Second Chance: Review: Series 1 Episode 1: A Suitable Donor

Second ChanceA pair of scientists play God and give a 75 year old man back his youth…

This is the show that’s been known by various different names in its short life – The Frankenstein Code, and then Lookinglass – but none of these changes can disguise the fact that, rather appropriately, this is a 1970s series given a new lease of life for the mid-2010s. Its roots are clearly in shows like The Invisible Man (of David McCallum fame) or The Gemini Man (of Ben Murphy, er, infamy) where there’s an operative who has to have some form of intervention each day or he’ll die. It provides a ticking clock for each episode… and unfortunately, often a quick countdown to cancellation.

And that’ll be an unfair fate for this show if the eleven ordered episodes (Fox cut it from 13 to 11 – apparently at the request of the producers themselves!) are all that we get. Unlike some of the mid-season starters it’s got some intriguing characters – albeit painted in quite broad strokes for this opener – and some decently done effects. Not everything is spelled out: we know the revitalised Jimmy Pritchard has some “super” abilities (there’s a slightly icky reference to “superpotency”, which I’m afraid just made me think of the old Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex idea… if you don’t know, look it up), and there were some suggestions that he can see things very clearly, but there’s plenty more to discover.

Robert Kazinsky has the hard job of persuading the audience that he’s a 75 year old in a 35 year old body and so far pulls it off with Philip Baker Hall as the older version who makes a strong impression in his few minutes on screen. Tim DeKay as Duval, his son, is one of the characters who we need to see more of to make a good judgement, while Adhir Kalyan as Otto, one of the twins, comes across as self-centred and selfish and his sister a little too self-sacrificing.

Of course, the most horrific part of the whole episode comes near the start, and shows it to be forever science fiction… Piers Morgan appears as himself, with a talk show based out of New York still running in the States! Worse, he’s listed first in the guest stars when there are plenty of others more worthy of the position.

Verdict: Something of a throwback, but an entertaining enough hour. 7/10

Paul Simpson

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