Third-episode verdict: Human Target

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

Fox’s new action-adventure show Human Target started as something of a damp squib. The first episode aired to as much hype as humanly possible, and was bound to disappoint no matter what. With its combination of Hong Kong-style martial arts fights, zero proper characterisation, comic book plots and dialogue, and Thunderbirds scenarios, it was never going to be truly satisfying as a drama, more a way to pass time.

Since then, it’s kind of settled down and now wants to be a genre action movie of the week in a mere 40 minutes. Episode two saw our anonymous hero on board a crashing plane, trying to find who’s he supposed to protect and who’s trying to kill them, while episode three saw him mole-hunting in a Russian embassy.

It’s still very comic book – knowingly so. It’s got itself an interesting title sequence and a diabolical theme tune. Our hero is still stoic and a bit dull, despite Mark Valley’s best attempts, with most of the script flair going to Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley instead. There’s been the welcome arrival of CSI: NY‘s Emmanuelle Vaugler as a potential love-interest/partner/frenemy for Valley. To string us along, there’s a little bit of character background added to Valley’s character every week, although he’s not been built up so much that when we eventually find out who he actually he is, the inevitable anti-climax won’t be too great.

But it’s still really visual bubble gum: some decent fights, some bad CGI stunts and a bit of male camaraderie to appeal to a male teenage audience. It passes the time, won’t challenge you too much, will occasionally make you roll your eyes, and if you have something better to do, you’ll probably skip it in favour of something else.

It’s okay for what it does.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s verdict: Might last a season or two, but will get cancelled sooner rather than later if it doesn’t up its game


  • 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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