If your perception of David Duchovny is entirely gleamed from his stint on The X-Files, then its fair to say that Californication might prove to be something of a shock. Far more in line with the actors grounding in more comedic (and slightly more raunchy) productions, Duchovny plays writer Hank Moody, a man surrounded by drink, drugs, sex and a multitude of problems.
Moody is constantly battling against writers block, as well as trying to keep his daughter and ex-girlfriend content. But Californications second season tones down the comedy elements that helped define the first so well, in favour of taking a slightly more serious look at the chaos that surrounds Moody. Thats not to say it surrenders its laughs--far from it, in fact--just that its less laugh out loud funny than first time around.
But there are still many, many strong moments to Californications second run, and while there are inevitably those who favour the tone of the first, by end of season two the subtle changes are paying dividends. You do have to cut the show some slack with some of its more obvious narrative devices, but Californication ultimately lives and dies on the strengths of its characters, and Duchovny has found a terrific use for his talents with Hank Moody.
Where will the show go with season three? A good question, that will be answered in due course, no doubt. For now, you cant accuse Californication of taking a safe option, and its second season is a fine piece of television.