Now, I have to admit that I wanted Human Target to be good, for reasons that have nothing to do with my desires to watch. Y’see, the character is based on a 1970s comic book feature, co-created by a pal of mine, Len Wein (note: I’m not trying to pass him off as a lends-me-money-and-crashes-on-my-couch pal, more of a run-into-each-other-locally-and-say-hi pal.) Now, this is not a rarity for Len; odds are good that if you see some 1970s comic book concept making it to the screen, Len had a hand in it (as with Swamp Thing and Wolverine). And in the case of Human Target, he created it for a publisher that is fairly good about rewarding their creators for other-media use of their work. So for Len, I wish a success, and while a good work doesn’t guarantee this, it makes it more likely.
The good news is, it’s good. Last might’s pilot showed a lot of promise. It’s about Christopher Chance, an extreme-situation bodyguard with detective chops (among a wide range of other abilities). Played by Mark Valley of Boston Legal, he has a support team made up of Chi McBride from Boston Public and Jack Earle Haley from Watchmen (which was neither based in Boston nor developed on David E. Kelley… but it was based on a comic book series edited by Len Wein). The pilot was a real action show, largely making good use of a setting – a high-speed train – to make different chases, fights, and escapes. It’s unabashed about being an action show. There’s little sense that it’s going to turn into a truly serial drama; it looks like it will instead make the most of making each episode its own adventure (of course, sometimes pilots mislead.) The ultra-able Chance is well played and worth paying attention to, able to mix playing cool with handling the rough stuff. The action was taken more seriously than the mystery portion of the episode. Everything was well-handled, well-shot. The action played a lot better than some of the action in major movies, because they’re willing to hold their show or at least show you the set-up so you understand who is where relative to one another.
Well worth a watch (if you can find it: the pilot aired on Sunday at 8, the next episode will air Wednesday at 9, and then after that it moves to Wednesday at 8.)