Pilot Review: Human Target

The Brief: Our hero is a body guard/private investigator, going undercover to find out who’s trying to kill his client. He’s also got issues. It’s based loosely on the DC comic, but has removed most of the superhero type stuff.

There’s another ‘teaser’ available here, but rather hilariously all it does is edit the pilot down into 3 minutes, so it’s pretty spoiler heavy but gives a pretty good idea of what the show does.

As mindless entertainment goes, this is pretty bloody mindless. There are holes in this plot you could drive a badly cgi’ed train through… and they do. The mystery is completely obvious yet simultaneously makes no sense when explained; the hero seems to be some kind of genius, but he also failed to realise his gun clip was empty. The exposition comes in big, boring, stupid chunks (as does the Japanese) with little recaps every so often for those that weren’t paying attention. Everything about the writing screams that this is the television equivalent of a mediocre, run of the mill, almost straight to dvd action film.

Unfortunately I’m not sure anyone told the actors that was what they were signing up for. Mark Valley (Boston Legal, Fringe)is a classic charming leading man, he’s got that “I’m distracting you from my troubled soul by punching people” look down perfectly. Chi McBride has basically taken his role of Emerson Cod from Pushing Daisies and is playing the straight-man perfectly. Jackie Earle Haley(Rorschach in Watchmen) acts like a weedy geek, but seems to be a retired assassin. Each character is interesting and played with a great deal of humour, and although minimal, the interactions they have show some good chemistry. That bodes well for the fairly obvious intention that the two side kicks will sit on our hero’s troubled shoulders whispering in his ears like good little angels and demons.

The problem is that the whole tone of the show is confused, there’s some great light-hearted and smart dialogue that lulls you into filing this as an action-comedy. But then it also seems to have some rather heavy stuff to say about organised crime, professional assassins, functioning outside of the law and some fuzzy morality. Maybe it’s possible to merge all that into one fascinating show, and I believe these actors (and with guest stars like Tricia Helfer, Mark Moses and Danny Glover(!) they’ve certainly got a great casting agent)are perfectly capable of that. But unless the writers have the excuse that their pilot was hacked to pieces by a network committee, they are not up to the challenge of producing an interesting level of subtlety and the show will just settle into being a weekly episode of Die Hard 3.

LinksOfficial website, wikipedia, imdb, TV.com

ReviewsTVSquad (a lot more positive than me), The TV Addict (rated C-).

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  1. September 3rd, 2010
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