Not everyone who wins millions in a lottery can run out and buy a new Mercedes-Benz. One ticketholder may be 17, and 10 months short of eligibility. Another may have a shadowy past that makes it dangerous to collect under his own name. And there is always a chance that a winner’s nasty, estranged husband may hear the news and refuse to sign the divorce papers.
There is no such thing as a free windfall.
“Windfall,” a new NBC drama that has its premiere tonight, is “Lost” without the supernatural or the Mensa brainteaser clues. And that is a compliment. As good as “Lost,” ABC’s hit show about air crash survivors on a spooky island, is, it can strain your patience. “Windfall” takes a film-noir approach to the fate of 20 people thrown together by a $386 million lotto prize, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s an enjoyable, intriguing look at what can happen to a group of ordinary, cash-strapped people who wake up one day as multimillionaires. Or, as one of the winners puts it, “It’s like we are our own species now.”
Luke Perry (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) plays Peter, the host of the jackpot party. (Guests put a dollar in a communal pot to buy tickets, and after they win, everyone shares the pot.) He is a sweet, devoted husband and father whose first big splurge is to buy a fanciful surprise for his two children. His wife, Nina (Lana Parrilla), loves him but also has a lingering attraction to her old boyfriend, Cameron (Jason Gedrick), and Cameron wants to rekindle their romance even though he is married to Beth (Sarah Wynter). They are an attractive, 30-something-ish foursome, but money changes things.