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Interview: Rand Ravich

What would you do with a second chance at life? Would you relive your past mistakes? Would you try and atone for some of the things you’ve done in the past? It’s an interesting question and one of the themes explored in the new Fox series Second Chance which premieres Wednesday, January 13th at 9/8c.

Second Chance is from the minds of executive producers Rand Ravich and Howard Gordon. It’s a thrilling new action-drama about a man brought back to life by two scientists playing God in the quest to save one of their own lives.

We sit down with one of the executive producers, Rand Ravich to discuss how they came up with the concept for the series, the idea of playing God and what fans can look forward to with the first season.

Pop Culture Principle – How did you come up with the concept for Second Chance?

Rand Ravich - Howard Gordon and I had always wanted to work together, and we started talking about different things. We both had been talking about the Frankenstein myth and thinking about it separately. I then started thinking about coming back, and what it would be like to come back. Both Howard and I are of a certain age, and we were thinking about what we’ve done and what we would have done differently in our lives. You get to a certain point in your life were you start thinking did you do your best? What would I do differently? Would I make the same mistakes or would I make new ones? Would I want to come back? Would I want another chance?

You can get to a point where you accumulate enough data from your life and you can start thinking about all you have done, and I think that is a universal theme. Certainly when I talk about this show to other people—my family and people in and out of the business—that’s the one thing that resonates because it’s such a universal idea.

Pop Culture Principle – The series was originally called The Frankenstein Code and the The Looking Glass? What made you decide to change the show’s name and eventually go with Second Chance?

Rand Ravich – Titles are so hard! The show has a lot of moving parts and it takes place in two worlds. It takes place in the science fiction world of Mary and Otto Goodwin, who brought Jimmy Pritchard back for their own purposes, and it takes place in the real world of Seattle, the Sherriff’s department and this family—all these things that you could have used to name the show which were iterations of the titles that we had gone through. Underneath it all, that was the universally unifying theme, the most powerful theme: the most powerful thing was the relationship between Pritchard and him getting a second chance at life.

That was the one thing that connected all the dots for us, and it may not be the most exciting title but it is certainly the right title for this show and what you want the audience to know about this show. Yes it is science fiction, yes it is action, yes it is sometimes funny and hopefully sometimes terrifying, but, underneath it all, that is what the story is.

Pop Culture Principle – With any series, you have to find the right lead. When did you know that Robert Kazinsky was lead character Jimmy Pritchard?

Rand Ravich – As soon as he walked in the room and smiled. When I pitched the show to Dana Walden early in the development, she loved it. She said, good luck finding the lead and finding a man from this generation who can play that older person inside. When Rob walked in and because he is from another country, he has this giddiness, this appetite for life and this twinkle in his eye, and you just can’t turn away. He sat down and Gordon and I looked at each other and just knew. Happily, the network and the studio felt like we did.

Pop Culture Principle – Now that Jimmy is back and has a second chance, do you think he truly appreciates being back?

Rand Ravich – You know, that’s an excellent question. He doesn’t because one thing about this character is that I’ve seen versions about this, and you wish for a second chance because you know what you’ve done wrong or want to do again. What I love about Jimmy Pritchard is that he would have never asked for a second chance because that’s not who he was. He’s been thrust into this second chance, so it will take hopefully many seasons for him to truly appreciate it. We are shooting the last episode of the season and, although he has more of an appreciation for it now than he did when he first came back, it should take him a long time to truly realize the amazing thing that has happened to him.

Pop Culture Principle – One theme in the series is with the twins who bring Pritchard back and the act of playing God. Will this be something that will be a constant throughout the first season?

Rand Ravich – Yes. In some ways Jimmy Pritchard is not the first monster that the Goodwin’s have created. The technological beast of Looking Glass is another version of him and, although Mary and Otto are protagonists, there’s something very interesting about how just because you can do it technologically, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Just because you can get metadata and listen to everything everybody does, should you? Just because you can bring somebody from the dead, should you?

One of the attributes of the traditional God, it has him bringing someone back from the dead. So that aspect of playing God will be woven into the DNA of the show throughout the series.

Pop Culture Principle – Do you think Second Chance offers the viewers an equal mix of drama, action, humor, and procedural?

Rand Ravich –I think so, and it’s the kind of television I like to watch and the kind of television I like to write. You can find yourself laughing at funerals because the unexpected thing about being alive is that you don’t know when something is going to strike you as funny. Certainly in the world of cops, the way they deal with the things that they see is to be funny about it. Those four things that you described about the show are intentional, and it’s difficult and it’s a tone of its own.

Pop Culture Principle – It seems there is a little bit of interest between Jimmy and Mary Goodwin. Will that relationship be explored throughout the first season?

Rand Ravich – Oh, yes. They are two people who would have never met in life. His blood is going into her, and they are connected. Not only is she responsible for bringing him back, they are connected like no two other people are. They fall into intimacy because of the process right away, but it takes them a season and the series to understand exactly what that intimacy means.

Pop Culture Principle – Would you consider Second Chance more of a science fiction series than a procedural?

Rand Ravich – It’s a science fiction series because it is the consequence of science that does everything wrong, from the plot points, the character points, the themes, and the series by and large. That’s my favorite kind of science fiction because it allows you to explore human nature. What it means to be a father, what it means to be a brother and sister, what it means to have power and not understand how it’s being used. It’s a drama, it’s a science fiction series, it has procedural elements, but it definitely lives in the science fiction world.

Pop Culture Principle – Right now you are obviously focused on the first season of Second Chance, but in the back of your mind, do you have an idea of where the show will go if you get a second season?

Rand Ravich – We know character-wise where we want to go with the second season. We know where they have all ended up, so we definitely have a roadmap.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the first season of Second Chance?

Rand Ravich – The first season of the series lives up to the promise of the pilot. The least likely man brought back from the dead and unleased on the town and his family. All the consequences both genetic and human that come with that. It is a clear, straight line until the final shot. It’s definitely going somewhere and, when you get there, you will be satisfied.

We'd like to thank executive producer Rand Ravich for his time discussing his new series. Remember, the series premiere of Second Chance is on Wednesday, January 13th at 9/8c only on Fox.

**Photo credit: Justin Stephens/Ed Araquel/FOX.
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