Human Target: Season 1
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Human Target: Season 1

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After putting up with aggravating situation after another during your work day there is nothing quite like kicking back at home and watching a good old fashion action adventure on television. There are a few things about this type of show that is downright cathartic. An action series like the one under consideration here, ‘Human Target’ , is an enjoyable departure from reality were you can imagine yourself as the ruggedly handsome action hero ready to do anything necessary to protect his charge from the heinous danger ready to lash out. There is no advanced degree in forensic sciences required, no intricate legal issues to pounder or salacious soap opera plot lines to muddle the stories. The production is admittedly a bit over the top but that is a large part of the appeal of this series. It has been a very long time since I found myself into a show for no other reason than I enjoy watching it. The premise of the series is simple; former assassin make a major change in his life from callously taking life to risking every to protect the life of his client this sets up one of the most popular themes in literature, redemption. People love watching such a transformation and how it offers the hope that even the worse people have the potential to change for the better. The Fox network has been working on their reputation for fast pace action and now that their flagship in that quarter, ‘24’, has concluded its run ‘Human Target is poised to take up the mantle. Unlike ‘24’ there is no real hidden agenda here although the main character does have a dark past that gradually is revealed over the initial season. Other than that all that matters here is to watch an action series that in some ways reminds me of the old serials that played in our local theaters on Saturday afternoon.

The series is very loosely based on the comic crested by Len Wein. The connection between the conic and series is tenuous at best with practically the only element to survive the transition is the name of the main character, Christopher Chance (Mark Valley). While in the comic Chance impersonates his client in order to protect him but here he uses more conventional means of surveillance and protection. Part of this decision may be involved in an underlying format used in the production. Unlike other forms of action entertainment this one is light on the special effects. Most of the stunts and effects are practical not the product of a computer programmer’s imagination. This adds to that Saturday afternoon feel and gets the series a much different structure than others in the genre. the comic had too much of a ‘Mission Impossible’ reveal to it so that bringing the concept to TV in that form would have seemed hackney. As it is Chance may work within the framework of a highly professional team but ultimately his actions are of the ‘lone wolf’ variety. There have been several notable ‘heroes for hire’ series over the years beginning with an old west twist on Have Gun Will Travel’ right through ‘Stingray’ and ‘The Equalizer’. I have always been a fan of this type of series and strongly believe there are a lot like minded people out there. The idea that you can hire somebody to loyally defend you puts a person somewhat on the same level of the President and his trusted Secret Service agents.

Prior to the events depicted in the series Chase had been a highly prized and priced operative for ‘The Old Man’. Mostly that job consisted of executing the given target as efficiently as possible until he breaks one of the prime tenants of his profession; he falls in love with a target, Katherine Walters. Chase leave that employment moving to San Francisco to form an elite security/protection firm taken on a business partner, former police detective Laverne Winston (Chi McBride). Normally Winston works the back office or close by in an electronically tricked out van but can rise to the occasion when called upon for field work. acting as backup and contact when the services of a specialist are required is another former agent of the ‘Old Man’, Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) he had been sent to finish the young woman when Chase refused to complete his assignment but followed suit by going rouge as well. He may look like a lanky, unassuming man far different from Chases well developed form but he is every bit as deadly not to mention extremely intelligent and a master at tactics.

It has to be kept in mind that this series resides on the fantasy end of the action spectrum. You have to go into watching this show with a good size suspension of belief. One of many examples of this occurs in the second episode when Chase extinguishes fire and reboots a commercial jet’s onboard computer by taking the pilot’s seat and flipping the plane flying it upside down. The fact that Chase is not a jumbo jet pilot pales in comparison to the flagrant disregard for the established law of physics. This makes the following; crawling around the access ducts of the plane in order to bypass the computer with a passenger’s laptop, seem almost plausible. This series is exceptionally versatile able to switch from one setting to a completely different one with ease. Right after the plane episode Chase is doing his James Bond thing at a black tie affair. The plot device of a wide range of clients opens up a broad selection of premises for each episode keeping the series fresh and exciting.

Confidential Informant: From Page To Screen
Full Contact Television: On-Screen Action
Unaired Scenes
Pilot Commentary
Audio Mix Enhanced From Broadcast (Blu-ray version only)

Posted 09/22/2010

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