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Human Target: Episode 1.01 'Pilot' Review
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
A TV show based on a comic character, does it work?
Fox aired the first episode of Human Target last night, based on the DC Comics character created in 1972. Human Target features Mark Valley as Christopher Chance, the lead character, Chi McBride as Winston and Jackie Earle Haley as Guerrero (nice name). Human Target first appeared as a feature in Action Comics #419. More recently the character surfaced in Vertigo's 2003 mini series written by Peter Milligan.
In the comics, Christopher Chance works as a bodyguard/private investigator. He's a highly trained man with no apparent fear and puts himself in dangerous situations to save his clients. In the pilot episode, we jump right into the action. Chance is in the middle of a hostage crisis. He ends up fighting a guy that has a shotgun and a bomb strapped to himself. Let's just say things result with a big explosion that almost felt like the show was showing off its budget. Mark Valley carries himself as the big tough guy but I was getting tired of it before the opening credits even hit. As "cool" as Christopher Chance may be, we don't get any back story on him. We don't know what motivates him or why he can handle just about any situation. Perhaps all this will come in a later episode.
I mentioned the shows budget and ability to have a nice big explosion. This could be with having a small cast. Chi McBride's character handles the business/office side of their firm. He's the one that first deals with the clients and he's the one that Chance will ignore if he decides to simply do what he feels like doing. Jackie Earle Haley plays the questionable information gatherer. There is even less known about his character. Haley's character does come across nicely as he handles two thugs by using his talents rather than pretending to have any semblance of toughness.
The main plot of the first episode had moments of entertainment but unfortunately also had many plot holes. Christopher Chance is hired to serve as the translator to Tricia Helfer's character, the designer of a very expensive super train. It seemed a little odd that her character knew about a dangerous and deadly flaw in the train's designs yet nothing was done about it before the maiden voyage. There's a big fight scene on the train that's very well choreographed but felt a little long. Valley shows that his character can handle any situation and can take a serious beating with ease. There was a moment that had me wondering, how come whenever someone gets shot while wearing a bullet proof vest, they immediately take it off. Is the vest no longer of any use? Is it to show us that they were wearing one? The blood on Chance also looked pretty fake. This may be a minor thing but blood shouldn't be so bright. Despite the huge ordeal the characters go through and survive on the train, it seems that no one required any medical care whatsoever. Good news for insurance providers.
The show does have some potential. It's nice seeing a real television show instead of another reality/competition show. Human Target does seem very ambitious. Despite it's efforts though, it's pretty formulaic. We don't know anything about Christopher Chance. Why are we supposed to care about him? You don't need to know anything about the comic to watch the show but perhaps that would give an idea what motivates the character (check out his character page to possibly see what makes him tick on the show). Human Target will be following American Idol in its regular time slot. This doesn't seem like the best lead-in for this type of show. Are they taking a chance with this scheduling? Let's hope the show has the chance to find it's feet and give us the action and adventure that today's television needs.
I'd have to give the show a 3 out of 5. The dialogue and plot holes almost were too much for me. I understand that this was just the pilot. I'm willing to give the show another shot with the second episode. It just doesn't look too likely that I'll be willing to commit to this.