This typically iconoclastic FX network comedy-drama series was dedicated to the proposition of "Stealing the American Dream." The Malloys were a family of "travellers", roving con artists who lived perpetually on the fringes of society and just outside the reach of the law. After years of running scams and fleecing the unsuspecting, Wayne Malloy (Eddie Izzard) began to wonder if it was all worth the effort. At the same time, Wayne's drug-addict wife Dahlia (Minnie Driver) had been released from prison after a two-year stretch, and was raring to go back on the road with her husband and her equally disreputable children Sam (Aidan Mitchell), Cael (Noel Fisher) and Dehliah (Shannon Marie Woodward). While barreling through the Southland in their RV, the Malloys were involved in a traffic accident (not their fault, for a change!) in which the other drivers, a married couple, were killed. Rifling through the dead motorists' belongings, Wayne and Dahlia discovered that the victims were Doug and Cherein Rich, an upper-middle-class couple who'd just purchased a mansion in a gated community somewhere in Louisiana. Thus handed an opportunity to start life anew, the Malloys "became" the Riches and moved into that selfsame mansion, using their conning-and-hustling skills to convince their new neighbors that they were whom they claimed to be. Carrying the charade to the ultimate, Wayne, alias Mr. Rich, sweettalked his way into a job with family lawyer Hugh Panetta (Gregg Henry), while Dahlia found work as a dental hygienist and the kids tried to fit in at the local high school. Of course, there was always the possibility (or rather the likelihood) that the Malloys would revert to their old dishonest ways, especially whenever the former crooked associates would breeze into town. Forever playing fast and loose with manners, morals and audience expectations, the weekly, 60-minute The Riches made its cable-TV bow on March 12, 2007.
Lucky was the weekly comedy drama series for which star John Corbett turned down the opportunity to recreate his role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding for the CBS spin-off sitcom My Big Fat Greek Life. The title was a bit ironic; to be sure, high-stakes gambler Michael Linkletter fully deserved his nickname "Lucky," but he nearly always ran out of luck by the end of each episode. Determined to give up his compulsive gambling, "Lucky" did not do himself a favor by continuing to reside in the heart of Las Vegas. A typical episode was the series premiere, in which Linkletter garnered one million dollars at during a championship poker tournament, only to lose it all within a matter of hours. Even when he managed to build up a bankroll, Lucky was beholden to number of creditors: his so-called pals, a few assorted shady types with broken noses and cities for nicknames, and the parents of his deceased wife, from whom he borrowed 8,000 dollars to pay for her funeral. As reckless as Lucky was with his cash, he was even more so with his emotions, falling hard for another recovering gambler named Theresa McWatt (Ever Carradine) -- who happened to already have a husband. Adroitly wringing laughs from otherwise pathetic people and situations, Lucky first aired April 8, 2003, on the FX cable network.
In keeping with its policy of serving up TV fare unlike anything else ever seen on any other network, cable or otherwise, the FX network unveiled Starved, the world's first sitcom about eating disorders, on August 4, 2005. The series was created by Eric Schaeffer, a seasoned TV writer and real-life anorexic. Schaeffer cast himself as Sam, a commodities broker suffering not only from anorexia but also compulsive-eating syndrome (his addiction to chocolate had reached ridiculously monumental dimensions), who regularly attended meetings of an eating-disorder support group, the Belttighteners. The remaining cast members likewise carried over their genuine eating problems to the characters they portrayed: Laura Benanti was Billie, an anorexic-bulimic, bisexual aspiring singer, whom Sam alternately despised and adored; Sterling K. Brown was Adam, a NYPD cop whose chronic bulimia had led him to commit minor crimes to feed his ailment; and Del Pentecost was Dan, a writer and overeater who always managed to find an excuse to put off his much-needed gastric bypass surgery. In the tradition of Seinfeld, the four main characters were not terribly likeable or admirable, but all were eminently watchable. Although Starved was positively reviewed in most trade papers, it did not meet with the approval of the National Eating Disorders Association, who disdained the show as "no laughing matter." Ironically sponsored by several prominent fast-food chains, Starved first aired in tandem with another cutting-edge FX sitcom, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.