Human Target - Hey I Liked It a Lot!

After my evaporating interest in the new V, I was wondering if I could hook into ANY new American TV series. Human Target was just about the only new thing I was going to give a chance to this year and well, well, well, it was actually a great bit of fun!

The concept, pulled from the DC Comics character of the same name, is that of a bodyguard who takes the place of someone close to you and lets the killer reveal himself, thereby allowing Christopher Chance the opportunity to stop him (or her). In the comics, Chance was a master of disguise à la Ethan Hunt, but in the tv series, Chance just goes undercover in the intented victim's environment. The TV Chance, played by the lantern-jawed Mark Valley of Boston Legal and Fringe, is a James Bond-type with incredible talents (learn a specific Japanese regional accent for a single job), a death wish that allows him to laugh as he jumps out of a bullet train, and a très très cool attitude. This is a character who takes jobs based on the cool stuff he'll get to do, and if he's having fun, I'm having fun.

The show looks like it has money behind it, with effects shots, a random Danny Glover cameo, and a really beautiful opening sequence. Just look at this beauty:

I can't say I care much for the theme though, and in fact, the one thing I didn't care for was the music. The show has wall-to-wall music that is never memorable, sometimes covers up dialogue, and frequently seems to play against the action.

But that's a minor complaint, really. Human Target is fun action show that doesn't take itself seriously, and manages to create set pieces I haven't really seen before, like Chance's no-nonsense confrontation with a hostage taker, and the fight inside an air duct aboard a speeding train:
Chance has a small supporting cast that includes the always solid Chi McBride as Chance's exasperated partner Winston, and Jackie Earle Haley as Guerrero, a very interesting criminal type Chance employs.
This guy is a small as Winston is big, and yet he's the scariest character in the show. There doesn't seem to be anything he won't do, and so I predict he'll be a fan favorite if the show gets to go on for a while. This is FOX, so there's a good chance it'll get a solid following and be cancelled after half a season, but I'm trying to be optimistic. If you missed the pilot, the second episode is tomorrow on its regular Wednesday night time slot, and Chance gets to barrel roll a 747. Boo-ya!

[Edit: And the pilot re-airs after American Idol tonight.]


snell said...

Actually, if you missed the pilot, Fox is re-running it tonight (Tuesday) after Idol (9pm EST).

I enjoyed was much better than it had to be, which was unusual for a Foz pilot. Although I continue to wonder, why pay $ for a particular comic book concept, if you're not going to actually use that concept in the show? Losing the disguise angle loses on of the more interesting portions of the you're left with just a bodyguard premise. Which is fine, but then why did you need to make him the Human Target? Is Fox just enamored with the name??

Siskoid said...

Obviously, you want your actor to be visible.

As for why pay for the concept if you're going to change it, well, it's probably all down to development. DC puts it out there, it gets picked up and paid for, and in development, it turns into something else. Regardless of the changes, its roots continue to be acknowledged.

And maybe there's a perceived advantage to have the DC bullet on it, not just with fans of the comics (since Human Target is probably unknown by a large portion of the comic-buying public), but with people who've enjoyed comic book movies (the real payolla). An action show without a comic book connection certainly wouldn't have attracted MY attention, so wouldn't have gotten play on this blog. The SBG isn't a big thing, but if the bigger guys also took an interest, ran the trailers, etc. (as they do with Jonah Hex, but no other westerns, for example), that's probably free marketing.

Not that I know anything about anything.

Matthew Turnage said...

I might not have tuned in if it weren't for the comic connection, either, but I was also impressed. My only real complaint was that Len Wein and Carmine Infantino's names were squeezed into the closing credits and not included in the opening titles.

The music didn't really have an impact on me one way or another. I noticed Bear McCreary provided the score for the episode, which slightly disappointed me because his Battlestar Galactica music was always so distinctive.

Speaking of BSG, are all that show's alumni ending up on FOX now? Tricia Helfer (Six) had a large role in the Human Target pilot and Donnelly Rhodes (Doc Cottle) had a small role in the same episode. Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) has a regular role on 24 this season and apparently Callum Keith Rennie (Leoben) will play a villain on 24 this season as well. Plus there's Tahmoh Penikett (Helo) on the soon-to-be-cancelled Dollhouse. I'm wondering if I should look for Edward James Olmos as a guest judge on American Idol this season.

Siskoid said...

As I mentioned in one of my V reviews, genre shows seem to be using genre actors to generate interest. I dunno. (V has people culled from Lost and Firefly.)

maybe it's because genre producers watch genre shows and are attracted to the actors therein. 24is now run by a couple of Star Trek people, after all.

Austin Gorton said...

I enjoyed this as well. I thought it had a fun 80s action-drama vibe to it.

Oddly enough, while I know the gist of the Human Target comic, I've never actually read any issues, and I knew going in that the show had ditched the "master of disguise" angle for visibility issues, yet still, it was the comic book connection that got my attention where it otherwise may not have.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I agree with you. I am going to enjoy the hell out of this show until Fox finds some way to mess it up. Since they are not singing bad kareoke and its not animated no one on that network will care about it. I could get used to a Fringe/Human Target double feature on a decent night of the week that is not Thursday or Friday.

I may also be the only one who missed that montage in the old Rick Springfield Human Target show when he transformed into the person he was protecting. Of course that only works if the person being protected in the extact same size and shape as Chance so I guess I am happy they abandoned that right away.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Oh..and does anyone else notice that this post has generated the longest set of comments I have ever seen anywhere?

Siskoid said...

Really? You should get out more ;)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Okay, now THAT is funny.

Anonymous said...

Everyone fastens where there is gain.........................................

spacekicker said...

It was great. I loved the whole thing, it was fun. FUN!! When was the last time you saw an action adventure that was FUN!

rob! said...

That credit sequence is nice. In age where opening crawls are reduced to mere seconds, this seems like a throwback--I dig it!

I hope Len Wein sees a buck or two from all this, but I doubt it.

Jack Norris said...

Okay, I'm going to give this a try, now.
And, yeah, that credit sequence really calls for music that's, well... groovier, as well as more "action-y" and distinctive. Something recalling Barry Gray or classic-era John Barry in the "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" theme mode.


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