I’m looking forward to seeing the debut of the Human Target TV series tomorrow night on FOX (before it moves into its Wednesday timeslot starting January 20). It’s loosely based on the DC Comics character, starring Mark Valley (Boston Legal, Swingtown, Fringe) as bodyguard-for-hire Christopher Chance.
Mark Valley as the Human Target
I say “loosely based” because the main gimmick of the comic — that Chance was a genius impersonator, so he could take the place of the targets he was protecting without anyone knowing (thus the title) — has been dropped. (You can read a sample issue at the Vertigo website or buy the new collection.)
That’s not surprising. When you have a good-looking action hero, you don’t really want to keep changing his face (or having their role played by whoever is guest-starring that week). The supporting cast consists of Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, Boston Public) and Jackie Earle Haley (most recently, Watchmen — he was Rorschach).
Jackie Earle Haley and Chi McBride co-star
After watching the trailer, I like some of the light-hearted aspects, when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Chance almost has a MacGyver-like creativity in escaping death. Plus, McBride’s dry demeanor is always welcome.
Alan Sepinwall has a positive review. (He makes the significant observation, “Valley’s also an Army veteran who knows how to properly fight and hold a gun.”) On the other hand, Don MacPherson didn’t like it, calling it too formulaic and citing “low production values”. I don’t think we’re looking for the same things in this show, and I like Valley much more than he apparently does. I just hope that Fox supports this more than they did their last few science fiction attempts.
This isn’t the character’s first time on TV, by the way. In the early 90s, he was played by Rick Springfield in seven episodes. In that version, they did keep the disguise aspect, making it high-tech (for the time, anyway). I’ve never seen any of the episodes (OMG, it’s Richard Belzer!) — I’m curious about them, but I’m probably better off.