There are some series that benefit from a shorter run, and Second Chance definitely feels like one of those. Each episode moved the overall plot forward while dealing – at least early on – with some stories of the week, all of which were used to deepen the characterisation. We watched the cantankerous Jimmy Pritchard realise what he had been missing through the latter years of his life, and his son Duval – now “older” than him – come to terms with his inheritance from his father, and to realise that sometimes, just sometimes, the old man had it right.
The Frankenstein elements of the story came to the fore in the second half of the eleven episode season, with the final two-parter very clear about its roots, and the cliffhanger (if you can call it that) referring further to the brutal nature of those brought back from the dead. The “mad scientists” of the story initially appeared to be the twins, but that never really rang true, and so someone else was brought in – with the inevitable discussion of gods and monsters towards the end.
What was most enjoyable about the show was seeing the way in which the two Pritchards – father and son – almost swapped roles, so that by the end of the penultimate episode, we could believe that it’s the formerly uptight son who’s lost control, and the “do anything necessary” father who’s playing by the book (sort of). Robert Kazinsky and Tim DeKay sold the relationship well throughout the season with Dilshad Vadsaria’s Mary a good foil for both. Vanessa Lengies’ Alexa was deliberately a lowkey presence in the first half, but blossomed once we realised why she was there (although to an extent that did smack of some reworking of the series after a few episodes!) and whenever Ciara Bravo was given some decent material to play as Gracie, she ran with it – I suspect she’ll be one to watch in the future.
Although I can see various ways in which the series could return, it seems unlikely, and – as far as any series is nowadays – it is pretty much self-contained. A solidly entertaining show, I hope it’ll get reassessed once released on DVD/streaming.
Verdict: A generally entertaining take on the Frankenstein mythos. 7/10