We got news yesterday that HBO would be temporarily suspending the use of horses in production on its horse show Luck‘s second season, after a third horse died on set. It was very sad, for sure, but if those horses didn’t want to die on the set of Luck they probably shouldn’t have gotten themselves agents and auditioned for the show and signed all those release forms. You can’t save everybody! But late last night we got the even sadder news that HBO was letting a few dead horses SPOIL THE SHOW FOR GOOD! (And very low ratings.) (So low that you think, “maybe they jumped the gun when they renewed it for a second season immediately, without actually seeing if anyone would be interested in a second season, and now they’re using this thing as a reason to cancel it when really they just wanted to do that anyway?) (But then you think, no I’m sure it’s just the horses). From The Wrap:

The show’s executive producers, David Milch and Michael Mann, made a joint decision with HBO to stop production.

“The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers,” Milch and Mann said. “This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”

“Safety is always of paramount concern,” HBO said. “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.”

Nonetheless, HBO said, “accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.”

Noooooooo! Haha. “Noooooooo!” said nobody. Except people who make glue I guess? Is that crude? Is it even factual? Do people make glue out of horses? WHY? Answer meeeeee! In any case, to help explain and deal with this tragedy, here is my guess at the conversation that led to the cancelation of Luck

Luck Executive #1: We had to put down another horse today.
Luck Executive #2: Oh no!
Luck Executive #1: I know. PETA is going to be so mad.
Luck Executive #2: God dangit.
Luck Executive #1: So what should we do about this?
Luck Executive #2: About what?
Luck Executive #1: The show. Horses keep dying, and that’s sad, not to mention how expensive it is to keep buying new horses.
Luck Executive #2: You’re right. Can we do the show without horses?
Luck Executive #1: I honestly don’t know. I don’t think so? I’m pretty sure the main focus of our show is horses. And racing them.
Luck Executive #2: Ugh, that’s so boring.
Luck Executive #1: I know.
Luck Executive #2: What a dumb show.
Luck Executive #1: I know!
Luck Executive #2: Why does anybody watch it?
Luck Executive #1: I don’t think anybody does.
Luck Executive #2: Oh. So do you want to just stop?
Luck Executive #1: Stop what? Doing the show?
Luck Executive #2: Yeah.
Luck Executive #1: Oh, I didn’t even think of that option. Yeah, I guess so? I don’t see why not.
Luck Executive #2: Cool.

The End

Comments (41)
  1. They should just have Serkis motion capture the horses.

  2. Do you think Dustin Hoffman will thank the dead horses when he accepts his obligatory Golden Globe next year?

  3. Their horses kept dying? Should have asked the producers of Sex in the City for advice

  4. They should switch the show from horse racing to dog racing. They’re like little horses!

  5. Looks like this show ran out of itself.

  6. I made it through one episode. It was bad. Bad Luck. (ugh, I know.)

    • Totally agree Kate, though it took me 3 episodes. Sadly. And I spend a lot of the time at the track actually, and I was kind of excited about a show about racing which also had a great cast. And one of the stars is actually a jockey who rides weekly at the Toronto track. I had lofty expectations.

      Boy though, there was just something about it. The dialogue was so forced…the characters were mostly dull. And Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina’s characters were the most boring of everyone. How is that even possible?

      • I was disappointed with Hoffman’s character too. I thought it was my lack of familiarity with racing lingo, but maybe that wasn’t it since you are very familiar with it and still found the dialog lacking. Oh well. Better luck next time. haha.

  7. My 5-year-old son uses “boring” in much the same way:

    Me: Please put on your pajamas and get ready for bed.
    Him: No. It’s so boring.

    He’s very mature for his age.

  8. Something something something good writers and cast but bad show something something something stringent safety protocols but boatloads of dead horses something something…
    Punchline: I guess this show should have been called Bad Luck.

    Nailed it.

  9. Looks like they weren’t the only Colts that died for Luck #spoooooortsgum

  10. “with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures…..” What the hell are they even talking about here??? What goes on at night in barns or pastures????

  11. They really couldn’t go on without this latest casualty; he was really the glue that held the show together.

  12. If only someone could wave a magic wand and make this all go away…

  13. hey Kelly, maybe you could write up a similar conversation about True Blood and send it over the HBO?

  14. I’m assuming the number of horse-deaths is specifically because of the horse racing element in the show, due to no reports of horses ever dying in other shows like Game of Thrones and Deadwood.

    So how many horses die in an average year of horse racing, and why don’t they make a Horse Racing Homicide show or something to shed light on it?

    “You said you like the horsey show!” -Tivo

  15. RIP horses but does anyone even want a second season of this show? Nobody I talk to likes it. The subject matter is just not interesting.

  16. This is not an original view, but I do believe that HBO renewed this show because it was a “brand enhancing show” (in fact @weinmanj wrote a blog post saying that exact same thing!). The show was pretty different and quite complex. The kind of show critics love. Judging by the reviews I’ve read, it was generally well received by TV critics. But when the horse deaths occur, outrage ensues and that certainly isn’t something that is going help HBO enhance their brand. Quite the opposite. And in this situation, when ratings on their own aren’t good enough to warrant a continuation, the decision to cancel is no surprise.

    I liked the show a great deal and from what I’ve gathered, the ninth episode shouldn’t make for a too abrupt end to the show. I’m just happy we got to see this much of “Luck” and I can’t wait to see what Milch comes up with next.

    • Yup, same as with Treme keeping a show by a David Milch or Simon adds to the prestige of the network even if a ton of people aren’t watching. But really HBO can make up for this dead horse business by raising Deadwood from the grave.

      • No can do, Timothy Olyphant is busy making magic on FX. Just give David Milch and Michael Mann a a chance to make a new show starring things less likely to die.

  17. On a related note, after this announcement there was a sudden spike in glue futures.

  18. Fake and neigh

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