Gay Romance has gone from being “the obscure rarely talked about fiction in comics” to becoming the multimillion dollar cinematic ventures like the soon-to-be-released feature film “Tell The World I Love You”.
No one says it, but one of the main pioneers for the genre of Boys’ Love seems to be Thailand. With Thai production houses launching their new shows almost every month, it’s a wonder that the same cannot be said for Japan. Most of the archetypes used in different versions of BL dramas or films, feature the tropes and storytelling attributes found in Japanese Yaoi. All of which seem present for better or at times for the worse in Thailand’s latest production “Second Chance The Series”.
The series makes no secret of where it’s plot lies as it begins with one school boy professing his love to his best friend, which would be bold if it actually was relevant to the plot of the first two episodes. I’m going to assume it happens in the later half of the storyline. Why this dramatic scene was used for the starting credits is rather confusing or bemusing, as the acting was too over the top. Especially by Paper whose flamboyant hand gestures and odd facial expressions are a bit cringe worthy and felt out of place for the love confession he was denying.
His mood shifts and facial expressions sadly make me think the opening was overreacted. But as the show gets underway everything is forgotten, as he plays a more subdued version of the original scene. As Paper, student council president, he shines in his first main lead role. I must say it was a bit weird watching a twenty-nine-year-old actor playing a senior in high school but even Tay Taywan recently played one himself in a show last year. It always interests me how adults play younger roles based off their capability for acting while actors who are closer to the said age character roles never get them. It’s the same in many countries and I’ve always wondered why? Which probably comes back to the reality of the situation where the source material prefer featuring popular actors for the younger characters.
The actors in “Second Chance The Series” are a unique mixture of first timers and veterans. One of the supporting couples from Tharntype play new roles building on their growing fan base. The lazy jock Chris is played by Mawin Tanawin while the reserved Jeno is played by Run Kanthatheephop. And Paper is played by Tong Thanayut, who at this point is becoming a veteran to BL shows after “Tharntype Season One and Two” and the upcoming “KimPorche The Series”. While three of the cast members belong to the Tharntype franchise, one comes from the series “With Love”. Despite that, they all play gay roles and share screen time evenly for most of the parts. The adorable Near is played by Games Nanthipat and rounding the cast is Tong Fah played by Fluke Chinnathan. Unfortunately the pacing of the show reminds me of “Oxygen The Series”. I feel less connected to main couple Tong Fah/Paper and I’m majorly intrigued with the second lead couple Jeno/Chris (which is how I felt about Solo/Gui over Phu/Kao).
I have major reservations regarding this show. As it checks every box on what we have come to expect from a BL series, the show doesn’t give Tong Fah and Paper much space or storyline to work with. Instead, the pair encompass each other’s space for almost every scene one in the drama or stare at each other a beat too long. But we have no actual signs of romance. They simply exist!
They are childhood best friends who now are inseparable and we are supposed to just assume, that is why this pair acts like boyfriends. But aren’t. While jock Chris and Jeno which is victimized at the hands of his ex lover turned bully Arthur, have a more developed story. I’ve never been a fan of pre-established lovers or friends, because we always feel we miss something. And from the foreshadowing opening to how the pair act through the first two episodes it’s clear we don’t know their entire story.
The script for the series coupled with the odd pacing makes it a bit slow for the premiere. Beautifully shot, it’s not something really new per say. You have the three close friends with determined love interests. Two of the three need saving and the way it is shot, the submissive always seem smaller even if they aren’t actually that way. Some are misunderstood by the objects of their affections and some just generally oblivious to the other person’s affections.
But what makes the show stand out is how it deals with these situations. There is a darker element to it in the forms of verbal and physical abuse that the weaker character’s suffer from. Ignoring the consistent bullying aspect, these scenes depict the boys as weaker prey for a malicious teenager who lost his love presumably because of his own actions. I do find it clever how a lot of the cast are interconnected by the actions of Arthur the bully. None of them are perfect, they are flawed and have their own wants, which I feel is something missing in many modern BLs.
Overall “Second Chance the Series” is a show worthwhile watch for the individual characters you latch onto and enjoy. But overall, I feel the show is definitely worth your time and I hope as it gets farther along as we get a better understanding of the characters.
Rating-3 out of 5