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Neutral Corner review of "Lights Out"

Promotional picture for new FX series

Promotional picture for new FX series "Lights Out" starring Holt McCallany and Catherine McCormack. Credit: FX Channel PR

Sports movies often get criticized for being too unrealistic, and rightfully so. Producers and directors often take a lot of liberties in their use of “dramatic license” to get their point across in sports movies and television shows.

After watching an advanced copy of the new FX series “Lights Out”, someone finally gets it. The pilot premieres on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 10 pm ET/PT on the FX Channel and will run for 13 weeks. .

Set in New Jersey, the story revolves around retired heavyweight boxing champ Patrick “Lights” Leary, played by veteran actor Holt McCallany.

After his brother Johnny Leary, played by Pablo Schreiber, blows $12 million in earnings in part because of bad business deals, “Lights” is forced to commit a few unseemly acts to pay off his debts. No, don’t worry. This is nothing like “Rocky”. This series actually deals with real problems in boxing and what fighters go through when the final bell rings on their careers.

The series wouldn’t be complete without the shady promoter (Barry K. Word) played by Reg. E. Cathey or the deadly underworld figure (Hal Brennan) portrayed by Bill Irwin. There’s a contentious relationship with a reporter and “Lights’” problems with his wife (Theresa) played by Catherine McCormack and their three kids.

It’s a series that has some brutal and bloody moments, but boxing is a brutal and bloody sport.

Not everyone will love the series, though. Some boxing insiders will go out of their way to protect the sport and crow about show being a little too melodramatic. But nothing in the show is too far from the truth.

From a boxing writer’s perspective, the casual sports fan will enjoy some of the inner workings of the sport. Boxing experts may point out a few inconsistencies and even some flaws, but no one ever gets it 100 percent right.

“Lights Out” provides a great look into the underbelly of a sport that has taken its fair share of hits over the years.

New York Sports