“Viva Laughlin”: Casino royale

I know I’m supposed to dislike “Viva Laughlin,” since that’s the popular opinion that’s been spreading around town for a couple of months.Viva

And those who don’t think it’s very good can make a compelling argument — the singing seems awfully out of place, the characters are one-dimensional, the dead body makes it feel too much like a procedural and then there’s Melanie Griffith (and that’s all I say on that) — but it has one huge ace up its sleeve.

Its got gambling at its core. I don’t know, maybe it’s the start of football season and winning parlays dancing around in my head, but there’s always room on my TV for series that focus on a roll of the dice or turn of the cards. And that these shows take place in casinos … even better.

NBC’s “Las Vegas” is nothing more than a showcase of beautiful women and handsome guys strutting around a casino, and the show’s been on the air since 2003. “CSI” takes place in Vegas…. and it’s been one of the most popular shows for years. ‘Nuf said.

The singing didn’t bother me either, only because I like the tunes they played in the pilot. Now, if the music turns into the top 10 at KIIS-FM, I’m a goner.

Hopefully, exec producer Hugh Jackman will appear in more episodes than not, since he brings a certain panache as the bad guy casino owner trying to monopolize the local gambling business.

For now, all things considered, I’m on board. Lets talk in November, though, after a few weeks have passed and see if “Viva” has crapped out.

— Stuart Levine

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