TV is saturated with shows that tell some variation of the immortality/reviving someone from death story. Some are better than others. The two most recent (at least that I bothered to watch) – Forever and Second Chance – couldn’t be more different. (Penny Dreadful crossed into this category to some extent, but it is an entirely different… monster. And it suffered greatly from a huge buildup that led to a rushed and unfortunate, low-satisfaction ending after three unhurried seasons.) Like Dreadful, both Forever and Second Chance ended up prematurely cancelled – in their cases, after a mere single season.
Forever, starring the charming Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd – who made a star turn in the latest season of UnREAL – in the lead and Judd Hirsch – who has recently made his curmudgeonly mark in The Goldbergs and Maron – in an excellent supporting role, actually had the story and the writing to make the idea of a man who can’t die – and keeps “reanimating” after every death. In the form of flashbacks we find out how he got immortality as well as piece together his relationship with Hirsch and so on. Flashbacks can be the most grating part of many shows, but they were effective in Forever because they helped give us a piece of the puzzle. The show was engaging enough that we wanted those pieces.
Second Chance, though, apart from the presence of Tim DeKay (of White Collar fame)… did not deserve a first, let alone, second chance. It was this improbable concoction of improbable stories and people. Loosely crafted around the Frankenstein theme, it was all over the place. I would describe how except that it is not worth my time or yours. Especially since it’s over before it really began.
What fascinates me is the constant urge to resuscitate this idea of bringing the dead back to life or creating some form of immortality, especially when all the cultural works about everlasting life show that it is often more painful than anything else.