Well, that makes it two years in a row. Last year, FX chucked Damages, the striking Glenn Close suspense drama that was well received but never scored big in the ratings… at least that series will re-launch on the Dish Network. Unfortunately, the network’s Lights Out — a series in similar standing as that legal thriller (great show, crap ratings) suffered the same fate today and I highly doubt anyone will save it from extinction.
Lights Out seems to be a victim of the sport of boxing itself. Interest isn’t what it used to be when guys like Foreman or Tyson were around, and clearly that hurt the series. Unlike The Fighter, which could spark interest from its Hollywood heavyweight cast, the series could only stand on solid performances and good writing. The rock of the show was Holt McCallany whose deeply felt performance as local hero Patrick “Lights” Leary shouldn’t be ignored Emmy time. He played Leary as a flawed icon who, five years after retirement, was still trying to find himself out of the squared circle. While he never lost the passion to fight competitively, he became more or less at peace with his decision to hang up his gloves and devote time to his wife, three daughters and his dad/trainer (Stacy Keach). That is, until the IRS came knocking. In debt thanks to his bonehead brother Johnny (Pablo Schreiber in one of the most unlikable performances of the year), the boxer has to go back into the ring to fight off debt.
All of this, of course, came much to the chagrin of his wife Theresa (Catherine McCormack), who convinced him to quit in the first place. The show was a lot more than the description I provided above. Each episode packed some excitement and pathos for a sport that let’s face it no one arguably has cared about since Tyson took a bite out of Holyfield’s lobe. Had Lights Out come out in the 1990s or even early 2000s, I think it would’ve faired better.
Sadly, the show never found an audience. FX chose not to stick with it because its ratings were just dismal, but I wished they gave it more time to find an audience. The series could’ve gotten its sea legs with a DVD release or drawn more interest if a higher profile star joined the cast in season two. But it’s not to be. This feels like The Riches, another FX series, all over again. That Eddie Izzard/Minnie Driver gypsy drama was so damn good, but was never really given a chance either. The series and its star deserve better.
Step it up, HBO or TNT stat.
Hashtag “#savelightsout” on Twitter today and join my group to save the show.