British drama has form for telling stories about people with super powers without breaking the budget. Sky One's latest contribution, called Stan Lee's Lucky Man, is a case in point.
James Nesbitt plays Detective Harry Clayton, a hard-boiled London based police detective with a failing marriage and a gambling problem. After one particularly epic bender, he wakes up next to a mysterious lady who has attached a magical bracelet on his wrist. This piece of occult jewellery apparently grants the wearer the power of incredible luck, though karma will always seek a balance. Of course, this is mostly done through extended co-incidence rather than too many special effects, which is not only neat, but also clever.
As you may be able to tell from the title, the premise for the show came from comic book legend Stan Lee, but don't get too excited, this isn’t a Marvel-esque show. It’s basically a British cop drama with the special twiddle being that Clayton can pull off some of the most amazing stunts and feats of coincidence. The cast is excellent; Eve Best is the ex-wife, Omid Djalili the shady underworld contact and Amara Karan as his cleverer and more competent partner DS Chohan. The other star of this show is the city of London itself, which is shot in a loving yet gritty style throughout the series.
The arc plot is the usual convoluted cop-show nonsense. Harry’s gambling debts have placed him under suspicion from friends and allies, and as the story unfolds, Harry clearly becomes the super-cop that no one trusts, with both criminal and legal conspiracies arrayed against him. Nesbitt is superb throughout, though he does come close to chewing the scenery on occasion.
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man is pretty much what we expect from a creative team that includes Stan Lee - glossy, silly and with plenty of over-wrought and over-done clichés that somehow still seem to work. Season One is stretched a little thin in places, which makes it sag a little in the middle, but the scenes that involve the incredible coincidences, that Harry’s luck power evokes, really work and really sell the drama. A superior sort of cop show for fans of genre weirdness.
STAN LEE’S LUCKY MAN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTORS: ANDY DE EMMONY, DAVID CAFFREY, BRIAN KELLY, JON EAST / SCREENPLAY: NEIL BISWAS, BEN SCHIFFER, RACHEL ANTHONY, JAMES ALLEN, ALAN WESTAWAY, STEPHEN GALLAGHER, / STARRING: JAMES NESBITT, EVE BEST, OMID DJALILI, AMARA KARAN, STEPHEN HAGAN, SIENNA GUILLORY / RELEASE DATE: 5TH SEPTEMEBER