Network dramas so often feel derivative, typically just new ways of packaging stories about cops or doctors. So it's always refreshing when something different comes along. Still, cops and doctors are popular for a reason. Endless streams of new crimes and new patients make for lots of drama and a continuous set of new stories. Without that, series can wander in search of a story. Such is true with Lucky 7, an ensemble drama about a group of co-workers who win their office lottery pool.
Set at the the Gold Star Gas N' Shop in Astoria, Lucky 7 is populated with a diverse group of characters that have one thing in common: They could all use a bit of financial help. The gas station is run by Bob (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), who's learned that the business' owner may sell to a national chain in a move that could put him and his employees out of a job. Bob's right-hand man is Matt (Matt Long), who has recently had to move his pregnant wife Mary (Christine Evangelista) and their son back into his mother's house, a move that he's concerned may ruin his relationship. Matt's brother, Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), is a reformed ex-convict who works in Gold Star's garage and is sweet on teller Samira (Summer Bishil), whose parents are trying to get her to arrange her marriage to a doctor. Denise (Lorraine Bruce) is struggling to lose weight in an effort to rekindle her relationship with her husband, who's clearly already stepping out on their marriage. Single mother Leanne (Anastasia Phillips) is struggling to provide for her daughter while keeping a positive attitude. And garage manager Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) is doing his best to give his wife Biance (Alex Castillo) everything she wants.
With a humongous ensemble, Lucky 7 fails to make any of its characters particularly memorable or interesting. Aside from the revelation of the lottery win, much of the opening episode is dedicated to Matt's struggle to acquire a chunk of money that will allow him to secure an apartment so that he can move his family out of his mother's house. The lengths that he goes to in his efforts to obtain the money are so drastic and foolish that it saps the character of any redeeming value. The various personal problems of the Gold Star employees are touched on so briefly that they carry little weight and don't help flesh out the thinly drawn ensemble.
The opening moments of Lucky 7 give a brief taste of what's to come in the lives a few of Gold Star's employees, but aside from the lottery win very little happens in the pilot. It's difficult to get a picture of what kind of show this will be going forward. There are hints at an attempt to explore how hitting the jackpot will alter the seemingly concrete relationships between the tight-knit employees, but since they're so poorly defined at the start, it's hard to get invested in how this big event will change them. While its ambitions at telling the story of a diverse group of people getting lifted out of poverty are impressive, the execution ends up being little more than a bore.