In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb mv5bnda4ymmwmgity2mzos00odjilthmzdetyza5ngu4zjq5yjhixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 674 1000 al

Geostorm

God knows how many millions of dollars and hours of manpower went into making and remaking Geostorm but it turns out to have been all…

Thumb same kind of different as me

Same Kind of Different as Me

It can be hard to disagree with the heart and events of this true tale, except for when the movie reveals itself to be mighty…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary chance

Hulu’s “Chance” Fizzles When It Needs to Burn

Hulu’s newest original series, “Chance,” premiering today, October 19th, has the elements of great noir, but too often doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. There’s a femme fatale who may or may not be telling the complete truth. There’s an abusive husband from whom the hero can save the damsel-in-distress. There’s a tough guy there just to teach our protagonist about the seedy underbelly of the world. And there’s dialogue like “Question is not ‘Is it a game,’ question is ‘Who sets the rules?’” But “Chance,” despite a great cast and a pilot directed by Oscar nominee Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”), relies too much on coincidence and gullibility to be effective. And, more damagingly, doesn’t generate the sexual heat or sense of danger that great noir needs to resonate. As is, it feels more like an interesting exercise in genre, with perhaps enough plot twists to keep viewers engaged through the weekend, but nothing much of value to garner buzz beyond it.

Advertisement

Dr. Eldon Chance (Hugh Laurie) is a neuropsychiatrist who becomes infatuated with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone (Gretchen Mol), who claims that abuse from her husband Raymond (Paul Adelstein) has created a split personality named Jackie Stone. While Jaclyn wants to leave Raymond, although is too fearful to do so, the more sexually aggressive Jackie is still sleeping with him. Is Jackie real or a game that Jaclyn is playing? Over the first four episodes that I screened, it’s not only unclear but barely developed. To say Jaclyn/Jackie is an underdeveloped character would be an understatement. She’s essentially the pivot point on which our protagonist’s life turns but we spend almost no time with her.

In fact, Chance is in the company of a massive gentleman named D (Ethan Suplee) far more often than he is Jackie, or even his daughter Nicole (Stefania LaVie Owen). Chance meets D through a high-end furniture dealer named Carl (Clarke Peters), and D is the brawn to Chance’s brains. When the doctor tells his new muscular friend about Jaclyn, D offers to help, for a price. As Chance heads to the dark side of the tracks, he makes decisions that he may come to regret.

“Chance” is the kind of show that takes a long time to get where we know it’s going early on. A slow burn is not uncommon for noir—the private dick is often the last to know that the femme fatale is playing him—but that’s why they rely so heavily on atmosphere and sometimes even camp, both of which are lacking in this show that takes itself way too seriously and contains surprisingly little tension. The biggest problem is that one never feels any stakes in “Chance.” There’s no real connection to the characters—despite Laurie’s best efforts to make him feel genuine, the doctor can be inconsistently naïve—and so we don’t have a reason to care what happens to them.

Again, I’m a sucker enough for noirs and mysteries that I will likely finish out “Chance,” just to see what happens to our white knight doctor. “Chance” is the kind of show that could have been greatly helped by the streaming/binging format in that simple curiosity could keep viewers going to the next episode. Then again, multiple hours of this program in a row does highlight its faults. Maybe one should experience “Chance” like a weekly trip to the therapist—one hour at a time. 


Popular Blog Posts

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

Oscars Could Be Facing Dearth of Diversity Yet Again

A column on the lack of diversity in this year's potential Oscar nominees.

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus