Lucky Hank Official Trailer (Starring Bob Odenkirk) | AMC+

Lucky Hank’s premiere gradually unravels Hank’s existential crisis, which impacts his decades-long marriage with Lily (Mireille Enos). Lieberstein and Zelman make it clear that the show is also about her own career problems. The episode establishes that with Hank potentially free of Railton, Lily could expand on her professional goals that she’s put off for years if they could move cities. By the end, however, Hank, initially voted out as the chair, regains the position. So not much might change. “But the fantasy is already in her head,” Lieberstein teases. “How does she shut it off now? Should she?”


Zelman adds: “The pilot allows Lily to finally ask him a version of, ‘What were you doing?’ That’s just the beginning of our story. We want to keep telling it as slowly as possible. Stuff like career changes take time and are a big deal for couples—I mean, it takes my wife and me a long time to get a dining table. It’s very alienating for me when a character makes a decision, and it’s quickly done. With Lucky Hank, exploring indecision was wonderful.”

While the show’s humor is subtle and scathing, it’s different from Odenkirk’s sketch comedy background on Mr. Show and Saturday Night Live as well as Lieberstein’s experience. He worked on The Office as a writer, showrunner, and actor (playing Michael Scott’s worst enemy, HR manager Toby Flenderson). His NBC sitcom co-star Oscar Nuñez even recurs on this show. Zelman refers to his creative partner’s background as his “secret weapon.”

Lucky Hank is not a workplace comedy by any means. The show mixes a marriage story and a family drama with Hank and Lily’s daughter, Julie (Olivia Scott-Welch). It also dives into Hank’s friendships, including with his best pal Tony (Diedrich Bader). But Lieberstein knows the workplace setting was unavoidable. In fact, the academia portion of the book is what drew him in. “We know people in that world, and it seems rife for a workplace [examination].” Hank often clashes with his colleagues (played by actors like Suzanne Cryer and Cedric Yarborough), especially in the premiere, when everyone’s pissed off about him dissing their employer in the viral video. They vote to try and get him replaced as Chair, only to give him the same position again by accident.

“When we’re doing those group scenes in Hank’s office setting, all of a sudden, I do feel like I’m in my sweet spot where the coworkers argue, and each has their own agenda, and we can be funny with it.” Lieberstein jokes, “Lucky Hank is The Office, but smarter. Oh God, that quote will be everywhere now, isn’t it?”