Fox’s “Human Target” is one of those shows that’s easy to like. It’s also very easy to sit through, and when it’s good, it’s very good; and even when it’s not good, it’s still very watchable. The complete first season, wihch includes 12 episodes, is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.
Are you in extreme danger? Need special security? Is there a bullet out there with your name on it? Leave it to Chance. Mark Valley is protector-for-hire Christopher Chance in the thrill-packed 12-Episode Season 1 based on the DC Comics series and graphic novel. From piloting a distressed, upside-down jumbo jet to bodyguarding a D.A. targeted by a gang, Chance puts his life on the line — and each new adventure reveals a little about the mysterious past that drew him to this line of work. Chi McBride as ops manager Winston and Jackie Earle Haley as techno genius/fixer Guerrero are Chance’s ace support crew in a series bursting with “brilliantly off-kilter characters and high production values” (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times).
Complete First Season Review:
“Human Target” was built to run on network TV. In a lot of ways, it’s a throwback show, and sports one of those strong, action-first, questions-later male leads (Mark Valley most definitely has the square jaw and honest face to play the hero), capable supporting crews (Chi McBride gets straight man duties), and the kind of storytelling that doesn’t necessarily break moulds (most of the episodes are pretty predictable, and real-world logic rarely factors into solutions).
In this case, that’s just fine with me. There’s something to be said about enjoying by-the-numbers action. Though to be fair to “Human Target”, the show does offer up an additional layer — leading man Christopher Chance’s history, which is interweaved throughout the first season, culminating in a confrontation with Chance’s violent past. In this case, personified by Armand Assante in a menacing guest spot. The show also features plenty of flashbacks to how the three male leads came to form their very dysfunctional team, and honestly, these are some of the show’s best moments.
Highlights from the first season include a couple of episodes featuring recurring character FBI Agent Emma Barnes, played by the always gorgeous Emmanuelle Vaugier, who for some reason has not landed her own show yet. Also, any episode where Jackie Earle Haley’s Guerrero gets to intimidate the crap out of someone is a winner. I am still amazed Haley is on the show given his blossoming movie career, to be perfectly honest with you. Where does he find the time? The first season also has its share of bad filler episodes, including the idiotic “Victoria”, which was stupidly positioned as the pen-ultimate episode of season one. The season one finale, “Christopher Chance”, feels rushed, but should leave most viewers satisfied and anxious for season two.
Like most freelance heroes, Chance has a damsel-in-distress of the week to go along with his case-of-the-week. The aforementioned Emmanuelle Vaugier fills out two of the 12 episodes, while Moon Bloodgood shows up for the Alaska-set “Tanarak”, and “Battlestar Galactica’s” Grace Park brings her bodacious figure to “Corner Man”. Park’s “BSG” co-star Tricia Helfer fills out the role nicely in the pilot episode, and TV damsel-in-distress vet Kristin Lehman does the honors in “Run”.
Blu-ray Special Features:
Two Making-of Featurettes:
Two lengthy featurettes, both about 15 minutes long, called “Confidential Informant” and “Full Contact Television”. “Informant” is essentially all about the history of the Christopher Chance character; “Contact” shows off the show’s action scenes. Lots of talking heads intercut with scenes of people shooting, getting shot, stabbed, and blown up from the first season.
Running commentary on the pilot episode with executive producers Jonathan E. Steinberg and Peter Johnson, who are joined by leading man Mark Valley and straight man Chi McBride. All four guys are in the same room, which is the best way to do a commentary. The two producers do most of the talking, which is fine, but it’s not nearly as loosey goosey as I usually like my commentaries, which usually is the result of getting a bunch of actors in a room together.
Deleted scenes from three episodes, “Embassy Row” (2:46 mins.), “Sanctuary” (1 min.), and “Christopher Chance” (2:47 mins.).