19 December 2001 | doctorwholittle
Let's Hear It For The "Underdogs"
This series had so much going against it from its outset that it's a true wonder it ever saw the (brief) light of day. A relatively unknown comic book character, a much-maligned "rock star" lead, & two proven yet not wildly popular producers do NOT a hit series make.
An obscure DC Comics character (created in the mid-'60s by writer LEN WEIN) wouldn't exactly seem to be the best fodder for a proposed TV series, but DANNY BILSON & PAUL DeMEO (the wunderkind behind the "Trancers" series of movies, "The Rocketeer", "The Flash", "The Sentinel", "Viper") were able to add an intriguing new spin on what was once a "filler story" character. As with all good writers, they fleshed out the character of Christopher Chance (nicely portrayed by veteran rocker / actor RICK SPRINGFIELD), giving this former cardboard cut-out a history, a purpose, & above all, angst & neuroses.
Chris Chance is a Viet Nam veteran, formerly an officer in Special Ops (presumedly an assassin) who turned his back on killing & violence after a nervous breakdown left him in a V.A. hospital. He decided to use his rather specialised skills to help people who are in a jam by assuming their identities until the bad guys got rousted, hence the title of the character & the series.
Chance assmbled a highly-skilled, diverse team of operatives to help him in his work: Libby (SIGNY COLEMAN), a former CIA analyst, Philo (KIRK BALTZ), a top-shelf Hollywood FX makeup artist, & Jeff (SaMi CHESTER), a trained pilot & buddy of Chance's from their stint in 'Nam.
Although the '92 summer series only lasted seven episodes, it was well-done, using what was at the time state-of-the-art FX, & utilising some of more brilliant, if unknown to the general public, writers in the comic & TV field (comic book veteran HOWIE CHAYKIN immediately springs to mind). Springfield was able to convey a wonderful sense of depth & melancholy that was apropos for the character (while he was the correct age to portray Chris Chance, his boyish looks had the unfortunate tendency to undermine the seriousness of his character), the supporting team did equally fine jobs (most notably Chester), & the guests who were brought in (SCOTT PAULIN, DAVID CLENNON, RICHARD BELZER, HARRY GUARDINO, R. LEE ERMEY, & KEVIN McCARTHY) only served to thicken an already rich broth.
I don't know if any further episodes were made or commissioned, but it would've been fascinating to see how many diverse directions this series & its characters could've taken, given the... chance.