WootFlix: Is "Lights Out" Worth Watching?

by Randall Cleveland

I'm not trying to brag here, but I've got a great job. I get paid to try to be funny (yes, we can argue about my success, but the point is they pay me to try) and I spend my day surfing the 'net for viral videos, links, and junk to talk about with you guys. I also spend most of the day with Netflix Instant running in the background to give me some much-appreciated background noise.

But once you've blown through all the "30 Rock" seasons and you've watched every episode of "Parks and Recreation" and the British "The Office," what the hell else is left? Maybe you don't even have a sweet gig like me where you can waste a day at work watching drivel; maybe you need help weeding through the crap to find out what's worth your time and what's not worth watching. That's where WootFlix comes in handy! You suggest a TV series or movie, I'll watch it and give you my opinion as to whether or not it's worth adding to your queue.

Because honestly, what the hell else am I gonna do?

This week's show: The FX drama "Lights Out."

What's the pitch? 
Over the hill retired boxing champ comes out of retirement partially to satisfy his competitive urge but mostly to stop his flailing descent into bankruptcy. If that sounds cliché, it's because it is. But it works here.

Who's in it?
Holt McCallany, Stacy Keach, and Catherine McCormack top the list.

So how is it?
Surprisingly good. FX knows how to make good TV ("The Shield," "The Riches," "Sons of Anarchy", "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") when they want to. McCallany's believable as Patrick "Lights" Leary, the retired champ, and also has enough range to play doting father to his three daughters and loving husband, although sometimes he does come off a little "stereotypical palooka."

If you're not into boxing, the show's got plenty of other subplots to wrap you up, from marital drama to Lights's onset of pugilistic dementia from taking so many fists to the brain to the characters coming to grips with the fact that boxing, their life's work, just isn't relevant any more. It does feel like it borrows from The Fighter a bit with a slimy, no account brother who always seems to screw things up. This isn't just Rocky the TV series, though. The characters are believable, even thinly-veiled Don King stand-in Barry K. Word, the crooked boxing promoter/puppet master played by Reg E. Cathey.

The biggest knock against I can make against it is it exists in a world where people still care about heavyweight fights and boxing champions walk the streets as celebrities. Maybe that still happens in places, but I've never been there. 

If you're looking for a quick series to keep you entertained (there was only one season before it was canceled), give it a try. I liked it enough to burn through the whole season in a couple days. And if you've got a suggestion for a show or movie on Netflix Instant you're thinking of watching or just want to hear my thoughts on, fire away in the comments! I'm not up to much anyway.