CBS absolutely loves their procedurals, whether you’re talking about Criminal Minds, NCIS, Magnum, P.I. or numerous others. Give the network a beginning, a middle and an end in a single hour format, and they’re delighted. Well, they’re really going out there with what could very well be as unique a procedural as you’re going to find: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. You know, the grunter who proclaims, “Fire, bad!” and throws little girls in lakes and spends half his time battling villagers with burning torches? Now, apparently, he’s going to be solving crimes, and actor Ryan Phillippe (remember from early on in Cruel Intentions or, more recently, Shooter?) is the guy playing him in a pilot titled Alive.
Describes Deadline: “Alive centers on Mark Escher (Phillippe), a San Francisco homicide detective who’s mysteriously brought back to life after being killed in the line of duty. But as he resumes his old life and he and his wife Elizabeth (Katrina Law) realize he isn’t the same person he used to be, they zero in on the strange man behind his resurrection: Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Aaron Staton).” This version of Victor Frankenstein is a fugitive from the ethics board in China, who has been working on a top secret project that — no secret here — is connected with Escher’s revival.
The premise sounds somewhat similar to the one of 2016’s Second Chance, about a billionaire bio-engineer who is able to bring a murdered elderly corrupt police officer back to life and put his mind in another body. It, too, started with the concept of taking Frankenstein and giving it a modern setting and take with a character solving crimes.
As that show’s executive producer/showrunner Ran Ravich told us in an exclusive interview at the time: “It started off very big with the Frankenstein myth and the idea of what happens if you create something that you’re morally unprepared for. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something. Having the technology isn’t enough of an excuse.”
“Then,” he added, “when we funneled it into a character, it broke away from that and became about this character. Frankenstein‘s more about the doctor, this is more about the lead character. It’s about the character of Jimmy Pritchard. What happens when you come back and you have a second chance? Well, it really became about that, so it became very human. What would you do with your child, with your granddaughter, or do in a city where you made a mess of things? How would you try to fix it? Can you fix it, and will you make more mistakes? That also plays for the scientists — they created something and now it’s out there on its own. Can we control it? Can they correct its mistakes or will they keep continuing to spin things out of control?”
That was obviously a very different show, but the premises don’t exactly sound that far apart. It will be interesting to see what happens with this new version of Frankenstein.