Human Target (Fox) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Human Target

FOX, Premiere: Sunday 8/7c; Wednesdays 9/8c

Jan 17, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The eyebrows of comic book geeks everywhere no doubt raised with the prospect of Fox adapting DC's Human Target series into a high-octane, 24-esque thriller. I was certainly one of the fans of the fun comic book series and graphic novel that centered on Christopher Chance impersonating his clients, while investigating who wants to bump them off. DC's version was captivating in that old-school espionage way and rarely pandered to the masses. Fox's stale adaptation is a wholly different proposition. The pilot airs at 8/7c tonight as a lead-in for 24's season eight premiere, before moving to Wednesday at the 9 p.m. slot. Target's overall style harkens back to action-adventure/detective serials of the 1970s in both its rudimentary plot and its reliance on stale action tropes.

Christopher Chance (Fringe and Boston Legal actor Mark Valley) is still a private bodyguard/contractor/security expert hired to aide those in peril, by making himself a "human target." Chance has no superpowers, aside from his uncanny knack for outfoxing the heavies in each episode. In the series premiere, Chance must protect a woman on a futuristic(!) California bullet train (action trope #1) and in Wednesday's episode he commandeers a 737 and flies it upside down (action trope #2). Despite many plot holes and inane action sequences, Human Target's acting ensemble is top-knotch. Chance is aided by hired gun Guerrero (Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley) and business partner/comedic foil Winston (Pushing Daisies' Chi McBride). The acting chops are certainly there, but the writers don't provide little for these thespians to chew. Sadly, Haley's role is reduced to a human plot summarizer who also happens to be a computer cracker.

Valley confidently walks the line between wry humor and calculative bad-ass quite well and the second episode, entitled "Rewind," sees him evolve into more than just another Jack Bauer clone. Also, the producers should be given kudos for actually honoring the fun balance of drama and comedy originally found in the comic book. Even the always-engaging Haley gets more things to do in the second episode. Eye candy nuts will get a kick out of all the explosions, bright colors, and sexy women too. All that doesn't gloss over the shortcuts taken in the scripts to cram the action sequences into each through-line. That "shocking twist" in the second episode could be forcasted in the first five minutes. Human Target may not aim for the bullseye, but you could do much worse in finding hour-long, escapist adventures on TV these days. (www.fox.com/humantarget)

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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