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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paint a target on Human Target

     Tonight on Fox, before 24 kicked off it's two night, four hour premiere, they decided to show a new action-packed show with spies, shootouts, and questionable ethics.  It's called Human Target, based on the comic book adventures by DC.  It was already turned into a failed summer television show in 1992, starring Rick Springfield, and lasting a mere seven episodes.  While I have not seen that version, it seems safe to say that this one is better, although by how much is debatable.  This time, the target himself, Christopher Chance, is played by Boston Legal's Mark Valley.  Though it has been met with favorable reaction by critics thus far, it certainly is far from original.  Exciting, yes.  Plenty of thrilling events, of course.  But staying power, I find it unlikely.

     Mark Valley does fine as the guy who makes himself a part of his client's lives to serve as part detective, part body guard.  He is appropriately tough, resourceful, suave, and smart.  He is supported by his business manager, Winston, played by Chi McBride (Boston Public), who is basically playing the same role he played on the recently canceled Pushing Daisies.  Joining the time this week, and as a series regular, is Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen), who used to be more bad than good, and seems very good at getting information.  Each are welcome character actors who fill the supporting roles admirably.

     In the first episode, Chance acts as an interpreter for guest star Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), and even after he stops the wood be assassin, they are still rocketing away on a train going two hundred miles per hour.  Then Chance and the girl save the passengers, but they are still stuck on a speeding engine.  This all went down after a bank standoff opening, totally unconnected to the rest of the episode.  There was also an unconnected scene at the end featuring Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon).  I was on the edge of my seat, and while it seems like it will likely be a procedural, it will probably be one of the better ones, if it survives.

     The problem for me is, like any procedural, character development will likely be low, if any.  Now how exciting Chance's adventures can be, keeping the adrenaline high week after week is hard to do, and it will likely produce its share of dud episodes along the way.  The show is built on a few quirky characters, and while that works for a handful of shows (Psych springs to mind), it is not a formula for a new classic.  It could easily become a show that sticks for awhile, but does not yet appear to be headed towards must-watch status.

     The show will run on Wednesday nights at 9pm on Fox.

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