TV Review: ‘Second Chance’

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.)

Production

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

Crew

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.

Cast

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

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  1. I never heard of “second chance” until I found it on Hulu… We loved the show and would have been watching from the time it started, I don’t think it got a fair chance…Why do these previewers get to speak for what we like.

  2. Joanne Sgrignoli says:

    I love “Second Chance,” so my take on it is completely different than yours. I wonder if some reviewers take mean pills.

    Rob Kaminsky is delightful and I’ve never heard his English accent. I enjoy all the characters, although ‘Otto’ was a bit strange.

    I’m tired of trash TV shows, Scandal, Lucifer, Revenge and so many more. They make bad behavior look glamorous and acceptable. I think not.

  3. twilla says:

    Did we even watch the same show? When dad started to solve a problem with violence, his son stopped him and said there’s a better, more legal way to end it. This was most definitely *not* trying to promote the infallibility of the police. I really enjoyed the first episode and I’m going to spend the rest of my lazy Sunday binge watching the next five episodes.

  4. Sandie says:

    Nasty review for an interesting take on a cop show. Interesting, the one character you like “Duval” is the one I least like. He is stiff and pompous. If that is what he is supposed to be (I doubt it), then that is great acting. The rest of the characters are well developed. I also like the twisty stories…and the interaction of characters.
    I agree with a previous comment that it wasn’t promoted. If more people watched it…there would be a huge following…

  5. Carol Salter says:

    My husband and I love the show. I don’t care to watch demons and monsters in every sci-fi show. I like the human interest storyline. I am enjoying the idea of “frankenstein” in the form of man who lived a life full of mistakes with his family and has the chance at a “do over”. Love Tim McKay “by the book” character vs his Dad is is quite “off the book”.

  6. Tammy Snyder says:

    I like show but if it fails I think it’s because it was not promoted. I didn’t know about it until I was scanning thru on demand. I watch a lot of tv and never noticed it until it was 4 weeks in

  7. ben says:

    Love the show, Maybe you should rethink your judgement of public sentiment. Were not all politically correct idiots who think the criminals deserve more sympathy than their victims.

  8. debern says:

    Watching the repeat tonight on Fox so too early to tell. Love me some Tim Dekay though and would watch him in any show.

  9. Tself says:

    I liked the show. It needs a bit of time to catch on but I think it has great potential. Time Dekay is awesome as usual. Really liked the show.

  10. connor says:

    honestly i think cop shows in general need to die out, the ridgid heirarchy provides a structured safe place for lazy writers who can’t think of an original premise, every director thinks their’s will somehow be original enough to set themselves above the 50 other cop shows out there who’s directors are thinking the same thing, and sure every cop show is different in its own way, but in the end its still just a cop show, by now everything you could think of and more have been done and they need to be left in the mid 2000s where they belong, the same goes for crime shows and hospital dramas

  11. Dunstan says:

    The show’s commercials told me all I need to know. I won’t be watching.

  12. Bill B. says:

    Sad. Was hoping for something different, but it turns out to just be another cop show. Thanks for the warning.

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