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'Luck' on HBO - Page 8

post #211 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

The loss of any sort of life is tragic, relatively speaking, for people to get all up in arms over the loss of 3 horses over an 18 month period is ridiculous in my opinion, and these horses were probably treated a hell of a lot better during their life than most of those other 125,000.

First of all, they're not mutually exclusive. One can be unhappy about the loss of the horses on the show and racing industry.

Second, the absolute numbers of injuries aren't useful without knowing the percentages/per capita. To compare three injuries versus "thousands" tells little unless you know how many horses are involved. If Luck used three horses and all three horses died, that's a 100% fatality rate. That would be a terrible statistic regardless of how small that number is. Yes, it's true the horse deaths on Luck have garnered a lot of attention - things that involves television and well-known actors tend to do that. But a very good, legitimate reason for the attention is that, while animal injuries in racing may be commonplace, it's highly unusual on a television set.

Third, what's the relevance of the number of injuries in the racing industry to the question of animal safety on a TV set? If you're trying to figure out if there are too many car accidents on the 405 freeway in LA, you don't use the accident rate in Formula 1 races as a benchmark. As best as you can, you try to compare like-to-like which, in the case of Luck, means other TV and movie productions that used horses. Two recent examples are the movies War Horse and Secretariat. Neither of them had a single death or injury. There was a show called Wildfire a couple years ago that ran on ABC Family for four seasons/52 episodes that involved horse racing. How many injuries on that set?

Finally, it's misleading to describe Luck's production as having taken place over an "18 month period." While that may have been the entire span of the production from beginning to end, it's not particularly useful to the question of whether the fatality rate for animals on set was unusually high. Luck didn't shoot every day during that entire period and even when they did shoot, they didn't shoot every day with the horses. The relevant data would be to know how many shooting days there were with horses. It's hardly a surprise that no horses died on set during those days when they shot Dustin Hoffman's scenes with Nick Nolte.

I get why, if you're a fan of the show or horse racing, you might be upset at this abrupt cancellation or think three horse deaths isn't a big deal. But it's unfair to say three horse deaths on set is acceptable because horses die all the time in racing. Two different worlds, two different levels of tolerance. And it's got nothing to do with PETA. Long before PETA existed, TV and movies have had standards and practices that set zero animals injuries not only as the goal but the norm.
post #212 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlee View Post

those days when they shot Dustin Hoffman's scenes with Nick Nolte.

How much of this show have you actually watched?
post #213 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph View Post

How much of this show have you actually watched?

Not many . But I think you get my point.
post #214 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlee View Post

Not many . But I think you get my point.

Each episode is shot individually, one at a time. So every episode has horses, a race, etc. Typically, these series require 1-2 weeks to film an episode. Thus 9 episodes could require 18 weeks of filming at the track, maybe more when you add breaks and pre-production activity. All of that time includes handling horses.
post #215 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlee View Post

Not many . But I think you get my point.

I'm just messing with you - I'm not certain Hoffman and Nolte have had a scene together this season - although it appears they will soon, judging from the 'upcoming scenes' teasers.
post #216 of 263
from the HOTPT


Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Some thoughts on the 'Luck' cancellation
Equine tragedy got in the way of David Milch's dream project about horse racing
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Mar. 14, 2012

I've known David Milch for almost 16 years, and I have never seen him more animated or excited than the day we met, when at the tail end of an interview about "NYPD Blue," he smiled and said, "You should come to the track with me." I was a 22-year-old newspaper intern; he was the Emmy-winning creator of my favorite TV show. I went to the track. And over the course of an afternoon, Milch regaled me and "NYPD" writer David Mills with stories about a lifetime of watching horse racing. He even offered to cut us in on his winnings if a horse he had bet on came in; I was still new at the newspaper thing and trying to figure out the ethical implications when the horse did me a favor and finished out of the money. Mills and I occasionally talked about that day in the years that followed, and Mills was convinced that one day, when Milch had amassed enough credit in the TV business, he was going to spend it by combining his two passions to make a drama about life at the track.

So "Luck" as an idea has been in my consciousness for a very long time, which is why I'm having trouble processing the news that HBO has canceled the series after a third horse died during filming, early in production of the second season.

An HBO statement said that, "Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won't in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision."

Milch and director/producer Michael Mann added, "The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future."

The show was in the middle of filming the second episode of season two when the cancellation decision was made. There are no plans at present to show the footage from that or the season two premiere. I've seen the first season finale, which will air on March 25, and it brings the season to a close well enough. "Luck" has, in general, not been a very plot-driven series, but more about the atmosphere and characters lurking around the Santa Anita track. There is no conclusion to the revenge plot involving Dustin Hoffman's character, paroled wiseguy Ace Bernstein, but it at least reaches a natural stopping point, while the arcs for a number of the other characters particularly the four degenerate gamblers (played by Jason Gedrick, Kevin Dunn, Ritchie Coster and Ian Hart) who have turned into the heart of the series feel like they've concluded well enough.

This is the third series in a row Milch has done for HBO, and the third to end more abruptly than he had planned. "Deadwood" was canceled after the third season (out of a planned four) for financial reasons, with Milch playing the good soldier and playing along with the story that he was really eager to move on to the metaphysical surfing drama "John from Cincinnati." (Though I continue to argue to this day that the final "Deadwood" episode actually works better as a series finale than planned, or than it works as a finale to the third season. Milch wrote an ending without realizing it.) "John" was a mess, creatively and financially, and HBO pulled the plug after only one season.

"Luck," though, seemed in better shape. The ratings had been poor (averaging about 500,000 viewers for each Sunday premiere), despite a big marketing campaign and the presence of Hoffman and Nick Nolte in the cast, but many of the reviews (my own included) were strong, HBO had already renewed it for that second season, and Milch and Mann's working arrangement (where Mann was the final authority and Milch didn't get to do his usual last-second rewrites) made it a more under-control production than "Deadwood" or "John" had been. Even with the low ratings, it was easy to see "Luck" running a while, particularly if Hoffman and/or Nolte started picking up Emmys.

Then one horse died. And another. And then another. And given that this project was being made by people with a deep, deep passion for horses, at a certain point, they had to say that their art simply wasn't worth the cost of these animals' lives.

I've already seen some suggestions on Twitter that HBO wouldn't have canceled the show if its ratings were bigger that if a show with an audience the size of "True Blood" saw three animals die during production, they'd have found an excuse to keep going. I'd like to think the moral calculus wouldn't be that cynical, but we don't know. All we know is what happened here, and while I'm sad Milch won't get to keep telling this story(*), I can't object to the decision that was made.

(*) When I interviewed Milch and Mann before the season, I asked Milch one question at the end about where season two might go, one that I kept out of the published interview transcript, but that I'll try to include in my review of what's now the series finale.

Milch is an improviser by nature. On his other series, he would come up with new dialogue right up until the cameras were ready to roll (and sometimes after). When HBO rejected his pitch to do a show about a couple of cops in ancient Rome because they already had a Rome show in development, he reconfigured it into "Deadwood." He's fond of repeating the old saying that, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

It feels like Milch had been planning his whole life to do this show. And he got to do it for a season.

Then God laughed.

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-al...k-cancellation
post #217 of 263
^^^Damn Sepinwall. There's no crying on the AVS Forum! But I have to admit that column got me a little misty-eyed.
post #218 of 263
Not to beat a dead horse (yes, I said it...), but here's this from the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/la-et-0317-cr...,5140585.story
post #219 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce73 View Post

Not to beat a dead horse (yes, I said it...), but here's this from the LA Times:

Our boy Larry (LL3HD) already got that one in a couple days ago in the HOTP thread. Honestly, it was too easy.
post #220 of 263
No kidding. I'm almost ashamed of myself.
post #221 of 263
Was reading another article from Fox news that states the Santa Anita track was trying to pull out of participating in the series because they didn't like how racing was being portrayed. So there may be some truth to rumors that there were more issues in play than we know, and the latest horse injury may have just been the excuse being spun by HBO. One thing for certain is that the truth will never be known, and where HBO is concerned it's always about money first. Killing the show now gives HBO the political edge and allows the animal rights groups to claim victory, stops the lawsuits, etc.
post #222 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Each episode is shot individually, one at a time. So every episode has horses, a race, etc. Typically, these series require 1-2 weeks to film an episode. Thus 9 episodes could require 18 weeks of filming at the track, maybe more when you add breaks and pre-production activity. All of that time includes handling horses.

That's not always true.

It depends on a couple factors:

- How much horse action is first unit verses second unit. If a good portion of it is second unit, often scenes for several episodes will be shot since it's easier to bring in animals and trainers for a couple of back to back days verses a day or two every couple of weeks as each episode is shot.

- How much location shooting involves the horses, verses a paddock set on a backlot, studio or movie ranch. It's expensive to go back to a location every episode, so you shoot as much cover as you can each time you do it so you can reduce the amount of footage (and production time) you need each visit. This means, while episode 1 might have 3 days of location shooting, episode 8 might get away with a single day by combining new footage with previously shot cover.

To give you an example of how this might work, take "NYPD Blue" verses "Southland" as an example:

For NYPD Blue, most of the shooting took place in studio or on the Fox backlot in California. However, there would be wider establishing shots taken on location in NY.

Those location shots were almost exclusively done with a B-unit, roughly twice a year with a few occasional A-unit shots done as needed with the actors when a specific landmark needs to be in the background.

For Southland, much of the shooting is on location with the A-Unit for outdoor shots with standing sets for frequently used interiors in studio. The locations change each week, meaning there's little recycling of footage.

In this case, the bulk of the B-unit stuff is likely composed of background plates for dialog-heavy driving shots.
post #223 of 263
A little disappointed by lack of violence from Ace
He brought his inner Ran Man to this show

Interested in seeing how they wrap up next week
post #224 of 263
so why can't HBO show the first two episodes from season 2?
post #225 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm145 View Post

A little disappointed by lack of violence from Ace
He brought his inner Ran Man to this show

Interested in seeing how they wrap up next week

For some reason, my DVR didn't record it last night, and it's not scheduled for next Sunday either. I thought maybe HBO pulled it from the schedule altogether. Did a new episode air last night? Maybe I accidentally deleted the series recording from my DVR.

Doug
post #226 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by dougotte View Post

For some reason, my DVR didn't record it last night, and it's not scheduled for next Sunday either. I thought maybe HBO pulled it from the schedule altogether. Did a new episode air last night? Maybe I accidentally deleted the series recording from my DVR.

Doug

yes it was new and sunday will be season/series finale
my dvr has it lit up (cablevsion/sa8300)
post #227 of 263
With last week's news of the show's cancellation, last night I found myself not even interested in watching a show I normally can't wait to see. I may watch these last 2 episodes next week, but it definitely has dropped from very near the top of the watch list down to somewhere in the "maybe, maybe not" range.
post #228 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

I think, in part, its because it's a TV show, which generally means its not real, where measures are taken to protect the safety of animals and you rarely hear of them being killed.

Its sad and unfortunate how many horses are killed in the racing industry, but because it's a business with a lot of money involved, a lot of powerful money, its allowed to slide. I suspect if the public knew those figures there would be more of an outcry than there is. I know I had no idea. Hopefully, out of tragedy comes enlightenment.

Good point. But I am skeptical with the American public. They'll let outrageous crap happen, not even complain, and then they'll get worked up over an "issue" that isn't even worthy. HBO canceling Luck is probably them figuring the show wasn't doing anything extraordinary in ratings and all, and given these horses having died, continuation of the series wasn't worth any further troubles.
post #229 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthJersey View Post

so why can't HBO show the first two episodes from season 2?

Why would they do that?
post #230 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

With last week's news of the show's cancellation, last night I found myself not even interested in watching a show I normally can't wait to see. I may watch these last 2 episodes next week, but it definitely has dropped from very near the top of the watch list down to somewhere in the "maybe, maybe not" range.

Boy, I know what you mean. I felt like I was at a wake. That scene where Nolte was going on about the horse being killed was so heavy with irony (and not in a entertaining way), it was hard to keep my mind on the story.

With all the talent that's associated with this show, the whole thing really is tragic.
post #231 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce73 View Post

Why would they do that?

they spent money to produce the two episodes, so why not make it available to watch. Either on HBO Go, HBO itself or on dvd/bluray set
post #232 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthJersey View Post

they spent money to produce the two episodes, so why not make it available to watch. Either on HBO Go, HBO itself or on dvd/bluray set

They shot the first two episodes. How do we know they'll finish producing them? That's got to be quite an expense for very little return.

Doug
post #233 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by dougotte View Post

They shot the first two episodes. How do we know they'll finish producing them? That's got to be quite an expense for very little return.

Doug

We'll be "lucky" if we ever see the 1st season on BD/DVD. There's no point in producing 2 episodes of S-2, it'll just leave more unanswered questions.

I'm afraid we'll never see a resolution to Ace's big scam as it is.
post #234 of 263
Here's a great interview with Milch and Mann about the death of Luck:

http://www.vulture.com/2012/03/micha...cellation.html

Quote:


Could you respond to accusations by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups that the horses used on Luck were too unhealthy, or too old to have been subjected to the rigors of weekly TV production? That they were sometimes pushed too hard, or that they were doped up to make it through production and hit deadlines?

Mann: It’s not true. We adhered strictly to [American Humane Association] guidelines. The horses we selected were thoroughbreds who were slow and sturdy, meaning that if they were too fast, then they weren't were right for us. And if these horses who were probably — David can speak to this better than I can — who were a little beyond their racing life … A lot of these horses, by the way, if they weren’t being cared for by us, the way they were being cared for would [have been] rather poor.
Milch: Just to pursue this a little bit, I was embarrassed for PETA when I read some of their statements, [of ] the savage ignorance of the realities of what we were doing ... They talked about 5-year olds being too old to race. A 5-year-old is in the absolute prime of his racing life! They [said] that the horses were found to have been medicated at necropsy [Editor's note: an autopsy performed on an animal]. Well, of course they were [found to have been] medicated at necropsy. They’d been medicated in the aftermath of being injured! This was beyond irresponsibility, the distortion that took place in order to make those accusations.

David, you’re a longtime racing aficionado and a horse owner, and Michael, I know you used horses during the production of The Last of the Mohicans. How have you both responded to news articles and editorials suggesting that it’s not worth risking the lives of horses to make art — or for that matter, that racing itself is cruel and ought to be banned?

Mann: I don’t want to speak to whether racing is cruel or not or ought to be banned. There was a good piece in the New York Times that seemed accurate. The Huffington Post had something on March 17 that was fairly accurate. There’s been a lot of press things in the last day or two about seventeen horses dying at Aqueduct since the beginning of this year. By the way, we had 2,500 horse runs on our show, and when we say [we shot] a "race," we run that horse for about a quarter of the track. Then that horse must rest for 25 minutes. This is the mandated call that we adhere to. And then a horse could run another quarter and then he’s done for the day. We had one horse who broke down, of the 2,500 horse runs. He had cooled down to a light gallop or a canter and threw a shoe*, and the shoe hit the horse behind him in the chest, causing him to stumble and then roll over. And then we tried for about an hour and a half to rouse that horse until we realized that the horse had broken his shoulder. That’s not to say that three horses dying is just part of the reality of making of a show. Three horses dying is three horses too many. David, do you wanna answer that?
Milch: I would just say that you’re coming up against certain deep, fundamental biological truths: that any living thing is subject to the laws of mortality, and that there was nothing that was done with any of these horses that was unnatural, nothing that was other than what they had evolved to do. [In claiming otherwise], there’s a kind of moral and emotional fastidiousness that is entailed, which at a certain point becomes absurd. Organic matter depends upon the appropriation and consumption of other organic matter. There are just truths that obtain whether we find them pleasant or not. The kind of flinching from any form of art or experience that PETA seems to advocate is ultimately life-hating.
post #235 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Here's a great interview with Milch and Mann about the death of Luck:

http://www.vulture.com/2012/03/micha...cellation.html

Thanks!
This interview just reinforces the argument that PETA stinks! They have a malicious agenda hidden behind the facade of animal care. What a load. If I owned a "Huggy Bear" fur I'd seek them out just begging for a spray paint confrontation. Their intestinal gas would be a glowing florescent mist. Man I can't stand their TACTICS.

This part of the interview gets me the most upset:

Mann: There are some accusations that were made about the care of the horses, as David said, [that are] irresponsible, wholesale fabrications. The people who were involved in the care of these horses, the trainers and everybody, are devastated by accusations as well as [by] the cancellation. We have a lot of working men and women who are not called "Hollywood," whatever that means. They're carpenters, they're camera assistants, they're prop men, they're nice folks, they're good hardworking people who loved the show, loved being on the show, [were] thrilled to be part of the crew, loved the horses, and were absolutely heartbroken at each one of these events, and heartbroken at the show having to be canceled, and are undergoing hardship, and some of them are on the street. And that's really where a lot of our attention has gone.

I wish the folks who get all high and mighty about the unfortunate but random accidental death of three horses had some sympathy for the people affected. I'd like to see how they would react if their jobs, or source of income were taken away.
post #236 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Here's a great interview with Milch and Mann about the death of Luck:

http://www.vulture.com/2012/03/micha...cellation.html

Great read, thanks for posting.
post #237 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Great read, thanks for posting.

x2 Milch is wonderful to read, whether in an interview or his written stories. He is an artist with words.
post #238 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by LL3HD View Post

This interview just reinforces the argument that PETA stinks! They have a malicious agenda hidden behind the facade of animal care. What a load. If I owned a "Huggy Bear" fur I'd seek them out just begging for a spray paint confrontation. Their intestinal gas would be a glowing florescent mist. Man I can't stand their TACTICS.

Well, at least you all found your scapegoat.
post #239 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph View Post

x2 Milch is wonderful to read, whether in an interview or his written stories. He is an artist with words.

He also has a deadly accurate BS detector.
post #240 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by gruven42 View Post

Well, at least you all found your scapegoat.

If anything, the interview illustrates that PETA was fairly well ignored in all of this, not taken seriously at all. Their own assertions to the contrary, they had no effect. (as is usual)
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