Written By: Jon E. Steinberg
Draft Date: December 19, 2008
Category: Jury's Out
While time between reading and writing these reviews has affected several scripts detrimentally, I think reading the rest of Fox's scripts and letting this action-hour sit with me has actually helped it.
Human Target is based on a (defunct?) comic book character, Christopher Chance, who would impersonate clients who had threats on their life in order to eliminate said threats. There was a briefly airing series on ABC in the 90s that followed fairly closely to that premise.
Fox's Human Target, on the other hand, does not seem to follow the "impersonation" aspect of the comic or old series. Rather, Christopher Chance acts as a bodyguard to a client and, as in the opening action sequence, will put himself in harm's way in place of the client (the opening features an office hostage situation, and Chance has swapped places with his client / the hostile's target). After the hostages are out of harm's way, Chance has a confrontation with the hostile, eventually shoots him, and in the process blows up the entire office space (woo, explosives).
The opening, though, is just window dressing for a character who seems to have a death wish. Interesting. Chance is human (between the opening and the pilot we get a "four weeks later" title card and Chance is still recovering from wounds inflicted in the explosion). He is very similar, actually, to Burn Notice's Michael Weston in that he thinks on his feet and has a working knowledge of, um, everything (using a thermostat to cause a killer to sweat) and, even though injured, his enemies are no match for him (which, JMHO, gets rid of a sense of drama the script could've employed). So, maybe Chance isn't human...
The pilot's real case of the week is a major letdown. Chance is hired to protect a woman (Stephanie), who is lead-designer of a high-speed train. There's been threats on her life and, wouldn't you know, it's the maiden voyage of the train. Chance goes with Stephanie on the trip and, wouldn't you know, there are killers aboard! Not only that, but there are technical problems (which Stephanie had warned the People In Charge about but they totally didn't listen to her, dammit, or something got changed at the last minute without her knowing... and now the TRAIN CAN'T BRAKE AND IS GOING TO DERAIL IF THERE'S A SLIGHT BEND IN THE TRACK). Anyway, Stephanie's husband did it, thinking she'd die and he'd get money (it was an expensive project, after all, bonuses, yadda yadda).
While Chance is on board with Stephanie, Winston and some people Chance calls on sometimes (I don't know if the Guerrero character who does some of the investigating will be a regular) are investigating the case and providing Chance with information.
I see potential here.
The pilot case pushes too far towards ridiculous. But that's easily fixed in episode two with, um, a better case. I like the Chance character and I found his British partner, Winston, amusing.