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'Lucky Hank' review: No surprises with Bob Odenkirk's stellar performance in AMC school drama

If anyone should take a break after finishing the highly acclaimed Better Call Saul, it is Bob Odenkirk .

Odenkirk spent six seasons as an Emmy-winning show lead role, provided an Emmy-winning performance, and somehow found a place on Amazon

Undone in the method of starring as a star, being Mr. for one season. Show-adjacent W/Bob & David for Netflix, with a key supporting role in The Post and in Nobody a sure tough lead role, and adapting Various cameo guests turn around along the way. With all this happening, why the desire to be the cable version of David Boreanaz – no pause since 1997 TV broadcasts) – at the same time? Lucky Hank

Bottom Line Odenkirk is putting this in progress Put together the comedy in it.

Air date:
Sunday, March 9pm 18 (AMC)
Throwing: Bob Odenkirk, Mireille Enos, Sara Amini, Diedrich Bader, Suzanne Cryer, Olivia Scott Welch, and Cedric Yarbrough

creator:

Aaron Zelman and Paul Liberstein from Richard Russo’s book

Well, if Breaking Bad is Odenkirk’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Better Call Saul is his Angel as good as the original), AMC’s new one-hour comedy Lucky Hank might just be his Bones.

In Lucky Hank, Odenkirk is the first of its kind in a deep ensemble — more on that later — — in a series that may lack the top-down artistic commitment of his earlier shows, but has the requisite versatile engine

According to two comments sent to critics episode, it’s easy to see why Odenkirk was drawn to Hank Devereaux. It’s a good part, well adapted to Odenkirk’s strengths, without too much Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman trace, with the potential to evolve into something great. As for the series? Well, it’s trying to find a different identity than its Richard Russo source material. As of now, it’s mostly a work in progress, but it has enough potential to evolve into something good.

Lucky Hank probably changed it from Russo’s straight guy title, but it starts with the general shape of the novel. Hank is the chair of the English department at Railton College (fictionally representing the already fictional Western Pennsylvania University in the book). When he’s not dealing with various minor complaints from underperforming employees in his department or playing squash with his good friend Tony (Diedrich Bader, solid as ever), Hank is battling his own insecurities. His father is a titan of literary criticism, and Hank, who wrote a critically acclaimed book decades ago, is just getting started. He lacks sufficient motivation to teach his students, to adequately raise his 1997-daughter ( Olivia Scott Welch’s Julie) or rightly appreciates his wife’s gem of infinite tolerance (Mireille Enos’ Lily). Hank is so irritated with everyone and everything around him that if he was motivated enough to be a determined grump he would be a lot like Curb Your Enthusiasm in Larry David.

The series hasn’t really touched on the incendiary events in the books — fans who threaten to abuse waterfowl will have to be patient — so the series took its initial inspiration from a A class meltdown, in which Hank yells at the mediocrity of a pretentious and terrible writing student (Jackson Kelly’s Barto), quickly goes viral, both at the university and himself. This puts his position, and indeed the funding of the entire department, at risk.

Russo’s novel does a good job of anticipating the ongoing conversation in English departments across the country, and series creators Paul Lieberstein and Aaron Zelman deftly avoid putting Lucky Hank turns into some sort of generational lament about the quirks and entitlements of millennials or Gen Z; they generally shy away from the kind of “awakening” or “cancel culture” that many shows indulge in similar circumstances arouse. Maybe you have to have a certain academically inclined sense of humor to laugh at someone who insists that “my book on Jonathan Swift’s sonnets has become early feminist’s Benchmark Lucky Hank.

With central character Hank combining erudition and self-loathing, and embracing the story’s occasional antics, early directors Peter Farrelly actually downplays that in the book. It’s hard to write a character who doesn’t have enough drive to have the drive, and it’s bound to be even harder to play, but Odenkirk makes Hank a delightful, frustratingly frustrating ride. I’m sure some viewers will find Hank to be unsympathetic. And he, especially opposite Enos, radiates an equal amount of radiance and faux domesticity. Preserving Lily’s spine and autonomy, which is a struggle in the books, is one of the most important things the show needs to do going forward, and one of the things the show forgot to do in the second episode.

In the book, the point of view is entirely Hank’s, and if the supporting characters initially appear only as eccentric foils, it’s because Hank is so egotistically focused on his own The drama—the looming specter of his father’s legacy, the looming blockage of possible kidney stones, the multiple women he may fall platonicly in love with—he can’t see the humanity in anyone else. That’s a recipe for a great literary character, but not necessarily the protagonist of an ongoing series.

After the pilot with Hank as the fulcrum, the second episode felt like a change of course with an eye toward elongation. I understand and agree with the need to dimension the supporting cast, especially with a very strong ensemble of veterans including Cedric Yarborough, Suzanne Claire, and Oscar Nunes, to achieve the show’s long-term future. But the early substorylines handed off to those supporting characters are entirely generic, even sitcom-y. Every time the second episode leaves Hank and follows other characters, my focus wanes – a bad sign for an episode where I’ve already been distracted by a questionable decision , the decision to cast the admittedly and often terrific character actor Brian Heskey as real-life literary giant George Saunders Visits Riddon, rather than just casting Heskey as a Saunders-esque character.

While I like where the Hank/Sanders storyline finally progresses, and I think Cryer played the final beat of her plotline perfectly, the second The episode definitely doesn’t make me feel like the writers have cracked the Lucky Hank necessary extended quest to become seasons instead of two-hour movies. I do want to single out Shannon DeVido, who steals scenes in every department as a well-deserved Professor of Angry Films. The show needs to figure out how to get more scenes of Odenkirk and DeVido together.

As the humanities at colleges and universities across the country face an existential crisis, Lucky Hank is the perfect moment to show it — too Themed Sandra Oh Netflix series The Chair may be affected by being five minutes ahead of the zeitgeist. The show’s long-term settling is not up to Odenkirk, who immediately fits into another indelible role, but elevates everything around him to his level.

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