Ever since Better Call Saul wrapped up last year, intense TV nerd scrutiny has been focused on what its stars would do next. There’s the new Vince Gilligan/Rhea Seehorn Apple TV+ series, of course, currently set for two seasons at the streamer. But what of Bob Odenkirk? Post-Saul, post-heart attack, post-unlikely vigilante action movie: What would Odenkirk, newly established as one of the kings of TV drama, do next?
The answer, as it turned out, was a new series from Damages’ Aaron Zelman and The Office’s Paul Lieberstein, which was, up until this week, called Straight Man. (Sharing a name with its source material, the 1998 novel by Richard Russo.) But no longer will Odenkirk fanatics have to struggle to keep that name (which we have already managed to forget, even though it’s hovering mere inches above these very words) in their heads, because now that series is going by another name, one that is, at least, a bit more memorable: Lucky Hank.
The Hank in question, then, being Odenkirk’s character, William Henry “Hank” Devereaux Jr., a Pennsylvania English professor who’s currently undergoing one of those mid-life crises you’re always hearing about in the art of sad mid-life men. Said crisis ends up impacting his wife (The Killing’s Mireille Enos), obviously, and also, less obviously, the waterfowl of Hank’s college, after he threatens to kill a goose on campus every day until his English department gets its proper budget from the higher-ups. (That’s straight from the synopsis of Russo’s book.)
And, look: We’re not saying Lucky Hank is a good title—it puts us in what might be best described as a Maximum Bob mindset, and that’s a reference so old we’re not sure even we get it. But it is a better name than…the other one. Sad Guy. Sober Dude. Whatever, scroll up if you really care, because the show’s not called that anymore, anyway.
Lucky Hank is set to debut on AMC some time this year.