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It’s been almost four years since Hugh Laurie graced our screens as smart and screwed up Dr. Gregory House on House. And, while Laurie has been pursued for other leading television roles since then, he hasn’t agreed to take any of them, until now, that is.
Chance, from author Kem Nunn, is based on his book of the same name. Deadline reports that the show has already gotten a twenty episode, two season order from streaming giant, Hulu. The channel landed the show by bidding for it against more established, traditional networks, much in the same way that Netflix did when they grabbed House of Cards with a two season order a few years ago. The show will premiere sometime this year.
Kem Nunn’s book is a psychological thriller that concentrates on the life of a forensic neuropsychiatrist in San Francisco, Eldon Chance. He becomes embroiled in a violent underworld after making a bad decision regarding a charming patient who might have a multiple personality disorder. Chance soon finds that he’s a target of the woman’s dangerous spouse, who, as it just so happens, is a hard-nosed police detective. The doctor is also dealing with antagonistic divorce proceedings and his teenage daughter’s growing pains. The dark, twisty story involves fractured identities, psychiatric mystery, sexual obsession, and horribly realistic violence.
Hugh Laurie has, obviously, dealt with a character who has some dark tendencies, but Chance sounds like it will help the actor hit a new level of shadowy seediness. House was certainly filled with dramatic moments, but the drama wasn’t so heightened that you felt like people were going to be killed or have their lives ruined by some unseen force of nature that had it out for them. But, Chance sounds exactly like that’s the kind of tense, amped up, almost-scary, thrill ride of a show we’ll be in for when the series debuts.
As an actor, Hugh Laurie has specialized in smart snark and straight up comedy. Laurie’s impressive list of credits features several raucous comedies, including two iterations of the Black Adder series, Jeeves and Wooster and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. But, his eight seasons on House showed us how gifted he is at both drama and dark comedy. So, it’ll be interesting to see him work with material that is dark in the extreme. It’s almost impossible to believe that he won’t add a hint of comedic sparkle to some of the show, since that seems to be one of the things he’s best at.
So, is playing another eponymous doctor a good idea for Hugh Laurie? Generally, I’d say no. But, because Chance is going to be so different from any leading roles he’s had before, he’s obviously looking forward to the challenge the show will present. And, if nothing else, it’s good for him to surprise us.