The luck of the Ir­ish

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 4 April 2016 | 15 | DVD

Cre­ators Stan Lee, Neil Biswas

Cast James Nes­bitt, Amara Khan,

Si­enna Guil­lory, Steven Mack­in­tosh

“Who­ever wears the bracelet is en­dowed with im­mense luck,” some­body tells po­lice de­tec­tive Harry ( James Nes­bitt), as he strug­gles to fig­ure out why he can’t get the bloody thing off his wrist – it hav­ing ap­peared there the morn­ing af­ter a one- night stand. His re­sponse? Pretty much what most peo­ple would say, and with a pleas­ingly blunt turn of phrase: “Well, that’s shite.”

But is it? Harry, a com­pul­sive gam­bler, soon starts to no­tice he’s win­ning big, and can take ridicu­lous risks dur­ing po­lice chases. Be­fore long he’s walk­ing across a mo­tor­way dodg­ing cars go­ing at full speed, or jump­ing off build­ings with­out a thought for his per­sonal safety, all be­cause his bracelet is wran­gling the odds of the uni­verse to help him sur­vive. All very handy when you’re try­ing to solve a mur­der case and the bad guys are try­ing to stop you.

There’s noth­ing par­tic­u­larly orig­i­nal about any of this, of course: ’ 90s se­ries Strange Luck also had a preter­nat­u­rally lucky lead char­ac­ter, for in­stance. But Lucky Man not only has Stan Lee’s name at­tached to bring in the view­ers, it also has the charm­ing Nes­bitt as its star and Amara Khan as his part­ner, Suri, who man­ages to be a su­perb, well- rounded fe­male char­ac­ter. For the first half of the se­ries, watch­ing th­ese two work­ing to­gether is a de­light... but then comes the se­cond half, where it all starts to un­ravel.

As the net starts to close in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and Harry finds him­self a tar­get, not only does all the fun leach out of the show but all the wit and in­tel­li­gence, too, un­til it be­comes lit­tle more than a stan­dard prime­time drama which for huge chunks of the time seems to for­get it has su­per­nat­u­ral el­e­ments. With­out the witty back- and- forth be­tween Harry and Suri, and with the plot be­com­ing eas­ier to fig­ure out with each minute – the rev­e­la­tion of the Big Bad wouldn’t even sur­prise your cat – it feels as though the writ­ing team just ran out of steam.

How­ever, de­spite this, Lucky Man is still worth a watch. It’s beau­ti­fully shot, mak­ing Lon­don look very glam­orous; the sup­port­ing cast is su­perb; the idea that Harry ends up mak­ing some­body suf­fer ev­ery time he uses the bracelet is morally in­trigu­ing – al­though per­haps not played out as well as it could have been – and then there’s Nes­bitt. It’s a joy to see an ac­tor so tal­ented given such a meaty role, and you can see his eyes twin­kling with de­light in al­most ev­ery scene. Def­i­nitely a lucky man.

Ex­tras A Mak­ing Of and three fur­ther short fea­turettes ( 24 min­utes). Jayne Nelson

Nat­u­rally, there’s a Stan Lee cameo: in episode one – Harry walks past For­bid­den Planet and Stan’s in­side sign­ing au­to­graphs.

The Chan­cel­lor was de­ter­mined to get to the Bud­get on time.

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