Second Chance Fox

Second Chance Review: Fox's Frankenstein Drama Is Dead on Arrival

grade_D+Fox’s Second Chance has not a care in the world.

Series star Rob Kazinsky (True Blood), for example, slips carelessly between his character’s American enunciation and his own British accent. Crimes of the week are wrapped up with the haphazardness of toddlers tossing their Fisher-Price people into a toy box after mommy says it’s dinner time. Heck, even the title of the show (fka The Frankenstein Code fka Lookinglass) has proven to be as changeable as it is vague.

There’s a depressing patina of “Eh, why not?” coating every story choice, every performance, even its costume design (Dilshad Vadsaria’s Mary isn’t about to let her post as a Fortune 500 CEO or her untreatable cancer stop her from baring her midriff, dammit)! And the end result feels like a hideous pastiche of focus-group testing, procedural clichés and CliffsNotes literary references that got pulled out of the incubator about two seasons too early.

FC_sc24_0016_hires1The series opens with disgraced sheriff Jimmy Pritchard (Philip Baker Hall) walking in on a breaking-and-entering job in the home of his FBI agent son Duvall (White Collar‘sTim DeKay). The baddies drive him to a bridge and stage his suicide — but as luck (or plot necessity) would have it, he’s deemed a biological match for an experiment being conducted by Mary’s tech-genius twin brother Otto (Adhir Kalyan), brought back to life in Kazinsky’s hotter, younger and semi-superpowered bod, and used as a high-tech blood donor in an attempt to beat Mary’s cancer. Did I mention Mary and Otto have their own language of more than 3,000 words and that she’s his sole link to the outside world? Or that Duvall has daddy issues — and not just because his younger sister (Amanda Detmer) mentally right-swipes Patrick’s chiseled new torso every time they’re in a room together? (Rated TV-PN… for Please, No.)

Alas, though, Fox’s entry into the 2015-2016 network trend of Special-Powered People Helping Their Reluctant Law-Enforcement Comrades (see CBS’ Limitless, NBC’s Blindspot, ABC’s Quantico… because Priyanka Chopra’s luminous locks are most definitely from another planet) fails as both a high-concept serial and a case-of-the-week diversion.

The show’s writers are clearly interested in a Jimmy-Mary romance, but Kazinsky generates more heat when he’s floating unconscious through his healing tank than he does on dry land with Vadsaria’s (Revenge) utterly bland character, a woman who shows no fatigue from her illness, no exasperation with her manchild brother’s need for attention and not so much as a jolt of fear when she winds up in the middle of an armed standoff involving an innocent child.

As a procedural, Second Chance‘s greatest point of differentiation — that Otto’s all-seeing technology and Jimmy’s mega-strength make even the most implausible twists possible — is more likely to result in rolled eyes than it is in whitened knuckles, especially because no one seems to have the time or inclincation for even the most basic detective work. Episode 2 finds Mary and Jimmy dropping a kidnapping victim at curbside without a single FBI agent asking, “Who the hell are you people?” Other creative choices — like making the baddie of Episode 3 don full face-paint and Samurai sword — put the “dumb” in “random.”

Ultimately, Kazinsky’s opening line — “Second chances can be a real monster” — proves all too apt a commentary for a show that should never have been jolted to life in the first place.

The TVLine Bottom Line: At once patently absurd, painfully sloppy and exceedingly generic, Second Chance isn’t worthy of even a first one.

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52 Comments
  1. Kim says:

    Well, Rob Kazinsky is in it and that’s enough for me to watch.

  2. Jeff says:

    I saw the pilot a while back I didn’t think it was all that bad, better than a number of shows that premiered this year.

    • Adviel says:

      My exact thought, I saw the pilot and it was not bad. I finish it thinking on giving the series a chance.

    • dan says:

      I agree, I liked it. I would watch another episode at least.

    • prish says:

      I know I loved Mine Own Worst Enemy, and that got trashed by the critics. Some things resonate. Snatch what you can is my motto. The critics are devoted to art, and I just want to hang out and feel better. I’ll give it a try, if it doesn’t get cancelled before the first showing, at this rate.

    • Velocisexual says:

      I thought it was terrible, but there’ve been a lot of bad new shows on Network tv this year. But at least some of those at least tried for something, Second Chance has no soul. It’s so incredibly tepid middle of the road predictable and boring I’d rate it as the 2nd worst new show of this network tv season, behind Rosewood (also Fox btw).

    • Deb says:

      I agree. I watched it tonight and thought it was pretty darn good!

  3. wrstlgirl says:

    No you didn’t like it :-)

  4. Katie T says:

    Can’t say I’m surprised. You’ve got to think a show is bad when it’s episode number gets cut before it’s even on air. And Rob Kazinsky has never been leading man material,that was already clear when he was in Eastenders

    • HenryP says:

      Lol. It was clear when he was in Dream Team – and if you don’t recognise that reference, be thankful.

      • Weezy says:

        Unfortunately I do. Lol that was the weirdest show…I saw the pilot a while back and didn’t think it was too bad. I am glad to see some no holds barred reviews coming out on here, but I can think of 10-15 shows right now on TV that are worse.

        You are right about plot development though. For example, his whole dying thing. The whole stupid sequence made absolutely no sense and dude was basically asking for it. I mean he had a chance to leave, to hide, to call the police, etc. but instead he directly confronts them despite being 85+ and in poor health.

      • RockStar says:

        Aww, I used to love Dream Team! Harchester United were my favourite football team when I was growing up! ;)

  5. JFrizz says:

    That was scolding! I disagree with this review.
    I saw the pilot episode a couple times and I was surprised how much I liked it. I can’t wait to see the next episode!

  6. CA says:

    I’m not surprised by the negative review. This show seemed fraught from the start. Anytime a show needs not one, but two, name changes suggests an identity crisis…and let’s be honest, the concept isn’t really that new ( the show New Amsterdam had a similar feel). And it saddens me because I was so hoping that Tim DeKay would land someplace solid. I miss not seeing him on my screen now that White Collar is no longer on the air. That being said — I’ll tune in….maybe it will be just interesting enough to hold interest.

    • Miranda says:

      Not that this is by any means the same quality as, but Friends had multiple name changes and turned out to be quite a successful show.

  7. Peter says:

    Oh my. Someone got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. I’m a Rob Kazinsky fan, so I’ll still give it a try.

  8. Sam says:

    What a scathing review!

    I’ve watched the pilot and was really surprised at how much i enjoyed it. I think viewers will like this one. Reminds me of badly reviewed Shades of Blue that went on to do solid business for NBC. More than half of what we watch doesn’t even make sense. It’s called excapism.

    I enjoyed the pilot and will watch ep. 2.

  9. Cory says:

    The pilot wasn’t nearly as bad as this review suggests (it’s available on Google Play, FYI)

  10. Diz says:

    Oh my, now this is the type of review for new shows we need more of instead of the half hazard reviews to keep the site in good graces in order to snatch a scoop or interview down the line. Kudos Slezak, I applaud you!

  11. Victoria says:

    I saw the pilot on YouTube a few weeks back. I didn’t think it was that bad but rather blah. I did roll my eyes at a few things like the woman with terminal cancer looking that good or some of the tech stuff the company had. That’s really too bad that the show is more likely to get cancel because I really like Tim DeKay and wish him back on TV on a regular basis.

  12. Z says:

    I don’t mind a brutally honest review, but you guys give a pass to garbage shows all the time. I don’t think this can be as dumb as scorpion.

  13. erica says:

    I saw the first episode OnDemand, I didn’t think it was horrible. Could be funnier or darker but not everything has to be a awesome, like Firefly! Give a show a chance!

  14. This looked almost as bad a Beauty and the Beast. I’m crossing my fingers that some american networks will announce soon that they’re going to Import Jekyll and Hyde, and The Frankenstein Chronicles!

    • johnhelvete says:

      A&E picked up the Frankenstein Chronicles for the US. Dont think A&E announced a premiere date though.

      • Thanks for the info! Now hopefully Jekyll and Hyde will find a home. I’d preferably like to see it go to a streaming service like Amazon Prime, or a Broadcast Network (that would never happen). There isn’t really a predictable go to network for ITV imports like there is for the BBC.

  15. Dizzle says:

    Predicting Bones will be back on the schedule sooner than Fox would like…

  16. like i said i give it three episodes

  17. Jason Paul says:

    “Rated TV-PN… for Please, No” is hilarious. That should be a new rating category. Ha!!

  18. Mr. Tran K says:

    This is destined to be another disaster for Fox.

  19. Ray says:

    What an embarrassment, even for FOX.

  20. Jason. P says:

    totally disagree with this review. Usually I agree with them. This show wasnt that bad. IMO

  21. Velocisexual says:

    Hey Michael, I agree with your review and grade, but I gotta correct you on one thing:
    “Alas, though, Fox’s entry into the 2015-2016 network trend of Special-Powered People Helping Their Reluctant Law-Enforcement Comrades (see CBS’ Limitless, NBC’s Blindspot, ABC’s Quantico… because Priyanka Chopra’s luminous locks are most definitely from another planet) fails as both a high-concept serial and a case-of-the-week diversion.”
    I’m pretty sure Minority Report was Fox’s entry into this trend already ;) Second Chance was just their Second Attempt and Second Failure at it.

  22. grys03 says:

    Considering the good shows that have been cancelled over the last couple of years (Forever, the Player, Intelligence) then this doesn’t come close. BUT compared to the reality crap & over-abundance of really awful ‘comedies’ then this is a gem.

    It’s all in the perspective.

  23. Norkir says:

    I’m disappointed to hear negative comments on this show. I was only gonna watch because of Tim Dekay now I’m not so sure I’ll tune in.

  24. Emor says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that there must have been a location change from the ‘Original’ pilot to the ‘Air’ version. The pilot I watched took ‘place’ in Seattle, and mentioned the lead character as a King County Sheriff. BUT, on the Gps graphic they were looking at to find him, it CLEARLY said Los Angeles! Then a car later in the pilot had a Washington State license plate. Someone might want to tell Fox that they didn’t do their homework!

  25. d.e.b. says:

    I like it just as much as I like Minority Report. But I always seem to be in the minority in the shows I like. If they keep the nostalgia & ‘family’ bond intermingled with the old Jimmy & the new, & not have the new Jimmy get carried away with his new found hunkness it’ll be a cool show.

  26. Sky says:

    I’m bummed I liked it, I think it’s nearly impossible to jump in not watching from the first episode, but I digged it.

  27. ben says:

    Enjoyable show.

  28. ben says:

    A good show, Enjoyable without all the tasteless rubbish they try to force into shows these days. Makes a nice change

  29. Jerry says:

    Not a professional critic, just like what I like. I like this new show but I worry that just as we get into it, FOX will close down a pretty good show that could, if given more time, be a great show. Two other examples come to mind; The Finder and Human Target. To repeat myself, we’re just average folks who like what we like and we liked those two shows as well. I would request that FOX give this show some time, say two good years. It;s looking as though Jimmie and the lady are developing a relationship but how about having him become a mentor and develop a father-like relationship with the kid. Watching him grow up and evolve into a young, confident and honorable young man because of Jimmie (yet another second chance for him to be a good and active father) would be an interesting evolution to watch, just sayin…

  30. Susan says:

    I actually like the show and it grows on me each week. Hope it stays alive for a second season.

  31. Geisha says:

    Love second chance I hope it does not get cancelled

  32. dthom says:

    This is one of, if not the best, show on television right now. My co-workers and I watch it a second time on Sundays so we have all of our comments and talking points fresh in mind on Monday. Since the show was poorly promoted, it is now really up to word of mouth. Before reading the article stating that it was based on Frankenstein, I honestly thought Pritchard was slowly becoming a super hero and Otto was going to eventually become a villain and I thought the female character who forcibly had the wings tattooed on her stomach was going to make a re-appearance. Whatever the direction the show takes, I love it and I’m in for the ride. Great cast, great stories and I absolutely love how they interact with one another. I hope Fox does not cancel it.

  33. Najeeb Shah says:

    Its a very good show , your opinion is irrelevant as its generating a good viewership