Luck producers David Milch and Michael Mann have told Vulture‘s Matt Zoller Seitz that they cancelled the show after the third horse died because they knew that the karma of three dead horses was fatal. “Three horses is three too many, and when this third one went, you felt sort of the resounding sense of, you know, ‘This can’t work,'” Mann says. “It’s like trying to negotiate with gravity. Because of the media attention as well as the fact of it, it just becomes an impossibility.”
But the fact that the show wasn’t drawing enough of an audience made it easier to pull the plug, I’m sure.
There two reasons why Luck‘s audience wasn’t all that sizable. One, it featured too many grizzled guys in their 60s and 70s. A hit show has to costar at least one or two guys in their 30s or 40s (i.e., an age for having children). Too many shots of white hair and white beards and turkey necks and creased leathery skin and pot bellies and raspy voices, and people tune out. And two, that opening credits tune (“Splitting The Atom” by Massive Attack) started to drive me up the wall after the third or fourth viewing. I heard it a couple of weeks ago and said to myself, “Fuck…I’m getting sick of his song!” So that’s what happened, I think. Tens of thousands of people had the same reaction. The song was too hip for the room.