I don't ordinarily write about shows in development, but occasionally, one sounds so cool I can't resist. I was already intrigued by HBO's "Luck" due to the presence of "Deadwood" creator David Milch (one of the smartest and most talented writers to ever work in TV, and certainly the most colorful I've ever met), a subject (horse racing) Milch is passionate about, and then the presence of Michael Mann as a producer and director of the pilot. (Like Martin Scorsese on "Boardwalk Empire," I don't know how much Mann will be involved past the pilot, but it's gonna be a damn good-looking first episode.)
And late yesterday came news that Dustin Hoffman is going to play the lead, which is one of the biggest casting coups HBO has ever had. It's been a while since he was able to successfully carry a movie, but the guy is still a two-time Oscar winner, portrayer of some of the most iconic movie roles of the 20th century, and still a great actor when he's motivated to do so. (He's also still a big enough name that, as "Parks and Recreation" producer Mike Schur tweeted last night, Hoffman would more or less lock up the Emmy for lead actor in a drama for however long he'd be on the show. (Emmy voters love to honor movie stars who come to work in TV.)
I was going to watch no matter what, because I love Milch's work (even when it's weird and borderline-incoherent, like "John From Cincinatti"), and because Dennis Farina is one hell of a second banana to have in the cast. But Hoffman's presence means many more people will likely check it out, at least for curiosity's sake. And the more people who watch potentially great, challenging television, the more potentially great, challenging TV shows get to be made.