Review: Human Target 1×1

Comic book to the core

Human Target

In the US: Wednesdays, 9pm, Fox

Why would a man choose to put himself in the line of fire? Well, you’re not going to find out from a show like Human Target, are you? It’s on Fox.

But at the very least, you’ll probably have a bit of escapist, not particularly clever fun with lots of stunts while you’re watching it. That, at least, is the most plausible thing about it.

It takes a brave, selfless man to make himself a “human target” in order to save the lives of those in danger. Based on the popular DC Comics comic book and graphic novel, HUMAN TARGET is a full-throttle action drama centered on CHRISTOPHER CHANCE (Mark Valley), a unique private contractor/security expert/bodyguard hired to protect.

Call him what you like, because for Chance, it’s about one thing only: saving his clients’ lives. When there is an unusual or imminent threat that can’t be solved through “normal” means of protection, Chance is hired to completely integrate himself into his clients’ lives – to become the human target. If you’re a corporate manager whose disgruntled employee has gone violently off the deep end, Chance is your new auditor. If you’re the president of a bank who’s been tipped off to a potential heist, Chance is your unassuming bank teller..

During each job, Chance, assisted by his business partner WINSTON (Chi McBride) and hired gun GUERRERO (Jackie Earle Haley), puts himself directly in the line of fire as he races against time to save his client. Chance’s dark history will unravel with every new danger. Does anyone know who Christopher Chance really is? What secrets lay buried in his past? What would make a man willingly become a HUMAN TARGET?

HUMAN TARGET is a production of Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Television. McG, Jonathan E. Steinberg, Brad Kern, Kevin Hooks and Peter Johnson serve as executive producers. Simon West (“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”) served as executive producer and director on the pilot.

Is it any good?
It would be fair to say that Human Target is ever so slightly comic bookish. Given it’s from a comic book originally, that’s not entirely surprising, but the show’s producers haven’t really tried to turn it into anything else during its transition to the small screen. As a result, from the get-go, you know you can disengage your brain because that’s what’s expected of you.

Other than that, there’s not much to Human Target. A client whose life has been threatened turns up; “Christopher Chance” (Mark Valley from Fringe) agrees to stick close by, undercover, so that when the murder attempts happens, he’s there to foil it; it all goes very slightly pear-shaped in a way that requires martial arts fights, guns, etc, etc; meanwhile, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley try to work out the bigger picture.

The stunts are well done, and have a slight Hong Kong feel to them, even if they also have an air of comic book unreality to them as well. There’s not much by way of acting going on, although Jackie Earle Haley is quite fun. The plot was too Gerry Anderson (à la Thunderbirds) to take seriously. Attempts to give some kind of depth to Christopher Chance aren’t especially convincing or useful. But there were a few good one-liners, since the show does at least know it’s not supposed to be taken seriously.

It’s basically just an excuse for a bit of fun every week.

Not especially worth watching, but a reasonable way to pass an hour if you’re feeling action-deprived and 24‘s a bit full on for you.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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