Did you catch the premiere of the new HBO series “Luck“?

I did, and I’m amused to breathe in the vapor of Miami Vice in director Michael Mann’s newest series, along with the feast of gritty-and-oblique dialog that is David Milch’s hallmark (Deadwood).  My only problem is atmosphere overtaking unintelligible dialog.

Rant break:   I know I’m getting older, but I am so tired of films and TV shows in which actors mutter.  No doubt we have the best sound engineering we’ve ever had, but what is it with the whispering?  Is it because I have an ordinary television rather than a media system?  Is it because I can’t hear so well out of my left ear (and my Yankee-Irish horse whispering boyfriend can’t hear so well out of either ear)?  Are we the only two people with this problem?

Nick Nolte is one of my favorite actors and I’m hooked on his character in Luck.  Seedy with a heart.  I wonder if he sleeps in his shed row. (Interestingly, it’s said that Nick Nolte was considered for the role of Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice.  I’m so glad Mann didn’t try to even up the score by casting Don Johnson in Luck.)

A big surprise for me is Dustin Hoffman in a hard-edged role where he’s not a pathetic mega-misfit (although you can certainly argue with me, perhaps even successfully, on this point…maybe even more successfully as the show goes on).  It’s also great to see Dennis Farina again — I’ve been a fan since he starred in Michael Mann’s Crime Story.  What a fun show that was.  Just as satisfying for me is the panoply of lesser-known character actors.  Although I think the bug is a bit big to be a jockey at Santa Anita — how about you?

Santa Anita Park

Of course the other reason to tune in is the horses.  I love to see a great gallop. Watching the show, I’m reminded of the lives led by my off-the-track thoroughbreds, so pampered (two of them raced at Belmont and Hialeah) but so pitiless.  I’m also reminded of my parents, who made a living playing the races before I was born, and who told stories of the bookies and the backstretch.  Was it from them that I got the idea that a life without risk isn’t worth living?

I’ll be tuning in next week.