‘Target’ misses the bullseye, still enjoyable

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I finally got around to watching the pilot for Fox’s new action series Human Target. Being a fan of the comic book it’s based on (created by the awesome Len Wein and Carmine Infantino), I was somewhat disappointed by the new direction of the show, but taken on its own merits it’s actually a decent program.

It stars as Mark Valley as Christopher Chance, a bodyguard/security consultant. He’s backed up by his agent Winston (Chi McBride) and investigator-for-hire Guerrero (Watchmen’s Jackie Earle Haley, who’s as creepy as ever).

In the pilot Chance is tasked with protecting an industrialist in charge of a new high-speed train running down the California coast line. Chance decides thetrain’s maiden voyage is the perfect opportunity to lure out the person who’s been trying to kill her. Of course, high-jinks ensue. Despite falling into a couple of stereotypical tropes (c’mon, a runaway train? Really?), there’s more good than bad; Valley makes for an affable lead, the production values and effects are solid, there’s a nice fight scene. All in all, it’s a nice package, not great, but good enough to watch and enjoy.

I’m interested to see the progression of Chance as the show continues. The pilot hints at some dark event that has driven him into this line of work, putting his life on the line to protect others. Even more intriguing is his moral compass. On multiple occassions he states that no one deserves to die, yet he himself kills two guys and through his inaction may kill a third. It’s too early to tell if this indicates a deeply nuanced character or just lazy writing.

I won’t be going out of my way to watch it live, but since it’s available to watch any time on Fox’s web site, I’ll be keeping The Human Target in my sights.

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