Third-episode verdict: Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (UK: Sky1)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

In the UK: Fridays, 9pm, Sky1

Stan Lee’s Lucky Man‘s biggest asset is also its biggest problem – Stan Lee. He came up with the idea for the show, it’s his name that probably got the show made and it’s that name that will get most viewers tuning in.

Trouble is, as soon as you stick the name Stan Lee in the title, there’s a certain expectation there’ll be superheroics and super-fun. Unfortunately, in the hands of series writer Neil Biswas (The Take), there’s neither.

The show sees James Nesbitt play a cop with a gambling problem who suddenly gets a mystical lucky bracelet that helps him both to win big at the casino and to solve crimes, but at a price to others. There’s the occasional bit of supernaturalness thanks to said bracelet, but we’re largely talking about things falling on the floor at opportune moments so that Nesbitt can spot there’s something under a table, rather than Final Destination-style domino effects resulting in bags of money to fall into Nesbitt’s lap. Not at all the time – there’s a speedboat chase in episode one and an impressive sprint across a busy motorway in episode two, for example, but that’s as superheroic as the show has managed to get.

Rather than superheroics, what we’ve had in spades instead is Nesbitt moping around, getting upset by his good luck’s flipside effects on others, and investigating murders, all while leather-clad motorcylist Sienna Guillory drops by to provide the occasional hint about the bracelet’s powers and various members of the police grouch about Nesbitt’s supposed corrupt tendencies. An interesting character study mixed with a bit of fantasy and a police procedural? Yes. Something to rival Daredevil? Not in the slightest.

If you keep that in mind, chances are you might enjoy the show. There’s a decent enough supporting cast, even if Nesbitt is miscast; the story’s not bad and is even a bit edgy; and what supernatural qualities the show does have it does well. It’s even got Banshee‘s ‘Albino’ (Londoner Joseph Gatt) as the big bad who’s after Nesbitt’s jewellery. 

It’s just not the new superhero show you might have been looking for.

Barrometer rating: 2
Would the show be better with a female lead? Yes
TMINE’s prediction: Unlikely to get a second series unless it gets any overseas sales


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.