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Strange Luck Soul Survivor

In "Strange Luck, " Fox Broadcasting Co. programmers have come up with a nifty lead-in for "The X-Files." Whether it will click with viewers is anyone's guess, but pairing this slickly produced oddball hour with the web's paranormal Friday hit seems a smart bet. Dispatching Harper on an assignment, colleague Audrey Westin (Pamela Gidley) warns him, "Don't get sidetracked," a premonition of escapades to come.

In “Strange Luck, ” Fox Broadcasting Co. programmers have come up with a nifty lead-in for “The X-Files.” Whether it will click with viewers is anyone’s guess, but pairing this slickly produced oddball hour with the web’s paranormal Friday hit seems a smart bet. Dispatching Harper on an assignment, colleague Audrey Westin (Pamela Gidley) warns him, “Don’t get sidetracked,” a premonition of escapades to come.

The show’s drama turns on the unexpected fortunes — good, bad, inexplicable — of freelance photographer Chance Harper, played by D.B. Sweeney, whose run of “Strange Luck” began when he was the sole survivor of an airline crash that killed his parents and sister.

In less than 20 minutes, Harper wins the lottery, prevents a suicide and gets arrested — and it’s all absolutely plausible.

Creator and executive producer Karl Schaefer packs a lot into his script for the opening episode, and director David Carson delivers a potent hour, never letting interest flag. The real luck, of course, will be to sustain this pace week after week. Harper’s quest offers unlimited possibilities.

Sweeney brings just the right combination of spunk and charm to the boyishly quirky, tirelessly adventurous Harper, and Gidley cracks wry as his sometimes partner and onetime girlfriend. Frances Fisher also is on target as Angie, a worldly-wise waitress in whom Harper confides.

Like the atmospheric “X-Files,””Luck” is shot in Canada. Director of photography Victor Goss has achieved a rich, noirish style that is intriguingly colorful. Production designer Randy Ser likewise deserves kudos.

Other technical credits are equally superb, notably the seamless editing by Lance Luckey and understated, moody music by Mark Mothersbaugh.

With the dramatic momentum, onscreen talent and technical standards solidly established, it looks as if everything and nothing has been left to Chance.

Strange Luck Soul Survivor

Fri. (15), 8-9 p.m., Fox

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by MT2 Services Inc. in association with Unreality Inc. and distributed by New World Entertainment. Executive producer-creator, Karl Schaefer; supervising producer, John Peter Kousakis; executive in charge of production, Joe DeOliveira; producer, Douglas Burdinski; director, David Carson; writer, Schaefer.

Crew: Camera, Victor Goss; editor, Lance Luckey; production designer, Randy Ser; sound, Ed White; music, Mark Mothersbaugh. TX:Cast: D.B. Sweeney, Pamela Gidley, Cynthia Martells, Frances Fisher, Saxon Trainor, Art La Fleur, Christopher Darga, Todd Tesen, Richard Grove, Margaret Medina.

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