Human Target Debuts Tomorrow

Mark Valley as the Human Target

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.

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.)

Mark Valley as the Human Target

Mark Valley as the Human Target

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

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.


  • James Schee

    I’m looking forward to this too, as it looks exciting but fun too.

    Am I the only one that gets Mark Valley and Colin Ferguson (star of Eureka) confused? They have such similar physical traits.

  • I thought the previous Human Target TV show was pretty good, all things considered. It was by the same guys who did the short-lived Flash series, and they managed to keep the “master of disguise” element, while still giving Chance a lot of face time.

    I was initially turned off by this new version, simply because they ditched the one thing that made it so unique — the impersonation angle. I mean, why spend the money to option a property that most people have never heard of if you’re going to completely ditch its most distinctive trait? But I really like Mark Valley, and over the last few months I’ve started actually looking forward to this one. In fact, I’m a little concerned that I’ve raised my expectations a bit too high. Hopefully I haven’t.

    James: I find it funny that you get Mark Valley and Colin Ferguson confused, because I feel that way about Mark Valley and Joel Gretsch (of The 4400 and the V remake). I enjoy both actors, but they sometimes feel interchangeable to me.

  • I find I run into that problem — having too much information ahead of time, creating too many expectations — more and more often as the volume on everything has increased. Yet if they don’t do it, it gets lost in the crush.

  • Chris Gumprich

    For once, Canadians got a bonus and saw the pilot last Friday. No spoilers, but I enjoyed it. It’s nice to have an episodic action series that doesn’t worry about long, detailed storylines.

    (I was also a fan of the 1992 series, and still have six of the seven episodes on deteriorating VHS)

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