What is it about FX that the network keeps coming up with such innovative programming? The network’s first attempts at drama produced The Shield, Rescue Me, and Damages.

More recent dramas have included Justified, Sons of Anarchy, and Terriers. Sure, some of the series may not be dominant in the ratings, but few people can argue the quality of the series.

Chalk Lights Out as another win for the network, at least in terms of quality. Hearkening back to some of the earlier FX dramas, Lights Out doesn’t deliver a lot of witty dialogue, but it does give some hard-hitting drama.

The story follows Patrick “Lights Out” Leary (Holt McCallany), a former heavyweight boxing champ who has spent the past five years after losing his title as a stay-at-home dad for his wife and three daughters. Because he lost the title in a controversial decision and his wife Theresa (Catherine McCormack) forced him to quit, he’s tinkered a bit with the idea of coming back, but seems satisfied with where his life is.

Unfortunately, his brother Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) has squandered his fortune and the Learys can no longer afford their luxurious lifestyle. Patrick can barely keep his father’s (Stacy Keach) gym afloat.

Much in the style of Breaking Bad, we see Patrick, a basically decent guy, start to compromise his values in the name of keeping his family together. He starts doing small jobs for a local mobster (Bill Irwin) and other things to avoid getting back to the ring, now that he’s 40 and well past his prime. But the fates conspire to get him to face his rival ’Death Row’ Reynolds (Billy Brown) once more.

Even if you aren’t a boxing fan, Lights Out should be an appealing series much in the same way you can enjoy Friday Night Lights without liking football. While the characters seem somewhat familiar, as do the situations, to other boxing dramas, Lights Out never becomes trite.

So far, it’s been the best new offering of the winter.

Lights Out premiered last week on FX. New episodes air Tuesday nights on FX.

4 Purple Pencils


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