“Luck” (2011-2012) has an ironic title given the unfortunate misfortune that occurred that led to it’s early cancellation after only 9 episodes, even with good ratings and good reception. It had nothing to do with that but rather the safety of the animals used in the film.
The safety of the series’ working environment was called into question by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA criticized “Luck” over the injury and euthanization of two horses during filming for the pilot and the seventh episode. As the American Humane Association (AHA) said both racehorses, and I quote, “stumbled and fell during short racing sequences”, and also that, “the horses were checked immediately afterwards by the onsite veterinarians and in each case a severe fracture deemed the condition inoperable.”
HBO pointed out that precautions had been taken with each horse being, as they quoted, “limited to three runs per day and was rested in between those runs.” However, on March 13, 2012, HBO agreed to suspend all filming involving horses while investigations took place over the death of a third horse. This was only the start as the AHA insisted the stoppage remain in effect until a comprehensive investigation was completed for it was also noted the horse’s injury did not occur during filming or racing. The following day, HBO canceled the series, saying that while it “maintained the highest safety standards throughout production … accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future.”
It was unfortunate that, at the time of the show’s cancellation, the second episode of the second season was in production with footage shot for the second season that still has not been released publicly. “Luck” was a good show, but luck itself was unfortunately not on its side.