TV: Fall TV reviews: “Lucky 7,” “The Goldbergs” and “Mom” offer varying levels of quality

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From the September 19, 2013 edition

Here’s another round of reviews for a few of the more interesting series premiering in the next week. Sadly, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was not made available for review by ABC otherwise it’d be here.

“Lucky 7”

While “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is ABC’s big release, “Lucky 7” could sneakily be a hit drama. Or, it could all fall apart quickly.

The premise is simply a group of gas station employees who’ve been religiously playing the lotto finally win and split the millions. The real crux of the drama comes out of the various complications each employee has in their personal lives.

Matt (Matt Long) needs to get his pregnant girlfriend and son out of his mom’s house before she leaves him. Matt’s brother Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush) is an ex-con with all the troubles you’d expect. Denise (Lorraine Bruce) has marriage issues. Leanne (Anastasia Phillips) is a single mom with a sketchy past. Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) is a blue-collar family man who stopped buying into the lottery pool at the wrong time. There are a couple of other employees (“The Wire’s” Isiah Whitlock, Jr. unfortunately not saying, “sheeeeeit.”) with peripheral stories.

The main conflict going forward will most likely bubble up from Matt and Nicky and their poor decision-making. The brothers have a tenuous relationship at best, and money could easily come between them.

“Lucky 7” isn’t great or groundbreaking by any means, but it’s unusual in its simple character-driven approach. The lack of complex concept or forced drama in the pilot is refreshing.

It’s just hard to tell if this type of series will create buzz and/or find an audience. “Lucky 7” could quickly be forgotten, or change completely and fall into a pit of melodrama.

“Lucky 7”

Premieres 10 p.m. Sept. 24 on ABC

2 stars

Odds of renewal: 12 to 1

“The Goldbergs”

As far as comedies go “The Goldbergs” isn’t particularly great, but it hits a number of sweet spots (and possesses a likable cast) audiences could embrace. Taking place in the ’80s, Gen Y-ers will find plenty of nostalgic enjoyment, but what’s most appealing is the show’s connection to “The Wonder Years.”

No, this series isn’t anywhere near as good as “The Wonder Years,” but its throwback format and family shenanigans mixed with tenderness are charming.

Created by director/producer Adam Goldberg, this is essentially his childhood. Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”) is the overbearing mom and Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) is the weary dad to three children: a weirdo teenage son, a hot, bitchy teenage daughter and nerd-in-the-making youngest, Adam. George Segal plays the gregarious grandpa.

The Goldberg family dynamic involves a lot of yelling and embarrassment that ultimately ends in a bit of loving schmaltz. It’s enjoyable by offering a few good moments of humor — mainly from McLendon-Covey and Garlin yelling at their kids — and not going over the top with the heartfelt family narratives.

“The Goldbergs”

2.5 stars

Premieres 9 p.m. Sept. 24 on ABC

Odds of renewal: 8 to 1

“Mom”

“Mom” is not a show you’d expect to find on CBS. The network known for boring police procedurals (“NCIS”) and trite multi-cam comedies (“Two and a Half Men”) doesn’t usually produce series about moms who drink, do drugs and have promiscuous sex.

Centered on Christy (Anna Faris), a mom who has a teenage daughter, elementary school son and past littered with poor decisions, “Mom” is edgy. But Christy is now clean and sober and looking to do right. Then Christy’s mom Bonnie (Allison Janney) reenters her life, also now sober after decades of decadence.

“Mom” is an odd beast — part family comedy, part “Absolutely Fabulous.” What’s even more odd is that it kind of works.

The jokes aren’t great, but Faris and Janney are pretty damn good. Throw in Matt Jones (Badger from “Breaking Bad”) as Christy’s deadbeat ex and French Stewart as a malevolent chef and the cast is great. “Mom” isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, and may not work with CBS’ audience, but it’s entertaining.

“Mom”

Premieres 9:30 p.m. Sept. 23 on CBS

2.5 stars

Odds of renewal: 10 to 1