By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Adult-oriented horse drama is heavy on language and sex.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
As portrayed on the show, the world of horse racing is gritty and generally fueled by greed, deception, and get-rich schemes. It's also overwhelmingly male -- and pretty coarse.
Positive Role Models
A few characters have positive motives (including a female horse exerciser and a veterinarian), but the main characters are gamblers and swindlers who are obsessed with betting and pulling in big profits. Much of what they do bends the law or is explicitly illegal.
Violence & Scariness
Heated arguing, etc. Some accidents involving horses and riders.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual innuendo, etc., with occasional nudity, simulated sex acts, and crass sexual talk (including phrases like ("f--k my t-tties").
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Frequent use of unbleeped language including "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "prick," "bitch," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, occasionally to excess. Some characters smoke cigarettes or cigars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this adult-oriented drama is full of foul language, including "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t," and strong -- though not constant -- sexual content, including nudity and simulated sex acts. Role models are generally negative, and greed and dishonestly are major themes. There's also some social drinking and smoking.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Director Michael Mann and David Milch, creator of Deadwood, chronicle the complicated world of professional horse racing in LUCK, a character-driven drama about the intersecting lives of bookies, jockeys, agents, owners, and other key players on the scene. The star-studded ensemble cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, Richard Kind, and Jill Hennessy.
Is It Any Good?
Luck may be the operative word when it comes to this carefully paced pay-cable drama that asks an awful lot of its audience -- as in, if you don't know much about horse racing, good luck trying to follow it. Zippy, the plot is not, and the tangled web of characters could really benefit from a flow chart. But the one thing Mann and Milch do right was cast well and give their actors meaty dialogue to chew on.
While the show's horses might not get top billing, they're as much a part of the action as anyone, and the show makes a point to give them well-deserved camera time with some startlingly beautiful shots. The result is a love letter to a fascinating world, albeit one full of vices and flaws, that you may want to get to know better but might never fully understand.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the show's presence on pay cable allows it to push the envelope when it comes to language and sexual content. What would the show look like if it were to air on network television?
Are the show's writers deliberately pushing the envelope when it comes to language and sex, or are the characters merely written as a reflection of the way real people behave?
How accurately do you think the show portrays the world of professional horse racing? What are the real-life consequences of these characters' actions? What's the difference between legal and illegal gambling?
- Premiere date: December 11, 2011
- Cast: Dennis Farina, Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte
- Network: HBO
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Horses and Farm Animals
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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