Boys Will Be Boys (1988)
Second Chance (1987-1988)
Type: Series Revamp
The Fox network had a unique and never before tried method to try and achieve ratings success. They would find a bright, up and coming star, put him in a so so series, pull the series off the air, tinker with it and weaken it further, rename it and return it to the schedule, cancel it and then let the up and coming star go over to become a huge mega star for NBC on Friends.
Follow that plan? Even if you did I'm sure it sounded ludicrous. But Fox followed that game plane TWICE! The first time they tried it in 1987 with Matthew Perry in a show that was first called Second Chance and then was changed to Boys Will Be Boys. Then later they did it again with Matt LeBlanc in Top Of The Heap/Vinnie And Bobby. Odd strategy for success really. Top Of The Heap is a story for another page though so lets get to Second Chance.
Second Chance was a high concept show. It was about a guy named Charles Russell who in the near not so distant future gets himself killed. He goes to heaven and it turns out he's not really a saint worthy of heaven or a sinner deserving of hell. What to do? They send him back to Earth and back in time to 1987 as a full grown adult. The idea is that the adult him must act as a guiding force to make his 1987 teenage self, who goes by the name Chazz and was played by Matthew Perry, a better person worthy of heaven and thus make himself a better person worthy of heaven. Get that? To accomplish this, Charles adopts a false name and becomes a boarder from his own mother so as to better keep an eye on... himself...
Like I said it was high concept, which is Hollywood talk for really damned far fetched and confusing. Quite frankly the late 80's wasn't a big time for high concept. The 60's was - The Munsters, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian... not the 80's. Nobody watched. Fox overhauled the show mid season and gave in a... second chance! Hahahaha. I know, a horrible quip but it still probably got more laughs than Second Chance or its second incarnation Boys Will Be Boys.
Boys Will Be Boys ditched the whole dead guy rehabilitating his younger self thing and concentrated instead on the wacky misadventures of Chazz and his buddies. I guess older Charles made Chazz marginally less sinful enough to get in the pearly gates. Anyway, without him the show was just another stupid teen show and those are a dime a dozen. Good ones with unique style and writing to distinguish them are rare gems. Boys Will Be Boys was no gem. After one season of the show - actually two half seasons if you count this as two shows - Fox mercifully put the show out its misery so that Matthew Perry could bop over to super stardom on NBC a few years later.
Note to Fox: next time try more than one up and coming talent per show, good writing with a unique point of view... some viewers wouldn't hurt either.
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