What would you do if you were given another chance? That’s the premise of Fox’s Second Chance, formerly titled Lookinglass. It’s a modern twist on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Instead of a mad scientist environment with torturous looking devices, the environment is pristine with a device like a bacta tank at the center of the resurrection methods, rather than a metal table. Tech savvy and wealthy twins Mary and Otto Goodwin (Dilshad Vadsaria and Adhir Kalyan) bring back 75-year-old Jimmy Pritchard from death in order to use him in research to help cure Mary’s cancer. Pritchard is a former cop who was forced to resign because of corrupt conduct, and he’s transformed into a younger version of himself (Rob Kazinsky)–a younger version of himself with some enhanced physical abilities.
The story follows Jimmy as he adapts to his new situation, investigates the corrupt cops that killed him, and attempts to provide assistance to his son, FBI agent Duval Pritchard (Tim DeKay). Family relationships and the applications and consequences of science and technology are emphasized in the pilot. And as you might guess, Jimmy’s transformation has repercussions.
Nerdist joined a small group of journalists on the Second Chance set and after touring the gleaming offices of Lookinglass, the massive social networking company run by Mary, we spoke with cast members and executive producer Brad Turner about what to expect from the series.
On whether it’s a genre show:
Second Chance has elements of the supernatural and science fiction. Series executive producer Brad Turner said, “It’s more of a slight twist. It’s definitely got all kinds of genre possibilities, and we could go anywhere we want with it because Lookinglass is such a high level of technology that isn’t developed yet. It’s the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates–those minds that are thinking way beyond what we have today. Of course, in a fictitious world, we can do anything we want. And we’re going to try and do that, and see that Lookinglass is way beyond where we are. I’ve been promising layers of onions being pulled back every week, and it will be endless. It’s going to be very scientific, but right now we’re trying to engage the audience in the characters and there dilemmas that are so relatable and then we’ll introduce science into it to cause the tension.”
Turner also stated the adaptation of Frankenstein isn’t direct as much as running with the spirit of the story.
On family dynamics:
In his first life, Jimmy made a lot of mistakes. That’s an understatement. He screwed up his career, and he was a terrible father. Now, he has an opportunity to turn things around with his children, Duval and Helen (Amanda Detmer). There’s just the minor problem of them thinking Jimmy is dead. Rob Kazinsky said he doesn’t think Jimmy would necessarily be a better father this time around. “I think it would be incredibly boring if this experiment made him a decent person. That’s the whole point of this show. I mean, yeah, he got a second chance, but [it’s a] nature versus nurture thing. Seventy-five years of being a pretty horrible human being is not going to change just because suddenly you have a young, strong body. You’re still going to be, essentially, selfish and spoiled and short-sighted. And it’s what these powers and this opportunity presents to him against what his natural nature is.”
As the new, young Jimmy comes into Duval’s life, Tim DeKay said his character realizes there’s something off about him. He’s keeping Jimmy at arm’s length because at the moment, he’s a stranger. DeKay said, “Here’s the thing, right now he doesn’t want the guy in his life because, ‘I don’t know who you are. I do not know who you are. I can tell you have had a dark past. I don’t want that. I don’t want that near my house.’ If he ever finds out who he is, that’s all the more reason he doesn’t want him in his house. So, no matter what, he doesn’t want him near him, but Pritchard has a strong desire [to be in his life], so there is great tension there.”
Family is also at the core of Lookinglass. Twins Mary and Otto are geniuses and billionaires. Their love for each other is what drives them to seek out Jimmy Pritchard and use him. They rely on each other in different ways. Otto is on the autistic spectrum and his sister is the way he connects with the world. She’s his anchor. Adhir Kalyan said, “It’s interesting that you use the word ‘anchor.’ It’s very similar to the way I look at it. Otto’s center rests in Mary. And so in that sense, how she’s doing and how she’s operating really affects him in a very direct way. If she’s doing well, he finds such great comfort and happiness in that. But, of course, within the framework of where the show picks up and is taking place, this disease–in the way that it’s consuming her–is consuming him too. As a result, he’s shifted his focus away from work and is entirely focused on trying to find a solution to do the impossible, really, which is to try and save her from this terminal illness. He is really a character who depends on her, and it’s a genuine fear of his that if she goes, that he will be completely lost and may not know how to get through it.”
On how Lookinglass will work with the FBI:
Jimmy’s presence means there’s a new tie between Lookinglass and the FBI. Since Mary and Otto are responsible for bringing Jimmy back, he’s connected to them. And he’s also trying to connect with Duval by helping him. The worlds of Lookinglass and the FBI start to overlap as cases come up in each episode. DeKay said, “The villain of each episode–all the villains are incredibly smart and dark and have really freaky aspects to them, ones that are very interesting. Some of the villains could arguably be called monsters, but all these villains have been–a regular approach to catching them could not be done. Many sources are needed.”
Kazinsky said Jimmy is very much a bridge between the two entities: “Solving crimes would be a lot easier if the law enforcement wasn’t restrained by law. The ideal of justice is often at odds with the penned laws of the land. When you have the ability and technology to find these people and see what they’ve done and you have somebody outside the law like Pritchard who able to dispense the true ideal of justice, then you end up with a very powerful, megalomaniacal and dangerous vigilante. And taking–we have the ability today, if somebody with code could find out what you had for breakfast, they could find out where your car is, what your insurance is, where your house is, they could completely steal your identity. When you put that kind of power, which is the only super power that exists in the real world, in the hands of somebody with questionable morals, that’s when Duval becomes more and more important. The straight edge side of the law does become important to balance out this vengeful spirit that Pritchard is.”
Second Chance premieres Wednesday, January 13, at 9p.m. ET/PT. Are you planning on tuning in?
The trip to the Second Chance set was provided by Warner Bros.