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Strange Luck

In "Strange Luck," Fox Broad-casting 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 smartbet.

With:
Cast: D.B. Sweeney, Pamela Gidley, Cynthia Martells, Frances Fisher, Saxon Trainor, Art La Fleur, Christopher Darga, Todd Tesen, Richard Grove, Margaret Medina.

In “Strange Luck,” Fox Broad-casting 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 smartbet.

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 airliner crash that killed his parents and sister.

Dispatching Harper on an assignment, colleague Audrey Westin (Pamela Gidley) warns him, “Don’t get sidetracked,” a premonition of escapades to come.

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

Creator-executive producer Karl Shaefer 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 will be to sustain this pace week after week. Shaefer has launched Harper on a quest that 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 sometime partner and onetime girlfriend. Frances Fisher is also on-target as Angie, a worldly-wise waitress in whom Harper confides.

Like the atmospheric “X-Files,” “Luck” is shot in Canada (although the blue polychrome art deco building seen briefly in this episode is in downtown Los Angeles), and the show has amazing visual texture. Cinematographer Victor Goss has achieved a rich, noirish style. Production designer Randy Ser likewise deserves kudos for the show’s look.

Other tech credits are equally superb, notably Lance Luckey’s seamless editing and the 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

(FOX, FRI. SEPT. 15; 8 p.m.)

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.

Cast: 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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