“Second Chance” aka “The Frankenstein Code” (FOX) pilot preview: It’s alive (and a little bit dead at the same time)!


Also known as Lookinglass. “A suitable donor” pilot written by Rand Ravich (Life, Crisis, The Astronaut’s Wife). Based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Co-produced by Howard Gordon (Homeland, 24, X-Files, Buffy, Angel) & Hugh Fitzpatrick (Tyrant). Directed by Michael Cuesta (Homeland, Six Feet Under, Dexter, True Blood, Elementary). For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television & Teakwood Lane Prods.

Description: Ray Pritchard, a morally corrupt retired cop, is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead by rich and genius twins Mary and Otto Goodwin. Now younger, healthier and 10 times stronger, Pritchard will have to choose between his old temptations and his new sense of purpose, the family he never took care of and this job he loved so much but couldn’t do the right way…

With Rob Kazindsky (True Blood, Pacific Rim, Eastenders), Tim DeKay (White Collar, Tell Me You Love Me, Carnival), Dilshad Vadsaria (Revenge, Greek), Ciara Bravo (Red Band Society, Big Time Rush), Adhir Kalyan (Aliens in America, Nip/Tuck, Rules of Engagement)…

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As you probably know, the huge success of Empire can’t reflect on the choices FOX’s new presidents made for their pilots since it happened very late in the season when the scripts were already ordered and delivered, ready to be picked-up. So apart from Scream Queens and Studio City, they’re all in the vein of Gotham, which doesn’t really work anymore but did OK at the time. On one hand you have Lucifer, a light, funny and entertaining cop show made in DC Comics, that has a dark side (Read the preview); on the other hand you have Rosewood (Read the preview), plain boring and classical, Minority Report (Read the preview), funny at times, with a sci-fi twist, but too complex to be really entertaining, and last but not least Frankenstein. All of them are centered around a cocky and tortured hero that helps the police solving crimes. Beyond that, they all have their uniqueness, strenghths and weaknesses, even eccentricities I might add, but none of them sound like something people will go crazy about. I fear FOX has no hit in the making for now…

But let’s dive into Frankenstein‘s world, imagined by the guy that brought you well received Life and the terrible terrible Crisis. The pilot surprised me. In a good way! I thought the famous character was only used to create yet another boring procedural but that’s not what happens. At least not until the very last page of the script and in a way that doesn’t tell you clearly what the show will be about week to week. Will it really be a procedural with the character helping the police -his son, who thinks he’s a long hidden brother- solving crimes? I’m not 100% sure. The whole pilot is about showing who Ray Pritchard was -a motherfucker cop and father- how he died -killed by burglars- how he came back to life and how he helped his son solving his own murder case. It’s a lot, everything happens so fast you never get bored. The “how he came back to life” is clearly the most interesting part and the geniuses characters who are reponsible for this non-divine miracle are those who really drive the show in the right direction (plus their artificial intelligence buddy). They’re touching and fascinating, though they are not Walter Bishop. When it comes to the family and bad guys stuff, I’m less convinced.

So our new Ray Pritchard is not Frankenstein’s monster in fact (there’s almost nothing left from the novel). He’s Hulk or The Flash! He’s stronger, he’s faster, he may even be cleverer. He’s handsome, of course. He’s not a villain. Well, not yet. The cliffhanger gives us the idea that he may become one at some point, but that won’t be dealt with anytime soon I guess. At the end of the first season maybe? It could become quite boring long before that (if it’s not cancelled after 13 episodes)… Furthermore, I have a problem with the title of the show. Why is it called Frankenstein? Frankenstein is not the monster’s name. It’s a common mistake but it’s not. It’s Dr Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator. But here, there is no Dr Frankenstein in sight! It’s not the scientist’s names. They’re called Goodwin. So what the fuck is this title? I totally understand it talks to people, it helps selling the whole thing. But IT’S A MISTAKE. Or it’s not and I’m waiting for the explanation!

Frankenstein (or whatever it should be called) is not the worst pilot FOX has in store (this award goes to Rosewood). It’s alive! It’s watchable! But a good pilot doesn’t always become a good series and I tend to think this one is more a good pilot than a good series. It could be really cool, if it was not meant to be a procedural in the end. Hope I’m wrong because I’m pretty sure it will get picked up, bit I’m not optimistic. It’s alive, but it’s a little bit dead too.



  1. John says:

    Hi, Lulla. I love your pilot previews. I am from Czech Republic and the proces of ordering tv shows here is not that interesting and exciting as US pilot season. May I ask where did you find those scripts? I would be very interested in reading them too 🙂

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