HBO cancels “Luck,” horses everywhere presumably rejoice  »

Gusmano Cesaretti/HBO

How many horses have to die before someone decides a project is a bad idea? 

Three, apparently. 

That’s how many perished during the filming of the first two seasons of Luck, a Nick Nolte/Dustin Hoffman HBO show. The show just premiered in January, but they’re working way ahead because TV is weird and crazy. The latest horse died on Tuesday, and to HBO’s credit, they decided enough was enough.

HBO says they were taking extra-good care of the horses but “accidents unfortunately happen.” PETA says “old, unfit and drugged horses were forced to race for this series.” The organization “is glad that HBO has finally decided to cancel the show.”

I pretty much adore HBO (Six Feet Under? True Blood? Heck yeah), so I’m glad they finally made a respectable choice here and I don’t have to be all conflicted inside. Fake death I’m all for. The real stuff? No good.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]


Get it together and stop killing horses, HBO’s “Luck”  »

HBO has a new show called Luck. It’s about horse-racing, a “sport” I understand has been losing popularity for decades and is probably still around because it, like dog-racing, is legal to bet on in states where gambling is only otherwise legal in Indian casinos. Which speaks very highly of it as a “sport,” right? Definitely you want to be in a place people frequent because of the opportunities to gamble while wearing enormous hats presents.

Luck is a show about a dying American pastime made even weirder by the vernacular specific to this pastime that, because it’s dying, very few viewers of the show understand. Have you read the internet during the past six weeks? Everyone who talks about television is all, “Oh Luck, the dialog is impenetrable and the actors are all individually and specifically creepy and threatening, and the last show its creator made was also a thematic mess, but he also did Deadwood and HBO means ‘Serious Television Business,’ so we’re going to pretend to love it! Horses!”

My first point is, you’re probably not watching Luck, and you shouldn’t, because it’s nonsense. If you are, though, you may have noticed that in place of the standard “No animals were harmed” notation in the credits, there’s a line that says “The American Humane Association Monitored the animal action.” That’s because animals were harmed during the filming of this television show, specifically two horses, which actually suffered such serious injuries they had to be euthanized. No, I don’t know why veterinary medicine hasn’t solved fatal horse injuries; it seems awfully 19th century to still be putting horses down when they break their legs, right?

HBO tells the New York Observer that yeah it was totally tragic that we got those horses killed, but after the second one died we “suspended production” to figure out how not to kill any more horses while filming our television show about this shitty sport that fucking wrecks horses specifically bred to be fucking wrecked and that no one except the people involved in their wrecking gives a fuck about—that is, they’ve “adopt[ed] additional protocols specifically for horse racing sequences” and they’re earning that AHA-trademarked “No animals were harmed” line that will appear in future episodes’ credits.

Sorry two horses had to die before you figured your shit out, HBO and the producers of Luck, but you’ve got David Milch and he’s a genius! And horse racing was once upon a time the sport of kings or whatever. So you’ve got that going for you.

[photo of (Brazilian!) horses by Eduardo Amorim via Flickr]


Watch out! True Blood will make you vegan!  »

If you read Steve’s post a little while back about animal rights in True Blood, then you are already aware of the show’s hidden vegan agenda—but wait! There’s more! Andrea Chalupa wrote at the Huffington Post yesterday that True Blood is making her want to be vegan. Turns out the flesh-ripping violence makes meat dinners kind of unappetizing:

Eating meat and watching True Blood doesn’t always sit well, so in the spirit of the conscientious Bill Compton, our Sundays have gone vegan, and no one is complaining.

She enlists the help of Happy Herbivore, one of my favorite, ever-cheerful twitterers, and learns to make vegan biscuit pot pie. Dude, holler at your girl and mail that to my house like yesterday because that sounds GOOD.

This is both awesome and hilarious. Chalupa says of vegan cooking, “It’s actually quite delicious and easy to cook,” and, “that after enough trials, you start to notice your taste for meat waning.” This I love because I feel the same way. Maybe when I first became vegetarian at a wee 18 years old, I did miss some meat. But I find the longer I don’t eat meat, the less I want to eat meat. Now I think meat is straight-up nasty. I had similar problems when I became vegan but I’ve already noticed that I find cheese a bit repulsive.

Another funny bit is that I just had this conversation the other day and Chalupa backs me up: Bill of True Blood is totally vegan—or at least he aspires to a vegan lifestyle. My friend was asking one of those omnivore questions a la, “if you were on a desert island…” but this time it was, “What if you’re a vampire and need blood to live?!” Those omnivores and their hypothetical questions! It never gets old. I told them that with the synthetic blood, vampires need not be murderers any more. And everyone lived happily ever after.

[cartoon by Megan Rascal!]


Hey check it out, animal rights concerns on the TV! Last night’s True Blood tackles dog fighting (and this may contain spoilers so stop reading now if you’re prone to blog commenter rage) and shows Sam breaking into a hick hideout to free caged dogs before they’re sent off to fight. While nearly everyone can get behind “dog fighting sucks” as an animal rights issue, it’s not very often you see the act of freeing caged animals depicted in a positive light. So, counts as progress for our side? I think it does!

If you don’t already follow True Blood, the pit bull in the fighting ring is the dog form of Sam’s shapeshifting younger brother, Tommy, who gets forced into dog fighting by his parents to make money. So this show isn’t just about vampires, butshapeshifters, telepaths, werewolves, and lots more to keep your inner (or in my case, outer) sci-fi/fantasy nerd entertained on Sunday nights. Get it in your DVR and watch back-to-back with your Mad Men addiction.


HBO presents Claire Danes with a mouthful of marbles as Temple Grandin: the lady who redesigned feedlots so as not to freak out the cows on their death march. Because she’s autistic and so she has a DEEP SPIRITUAL CONNECTION with animals that’s why she helped devise a better way to kill them, to quote a certain sarcastic Vegansaur.

This version of Ms. Grandin’s life story will air on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. on HBO. Anyone going to watch? Interested at all? I don’t know if I could stand two hours of Claire Danes stomping around doing that voice, plus cow-death. The trailer’s enough to make a person feel stabby.

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