Thursday, January 14, 2010

'Human Target' & '24' review - Sepinwall on TV

In my latest column, I review "Human Target," which debuts Sunday on Fox:
"Where's my vest?" one of Christopher Chance's clients demands after she discovers he's been wearing a bulletproof vest while protecting her from an assassin, in the pilot episode of "Human Target." (Sunday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 5)

"I'm your vest," Chance tells her.

Chance is the bodyguard of last resort, the guy you go to when you know your life is in danger but, for some reason, the authorities can't help. He is very good at what he does, but he's also reckless and possibly unhinged.

"Am I crazy?" he tells a man with a gun on him. "I'm assuming that was a rhetorical question."

And, as played by the charming, rough-and-tumble Mark Valley, he's a very entertaining action hero.
You can read the full "Human Target" review here - including a sneak peek at the show's wicked awesome title sequence. At the tail end, I talk a little bit about the new season of "24," which I won't be writing about going forward.

I'm swamped at press tour, but I'll get up some kind of post for after the "Human Target" pilot on Sunday, possibly just to gauge your reaction.

24 comments:

kenjfuj said...

Wait, Alan, so have you actually seen the seventh season of 24 as a whole? Or did you just give up on it after its first few hours? Because, for what it's worth, I think it became far better than its early hours indicated, doing a more refreshingly direct job of dealing with the personal damage wrought by the sacrifices Jack Bauer has made in the service of his country. In fact, I think Season 7, as a whole, is even better than the much-acclaimed Season 5, though still not a patch on Season 2.

As for its upcoming season: well, I remain very cautiously optimistic.

Anonymous said...

"In a different TV business model, '24' would be remembered as one of the greatest one- or two-season series of all time. Instead, Fox is determined to ride it into the ground - opinions will just differ on whether we're there yet."

That sentiment would carry a lot more weight if it wasn't coming from someone who still blogs about Scrubs on a weekly basis.

Billiam said...

Is it weird that I'm actually very curious as to just what this dumb plot twist could be.
As someone who enjoyed season 7 (but on DVD, which is a form that is more forgiving to occasional missteps) I will probably check out season 8 (though I wish there wasn't so much on Mondays, so I may wait until the DVDs come out again).
Though I do agree that there just is a limit on how much the show can deviate from the basic formula, and as such, I'm kinda hoping this does end up being the last season (unless the writers have a really good idea for one more season).

Alan Sepinwall said...

That sentiment would carry a lot more weight if it wasn't coming from someone who still blogs about Scrubs on a weekly basis.

Boom, roasted.

And Scrubs as a concept isn't as fundamentally limited as 24 is. I'm not defending some of the weaker Scrubs seasons (and that includes this one), but there's nothing as inherently silly about the show having lasted this long as there is about "24" having made it past year 2 or 3.

Anonymous said...

I don't know any other show with 160-something episodes that is as good as 24.

Don said...

The X-Files has more episodes that 24 and blows that latter out of the water. Even at its weakest season The X-Files had fantastic episodes.

The article convinced me to give Human Target a shot. It looks to be pretty fun but it does mean I'll be having a full plate of TV shows this winter.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually still sort of confused by this, if Human Target is airing at 8EST/7 CST and 24 is having their normal two night, 4 hour premiere, will the local news for Fox on Sunday be pushed back or something?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Fox late local news will be pushed back, yes. The network has done it on occasion on Sundays when they've shown movies and such.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, thanks Alan.

Karen said...

I was on the fence about trying Human Target - love Chi, like Haley (as someone who still remembers him in Breaking Away, I was blown away by him in Watchmen), like Valley well enough, but find shows like this one seems to be a bit, uh, unexciting, action or not - but between your review and the sightings of Tricia Helfer in the ads for it, think I'll give it a try. Thanks, Alan!

Sam Sevr said...

Alan - so once you saw the ridiculous plot delay, did you finish out the episodes or did you just stop the DVD right there?

And yes, now I'm really curious about what it was if you're comparing it to Kim in the bomb shelter. I might actually have to watch now. Can we play guess the delay? I'll take flooded subway tunnel.

DTor said...

As a comics fan, Alan, you may want to mention that "The Human Target" got its start as a DC comics character way back in the 70s. I think he was a Len Wein creation.

Bryan said...

Alan, how differently do you think we would view 24 if they had gone a different route and used a different main character for each season. I remember thinking that's how they would run the show back when it first started. Just didn't think they'd be able to get this many 24-hour days out of one character. 8 seasons in, it appears I was wrong, but I think I was kind of proven right, too. Maybe the show wouldn't have done as well if they had to market around the concept of the 24-hour day rather than the star power of Kiefer (actually, Jack Bauer is probably the star), but I believe it might have been a better show in the long run had they done it that way. Plus it might have been interesting to see who they were able to bring in to headline the new season each year.

gina said...

I'm knee-deep in a serious LOST re-watch right now - got all 5 seasons for Christmas and I'm trying to cram them in before Feb 2 (impossible, I know!) - and I really don't need a new show on my roster, but your review of Human Target - and my love for McBride and Valley - has convinced me to check it out.

I have watched every season of 24 - actually, I think I bailed on season 4 - so I feel like I need to play this out to the bitter end. I'll be watching s8 and hoping that the end won't actually be bitter. (and I'll be hoping that s8 is the end!)

Chris said...

Ahhh the Cougar. But at least a pre-Entourage Kevin Dillon was amusing...

Anonymous said...

Got to see the first two eps of "Human Target" and had mixed feelings. I think it would be paired well enough with "Burn Notice" but I suspect it won't fair well on a broadcast network.

As for the show itself, I thought it requires some definite suspension of belief. That aside, it could be a fun ride.

It could also really use a regular female castmember.

Anonymous said...

yea i'd love to know a show that was as good after 160+ ep's like 24 is

Anonymous said...

it is funny that the guy who blogs about a disaster like scrubs is syaing a hit like 24 should just go away

Karen said...

Haley, who as Rorshach in "Watchmen" dominated that film despite playing most of his scenes behind a full-face mask, unsurprisingly fits in well in another comic book milieu.

I find this a really odd statement. First, because all comic books are not alike, nor are their live adaptations. And second because Haley also fit in well as the agonized, self-castrating child molester in the film Little Children, which had nothing to do with comics.

Maybe, just maybe, he's simply a good actor?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Please wait to discuss the show until after it's finished airing on the East Coast. I'll have a separate post where you can do it then.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And that post is up now.

Matt said...

yep that cop killer thing is definitely stupider than the survivalist, it's utterly ridiculous. The blackmail thing is preposterous as well, it's so cringe worthy I'm at a loss for words.
Still, I've watched every season so far even though for me it's reached its peak in Season 3 (Ryan Chappelle's death was astounding), so like someone before me said I'm going to see this series to the end, and hope it won't be a bitter one.

dez said...

The blackmail thing on "24" seems superfluous, but I'm hoping it ties into the main plot soon. And once Herc showed up, I knew he was the plot device, heh.

It's too bad you stopped watching before the fourth hour, Alan, because we finally got to see what happens to someone who was mentored by Jack Bauer and it was NOT pretty.

BTW, for the other "24" fans here: Where do you guys post about it now? I would love to discuss it with y'all, and certainly don't want to annoy Alan's other readers by piping up about it in other threads here :-) Thanks!