middle-class, the disadvantaged, the working poor, the people who actually buy the vast majority of real-life lottery tickets, don't want to see that story.  They don't want to see people like themselves screwing it up when good fortune strikes.  That's a lousy story from the git-go.  It's a horrible story to tell anyone.

(What we seem to like a lot better are stories of the rich and powerful and privileged whose lives are complicated, painful, and dangerous.  This is particularly evident in reality television, prime example probably being the "Real Housewives of..." shows.)

If I was going to try and do a show about a lottery winner, I'd make it about someone whose own life not only gets better, but who uses their winnings to try and make other people's lives better.  (Something like the 1950's TV series The Millionaire, although the benefactor in that series was an eccentric millionaire rather than a lottery winner.)  Because that's one of the other fantasies real lottery players have, that we'll not only be a lucky winner, we'll be a good winner.

(Disclosure: I buy occasional lottery tickets, though I usually wait until the jackpots are in the 9-figure range.)

No comments: