Based on the novel by Kem Nunn “Chance” follows neuropsychiatrist Dr. Eldon Chance through a noir-ish drama involving an abused patient and her monstrous husband. While the acting is fairly decent in the pilot episode, having an incredible cast in Hugh Laurie as the titular character, Gretchen Mol as the dame in distress, and Ethan Suplee as the engaging but odd side kick D, the material falls a bit flat in the pilot. The script is richer with more characters, both annoying and odd, including a usually silent garage attendant and artist Jean-Baptiste and Chance’s workplace partner Dr. Haig. The screen pares down the unnecessary for the pilot, mainly focusing on Chance, his strange friendship with D, his patient and obvious love interest Jacklyn Blackstone, and Chance’s family – his ex-wife and daughter.
It’s hard to say where the show is planning to go, and what it’s really trying to be. Cool, but dark. Dramatic and dangerous. With all dime-store detective novels this one seems obvious from the get-go: the damsel in distress is not all she’s cracked up to be – especially since she may or may not have multiple personality disorder, her estranged abusive husband is more evil than we could imagine anyone ever existing, and the main character’s life is on a downward spiral towards full blown destruction, but manages to really make an effort to save the day.
Chance is trying hard to be Amazon’s Bosch with AMC’s Breaking Bad. Hugh Laurie is a remarkable actor who brought his past character House to life with so much angst, edge and sorrow it would seem unlikely that could be repeated. We are willing to give Chance a chance (sorry we had to), but without much needed humor, and too much bizarre drama this does not seem like a show worth investing in.
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Script vs. Screen Grading:
Alex: Script C / Screen C
Jason: Script C+ / Screen B
Pop Culture Notes:
Deadline Now – Chance Review