Fox revives 'Frankenstein' with 'Second Chance'
Courtesy Fox

Fox decided to revive Frankenstein — this time with a few high-tech bells and whistles — but the network has jammed Mary Shelley’s classic tale into a rote and unimpressive police procedural. The result is “Second Chance,” a story about a man who was brought back to life, but the series displays no real spark of its own.

Jimmy Pritchard was a Seattle sheriff who liked to break the rules — not for himself, we’re told, but to get justice, at least as the hard-drinking cop defined it. It’s difficult not to wonder if Fox has misread the public mood with this show’s premise and that of last fall’s similarly tepid “Minority Report.” Both revolve around the idea that law enforcement should have unlimited powers, and when it does not, cops should take matters into their own hands and do whatever they decide is right. Having a cop talk about his community as “a city of animals” that need taming, as Pritchard does, is an odd tack to take in an era in which many police departments are under scrutiny due to a perceived lack of accountability. 

In any event, much of the success of “Second Chance” will hinge on the audience’s willingness to go along for the ride with a rule-breaking cop whose rejuvenation has made him extraordinarily strong and physically resilient, if not more intellectually gifted. The right kind of fascinating character and performance could have made the premise work, but neither are in evidence. Perhaps Pritchard is supposed to exude a raffish, heedless charm, but too often Rob Kazinsky plays him as an affable, stubborn bro, and not much more. (Philip Baker Hall plays the older version of Pritchard, and wrings much more flavor out of the role than his younger counterpart.) 

The best thing about the show is Tim DeKay, reprising a role very similar to the one he played on USA’s underrated “White Collar.” DeKay is one of TV’s great yet unheralded utility players, able to excel at dry comedy, laconic lawman dialogue and emotional subtext without drawing attention to his own versatility. DeKay’s character — Pritchard’s son, Duval — is a straight-arrow FBI agent who soon collides with Jimmy, without knowing the full story of the familial connection.

Mismatched cops are a TV staple for very good reason: Given the right chemistry, they can liven up almost any investigation, provided the cases of the week have at least a couple of meaty twists and turns. “Second Chance’s” investigations, however, are as generic as they come, and though the show has an ongoing story about how Jimmy’s revival may save the life of a young tech titan, episodes drag when they’re not running in predictable ruts.

Another pairing, that of the tech titan and her twin brother, fails to yield much in the way of dramatic interest, and as was the case with Fox also-rans “Almost Human” and “Minority Report,” this show’s vision of the future is disappointingly banal. Every so often, a sad little blue animated man — the avatar of the social-media firm run by the twins — pops up, and he seems to have been infected with the air of exhaustion that afflicts much of the rest of the show.

Still, at least the little blue man occasionally displays a deadpan wit, but for long stretches, there’s little of interest to latch onto here. The most annoying thing about “Second Chance” is the way that Kazinsky barely even tries to mask his English accent in a number of scenes. Letting the odd vowel or word slide is one thing, but Kazinsky, who is playing an American, does entire scenes as if he’s hanging out in a London pub. It’s a distracting aspect of a sub-par show.

TV Review: 'Second Chance'

(Series; Fox, Weds. Jan. 13, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in Vancouver by 20th Century Fox Television  in association with Teakwood Lane Productions and Kara Productions.


Executive producers, Rand Ravich, Howard Gordon, Donald Todd, Brad Turner, Michael Cuesta; director, Cuesta; writer, Ravich; director of photography, Chris Manley; production designer, Patti Podesta; costume designer, Shawna Trpcic; editor, Elena Maganini; music, John Paesano; casting, Patrick Rush. 60 MIN.


Rob Kazinsky, Tim DeKay, Dilshad Vadsaria, Adhir Kalyan, Ciara Bravo, Vanessa Lengies, Philip Baker Hall

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