Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pilot Screener Review - Human Target

HUMAN TARGET (script review: Human Target)
Status: Premiering Sunday, January 17 after the NFC playoff game on FOX (then Wednesdays at 9pm)

Rewatched this pilot at the Comic Con panel and was surprised at how well it seemed to go over. Not that I expected it to go over poorly. But the crowd really seemed to lap it up... possibly because of an overwhelming affection for Jackie Earle Haley due to his stint as Rorschach in Watchmen, as well as Emerson Cod fans from Pushing Daisies, one of whom questioned Chi McBride's apparent type-casting as Winston in Human Target has a function somewhat similar to Emerson's.

Human Target is a fun, mindless, popcorn action hour-long, something that, really, hasn't been seen on network TV in a while (but is quite successful on cable in the superior Burn Notice). Mark Valley disappears into the role of Christopher Chance... which ordinarily is a bad thing, but as his character has so be able to disappear into a crowd in order to protect his clients ever week, it kind of works. I've always found Valley to be good-looking-but-bland, but there are glimpses of the fun underlying the character. Chance can be reckless and Valley plays those moments, when he's a fine line away from crazy with his devil-may-care grin, with aplomb. Haley shines as Guerrero, a information gatherer who operates just outside the realm of legality and gets some great one-liners. However, it is guest actress Tricia Helfer, who plays "Protectee" Stephanie, who steals the pilot. A shame she isn't a regular... because more Tricia Helfer is always a good thing. Also, the show desperately needs some estrogen on it, as the three regulars are male... hopefully women won't be relegated to "damsel in distress" on the show.

While some aspects of the pilot's case of the week (stuck on a runaway train with an assassin) were eliminated from the script that I read (like using the air conditioning to notice who is sweating an thereby making an assassin), the fact of the matter remains that the case is just not very interesting. There isn't a ton going on, and there are very few characters we're following, so despite the fact that it's supposed to be an action-thriller, sections seem to plod along. There is a great fist fight scene, and Chance seems far more human (as in less superhuman, rather than a moral humanity thing) in the pilot than he did in the script.

The pilot should do well after football, but I wonder about it crossing over with the (more female) American Idol audience.

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