I take it I’m in the minority among people who have been watching from the beginning, but I feel “Lights Out” — which FX said today won’t be renewed for a second season — didn’t rise to heavyweight championship status.
I gave the show my attention over several weeks, but ultimately, I found lead actor Holt McCallany’s performance in this to be mostly bland, and I actually quit on “Lights” with about four episodes to go. It just didn’t feel like McCallany had many other gears besides stoic and earnest. He wasn’t without any subtlety or fire, but it really became a lot of effort to care about what happened to him, much less his wife and daughters, whose storylines never truly clicked.
There were some likable things about the show, but in some ways, the things I liked most were also problematic. Reg E. Cathey and recurring guest Eammon Walker infused “Lights” with electricity, but at the same time, I was very conscious of the acting being done. With Cathey’s over-the-top showmanship and Walker’s forced rasp, they weren’t exactly disappearing into their characters.
They’re obviously not the same show, but between this and FX’s other one-season wonder this season, “Terriers,” I just don’t think there’s any comparison. “Terriers” never failed to surprise and delight, while with “Lights,” I usually felt like I was in training for a big fight that in the end, I didn’t need.
All this being said, “Lights” was solid entertainment, better than almost every other network produces. FX has taken some blows this season, but I hope they don’t abandon their risk-taking mentality on character-based drama. I still believe it can find an audience again.