Luck was one of those sorry cable television series on HBO — from David Milch and Michael Mann — that looks good on paper, but in execution and airing, the drama and the ideals of the show failed.  Yesterday, HBO mercy killed Luck — but blame for the extermination was placed on the deaths of three horses who died during filming instead of the real reason:  The show had lousy ratings despite its mega-star power and HBO renewed it for a second season much too early.

PETA were rightly out for Luck blood from the start:

Even before filming on Luck started, PETA contacted David Milch, Michael Mann, and others associated with the production to suggest ways to protect horses, including the use of stock racing footage instead of using live animals. After the first two horses died—and the producers began stonewalling—PETA revealed the deaths publicly and obtained information from whistleblowers as well as necropsy reports from the racing board, which led to the disclosure that older, arthritic horses had been used in dangerous (and deadly) racing sequences and that the horses appeared not to have been provided with adequate protection. Beyond keeping the horses’ plight in the public eye, PETA has also pressed law enforcement to investigate the deaths of the horses used on the set and to bring charges as appropriate.

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to the whistleblowers who refused to let these horses’ deaths go unnoticed. If Milch, Mann, and HBO ever decide to start the series up again, PETA will again be calling on them to use stock footage, rather than putting horses’ lives at risk.

The cruel myopia of the Luck crew reminds me of those nasty asthma television ads where the goldfish are tortured out of their water bowls to make an odd point about “human compassion” —

If feel their treatment of the fish was fair — why not make a new PSA by placing a plastic dry cleaning bag over a child’s head until the kid turns a gasping blue — oh, wait… that would be cruel.

Are Luck and any worse than those horrible GEICO spots where the parents eat the pet of their teenage daughter for lunch?

Is it a silly notion to feel repulsed by such parents who would sink so low for a bite of fish that they’d betray their daughter’s trust and steal her goldfish and eat it and then lie about it directly to her face?

No wonder the USA is in a deep and irrevocable moral abyss.  Children can’t trust their parents.  Parents are less moral than their offspring.  We laugh at despair and vileness and we are outraged when political parodies claim to be offended as non-serious thinkers.

I tell you we are on a dangerous downward path into the abyss that offers zero redemption. We treat our animals as we wish to treat our neighbors. I’ve quoted him before, and I’ll quote him again now: Leo Tolstoy — an avowed vegetarian — said over a hundred years ago, “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will always be war.”

I will update that human truth with this modern nugget: “As long as there are horses available for shooting, and goldfish alive for suffocating, and pets nearby for the snacking, we’ll always have television.”


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