Sunday, January 17, 2010

Human Target, "Pilot": Chance is

I reviewed "Human Target" in Friday's column, but I have a couple of spoiler-specific thoughts coming up just as soon as I learn to live in the now...

First, it's very strange to see Tricia Helfer playing the helpless, complaining woman in need of rescue here, since after all her years on "Battlestar Galactica," I could very easily see her as a female version of Chance telling her own whiny client to shut up while she kicks some butt. (Also weird seeing Mark "Duck Phillips" Moses as a disgruntled, gun-and-bomb-toting hostage taker.)

Second, do not expect the Danny Glover cameo to lead anywhere. It was just something the producers tried, both to hearken back to the '80s action movies that are partly this show's inspiration, and to give a sense that Chance is always moving on to the next client. At one point, they wanted to try to get a similarly famous star to cameo each week, but that proved impossible.

Third, I'm a fan of the Vertigo version of the comic book character, and I was briefly annoyed that the show bore so little resemblance to either the Peter Milligan comics or even the original Len Wein version. But in the end I let that go and accepted this was an action show that happened to borrow the title and the name Christopher Chance, turned my brain off and had fun watching stuff blow up.

What did everybody else think?

22 comments:

Adam Adkins said...

Like I said on Twitter, Human Target was like 50% of Burn Notice.

That said, I *love* BN, so I'll be watching the new episode on Wednesday (and BN's new one on Thursday).

Anonymous said...

I rather enjoyed it. Haley stole the show, I think, with his opening scene.

Figgsrock2 said...

I really enjoyed this pilot, but glad I had no comparison to the comic. I can see how that could be distracting.

And I really can't wait to see more of JEH.

Anonymous said...

Alan, seriously, how do you not mention the awesomeness that is Doc Cottle?

Pirate Alice said...

I enjoyed the show, I didn't know it was based on a comic. I thought it was a fun.

Sara Ann Stinson said...

See, I kind of expected more from Haley. I loved him in Watchmen, but here I didn't feel like he added a lot to the show as written.

Jeff said...

I told my wife about half way thru... "if it's the husband, i'm never watching this show again.." It's a predictable waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Dumb lowest denominator tv.

To predictable. Having Winstons name come up on Helfer's phone was just idiotic, and why doesn't Chance carry a gun or a knife or even a damn phone?!?!

T.J. Hawke said...

Alan,do you know if this series is going to be keeping the episodic format or will there eventually be more serialized elements al Chuck's transformation?

Nicole said...

I gave this a shot because Mark Valley deserves a show since Keen Eddie left the airwaves.

It was okay, although I guessed it was the husband really early on. However, Chi McBride and MV are fun to watch and I hope they give Haley more to do in the next few episodes.

I haven't read the comic, so there was no comparison to be made. I also haven't watched Burn Notice, so that probably helps too.

Jape77 said...

I was promised an exploding train, and all I got was a dust cloud.

Maura said...

Jape77 said... I was promised an exploding train, and all I got was a dust cloud.

Heh. I know. But the explosion at the beginning of the show was pretty awesome. I do love 'splody stuff.

It was fun, and I'll give it a few more episodes before I make a decision. I already watch too much television, so this might be a victim of my not wanting to take on another show.

Jon88 said...

When did Jackie Earle Haley turn into John Glover? Not that I'm complaining. I loved him with Chi McBride.

Rachel said...

Disappointing. Based on your reviews I was hoping for better. Predictable, as many people have said.

While Haley's character was a fun kind of feral, so far it seems as if the writers intend to undercut any contributions from him. (Note that although the character identifies the the person who took out the hit first, he's unable to communicate it in time to make a difference. Plus Chance figures it out himself. The point being: to reinforce how special Chance is. Barf.)

I love Burn Notice as an example of taking the best of this genre while actively repudiating the awful genius lone wolf element. The Michael Weston Show -- without the meaningful contributions of Fi, Sam and even Mom -- would get pretty annoying fast. That show is pretty much all about Michael learning that -- superspy though he may be -- he's lesser without the gang.

Unless they make something of Haley and McBride pronto -- and demonstrate some human emotions coming from Chance -- Valley might as well grow a mustache and be done with it.

Craig Ranapia said...

But in the end I let that go and accepted this was an action show that happened to borrow the title and the name Christopher Chance, turned my brain off and had fun watching stuff blow up.

OK, so is there any reason why this should replace Leverage as my preferred supplier of inoffensive brain candy? (Apart from it being more fun having naughty thoughts about Mark Valley than Timothy Hutton.)

excentric said...

It needs time to let the characters grow into themselves, I think. I'll keep watching for awhile to see how it goes. My favorite bit was when Mark Valley tells Tricia Helfer to cut off two of the seatbelts and she walks over and cuts off two of the seatbelts. No, "Why? What are you going to do with them?" or any of the other lame questions female characters are usually given in situations like this. She just does it. Score one for the writers.

rosseau said...

Where was the giant chicken during that train fight scene?

My interest is barely hanging on to JEH's moustache. I'll give it a go a few more times, but they seriously need to have an edge, an idea, something that doesn't scream totally generic.

jimmo said...

best part? two more DaVinci's Inquest/City Hall alumni. Though it was a bit of a waste of Leo; hope to see more of him later...

Karen said...

Caught up with it last night. Called the husband as the culprit the minute Jackie Earle Haley had his House moment of "Wait, say that again..." right after whoever it was said "husbands and wives"... or whatever it was. Agree, Tricia Helfer as helpless is bizarre. Not sure if we'll bother to stay with this at all (it will probably go the way of White Collar, which I keep wanting to call White Shadow, in our rotation, i.e. be totally forgotten about). And watching Chi McBride just made me really miss Emerson. I kept wishing he'd pull out a knitting project.

latenac said...

I kind of liked it. We'll see where it goes. It seemed kind of a cross between Keen Eddie and a darker Leverage which makes me happy. But I did call almost everything in the episode.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I thought the second ep was much better. Still not as good as Burn Notice (and maybe not even White Collar), but much better than the pilot.

M.A.Peel said...

The opening gambit in the train--Valley noticing that Tricia's glass had square ice cubes when everyone else's had round--was straight out of the Monk episode "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk." Let's call it homage.