Loving 'Luck'

 I’ve watched the inaugural episode of HBO’s “Luck” a couple times now to see what director Michael Mann has been up to, and the show looks potentially great.
I’ve been waiting for somebody to use gambling as a framework to describe where the country/culture is headed, and I think that’s what writer David Milch may be up to here.
The multi-story plot centers on a ruthless crook (Dustin Hoffman) who wants to turn a money-losing horse track into a full-on casino.
I have no idea where this story is going, but such a transition would be telling. At a racetrack, the gambling apparatus sits atop underlying (and centuries old) industry. Raising animals, training them, riding them, racing them. It’s a place where folks gamble, but also where people sweat and work -- with shovels and trucks. And of course there are the animals -- a link to an agrarian past (see also “War Horse.”) 
 A casino is pure speculation, with nothing underneath, where money goes from one pair of hands to another. I sometimes wonder what the master plan is for the U.S., once industry has been off-shored. Do we all become day traders, moving the same futures contract back and forth?
 I think Milch may be wondering, too.
 As for Hoffman, he’s overdue for a nasty role like this. Say goodbye to Focker. Say hello to...would you like to by a vowel?