Just about every Hollywood vampire story manages to weave in a love affair between the ever-youthful hundreds-or-thousands-year-old creature and a pretty girl just out of high school. We buy into it because, 1: vampires don’t actually exist, so whatever, and 2: girls just out of high school would love nothing more than to be some hot, supernatural guy’s “immortal beloved” because they’re taught to yearn for such things by people like Stephenie Meyer and they’re incredibly immature (even if they don’t think they are). I’ve seen plenty of these stories. I grew up on Buffy. I eat this shit up.
So why am I having such a hard time with the potential love story introduced on Fox’s premiere of Second Chance, between an old man in a young man’s body and the young woman who put him there? Is it because English actor Robert Kazinsky (True Blood’s vampire-faerie Warlow) can’t consistently pull off a 70-something booze and hooker-loving American? Or because I expected more from a character like Dilshad Vadsaria’s Mary Goodwin, one half of a brilliant twin duo — the other being Adhir Kalyan’s Otto — who’s created a global social media empire, à la Facebook?
Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that it came out of nowhere, like the writers thought that in order to rope in that housewife demographic, they’d need to take the only two characters that weren’t related (or employed in the sex industry) and set up a lovers torn apart by circumstance storyline (because, you see, he has to sleep in a kind of goo bath every 12 hours so his new body doesn’t reject him, and she’s dying of cancer).
Why is there a cheesy love story in a show that’s supposed to be about criminal conspiracy, murder, and Frankenstein science, anyway?
That’s really the biggest problem with Second Chance. In a series that has the potential to just be a cool, updated version of Mary Shelley’s classic, what we get instead is a thousand different plot lines thrown into the first hour: Kazinsky’s Ray Pritchard — a disgraced ex-sheriff — needs to get to the bottom of his own murder, but not before he helps his estranged son — who’s also in law enforcement — solve his biggest case. And maybe along the way, he’ll mend that relationship and fix his own sullied reputation. Throw in some wonder twins, one of which acts as a modern-day Rain Man, unable to communicate with the outside world without his dying sister, a happy-go-lucky prostitute, and some rad cars and gadgets, and you’ve got every Fox show written in the last five years under a single, new title.
So while Second Chance may look cool, its attempt to do too many things ends up making it a failure at all of them.