It was called The Frankenstein Code. Then changed to Lookinglass. FOX ultimately decided on Second Chance, which could mean anything. Maybe that’s the point; a title so uninspired, it’s a better fit for the show.
It’s not entirely fair, though, to call Second Chance uninspired. It’s a conceptual snatch and grab job, that’s for sure, but it’s entertaining enough. The show has got a resemblance to Agent X and last year’s The Player; two action series born out of an action/heightened reality melting pot, trying to create something wholesome out of a lot of seemingly random elements.
That’s not to say it isn’t completely ridiculous. Philip Baker Hall (The Loop, Ruth & Erica, Modern Family) plays Ray Pritchard, a retired sheriff. A retired fraudulent sheriff, the kind that used to manufacture his own evidence. He’s sitting in his chair all day, in his pyjamas. Working girl Bettina (Nicky Whelan, Satisfaction, Matador, Franklin & Bash) drops by every now and then, but that’s about it. Until it’s the middle of the night and he encounters burglars. Nicely dressed ones, who aren’t interested in money, but in paper work. Something to do with his son and/or a police case. It looks like Duval Pritchard (Tim DeKay, White Collar, Carnivàle, The New Adventures of Old Christine) has got people after him, but what can his 70-year old father do? Not much. He can talk, recognize their faces, so they throw him off a bridge; stage it as a suicide.
Money to Burn
This is where the second chance part comes in. There’s a company, called ‘Lookinglass’, run by a boy and a girl. Twins. They have got this secret language together, because the boy cannot function without his sister. Mary’s played by Dilshad Vadsaria (Greek, Revenge), and I can only assume they cast her first. Her brother needed to look like her, so they picked Adhir Kalyan (Aliens in America, Rules of Engagement) to play Otto. I’m sorry to say the boy – taking into account Otto suffers from something similar to autism – doesn’t have his acting skills in order. Anyway, somehow they’ve set up this research facility together, and they’ve got money to burn. You’d expect the money of their donations to have gone directly into their work, but they’ve spent it on crazy stuff like obese apache helicopters. It’s one of those idiotic, hugely powerful companies only Hollywood can dream up; medical research is not done by Google-like enterprises. Stem cell therapy is not in the hands of Silicon Valley.
There’s an urgency to their work: Mary has cancer. Treatment’s not working. Lookinglass has only experimented with gold fish up this point. They’ve brought them back to life, but a human being’s a different story. Mary’s running out of time, though, so they get their hands on the body of Pritchard (they’re Google 2.0 so they can do anything). They put him in a sort of water tank, where his body starts to build itself up from scratch. When they take him out – weeks later -, he’s got superhuman strength and has turned into Robert Kazinsky (True Blood). He looks like a football player, talks like a football player and jumps through windows like a crossbreed between He-Man and Frankenstein’s monster. He’s determined to find the people responsible for killing him.
He quickly finds one of the people involved: Agent Strayburn (Derek Webster, Damages, Harry’s Law, Revolution, The Whispers). Mary’s a part-time detective as well, because, you know, the internet, and helps Pritchard along the way with classified documents she pulls from her computer. Because the writers also saw the movie In Time (starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried), Frankenmuscle only gets to live out his second chance so many hours a day. He’s got a countdown clock with him at all times. When it runs out, it’s time to go back into the tank. No, nobody in their right mind would call Second Chance a great show. However, Kazinsky’s a terrific action hero, the stunts are cool and the pace is unstoppable.