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.

Plot
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.




  • If Chi McBride doesn’t knit or make pop-up books I’ll be very disappointed.

  • The thing is, they changed the comic book concept because Human Target is a series about a guy who actually becomes the target. Fox apparently didn’t want a show that would have a different leading man each week though, so they altered the concept to suit them.
    It’s a shame because a series with a different actor in the role each week would be interesting, but would probably be cancelled after a half dozen episodes.

  • MediumRob

    @Stuart: Yes, you will be disappointed
    @Aaron: Sounds even more daft as a concept than the TV show. What’s the effing point of that? “I know, I’ll get killed instead.” “And what happens when they come after me next week?” “Erm.” It’s a big Global Frequency, too

  • @Aaron plus it’s what the studio wanted Dollhouse to be which was unworkable because there’s no single main character for the audience to return to each week. It’s one of the reasons anthology series rarely work.

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  • Anonymous

    sounds like you dont even like television in general.

  • Because that’s the thing everyone says about me – I just don’t like TV. Me with my 3,000+ entry TV blog…