Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) is a bodyguard for hire and a man fighting the good fight as a sort of freelance version of a TV James Bond in Human Target, the exciting new series from executive producer McG (Chuck/Supernatural). Only this guy doesn’t just work for money, he’s willing to barter and he just might enjoy being a human target a bit too much. These quirks, the action sequences and a solid cast combine to make this new FOX drama series a standout and one to watch in 2010.

In opening scene of the seemingly ripped-from-the-headlines pilot episode, a disgruntled former employee has taken his former co-workers hostage by strapping explosives to his body and wielding a shotgun to show us how serious he is. A SWAT negotiator convinces the disgruntled employee to give up the other victims while allowing him to hold on to the company’s CEO, who is tied to a chair with a black hood over his face.

Once all the other hostages exit the building, it is revealed that—SURPRISE!—our hero Chance was actually the guy under the hood the entire time and he is suddenly no longer tied up. A few lightning-quick moves and the shotgun is no longer an issue. Sure, the building gets blown up in the process, but our hero knew he was only six feet from a wall that would shield him from the blast. Of course, he also saw the fuse on the bomb had a three-second delay. Chance survives and is onto the next case after a month of recovery.

You may ask how the heck our hero was able to switch places with the tied-up CEO without anyone in the room finding out and no, it isn’t explained. After all, it’s based on a comic book so you have to suspend your disbelief a little. But this show is fun to watch for anyone looking for an everyman hero with some real action minus all the emotional angst that seems to plague many other action dramas these days. For instance, the cast is top-notch. Chi McBride is wonderful as the curmudgeonly Winston, Christopher’s handler and partner, and the always underrated Jackie Earle Haley plays the mysterious computer whiz who freelances for the two men.

The fight scenes rival anything you’ve seen in the Jason Bourne or revamped James Bond movies. More importantly, you can actually see the moves because these sequences aren’t shot using the lame but very popular hand-held camera method. This series shows some real promise and I will target the next episode airing on Wednesday night in its regular time slot of 9 p.m.

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  • Reply
    January 18, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I missed this last night! I’m hoping to catch it online, soon. I’m glad you mentioned the trend of using a hand-held cam for fight sequences. This is very poor. These kinds of action sequences, like the song & dance movies of old, demand you be able to see their feet, their moves. If you don’t include them, what good are they? BTW, how the heck did you see this?!? I KNOW you were knee-deep in blog template and web-hosting machinations, PCN. Thanks for the heads up with this.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      Actually, I didn’t, and I’m sorry I missed it. I LOVE a good action show so I’ll be watching this Wednesday for sure. But you brought up a good point.

      Eric Edwards actually wrote this. If you look at the top of the article, you can see where it says “submitted by.” But it’s so small and I was afraid people wouldn’t see it and Eric wouldn’t get due credit. I thought about writing an introductory paragraph like I usually do at my other site but as you can see, I posted this article at 6:26 this morning after having stayed up all night and was delirious. That’s also my excuse for not including a link to your blog when I thanked you in my “Welcome” post. I’ve rectified it.

      I think in the future I’ll continue to do small intros on contributors’ pieces so readers don’t get confused. Thoughts? At this early stage, any feedback on the site’s functionality is very helpful to me. Thanks, lp13.

      • Reply
        January 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

        With apologies to Eric Edwards, I think it’s more my fault for not paying enough attention. Second time for me (and I don’t want to know what happens to me after a third time).

        There is one thing I’m missing from the old template: the ability to enable notification of new comments, or replies to comments, in posts. I’m only these because I keep going back to look for them. Thanks, PCN (and Eric).

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          January 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm

          Oh, thanks for bringing that up. Let me research it and see if I can find a plug-in or code to add to the comments.php.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I dvr-ed it last night and watched it today on the couch. Loved It!

    Nothing more to say about the review except that I will be tuning in on Weds night as well. Hope this series can go the distance.

    BTW: The new site is really cool, PCN!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks, EIREGO! Nice seeing you here. Now I know who my real friends are.

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    January 19, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Yeesh, this looks like one I’m going to need to find either online or on DVD when it’s released later.

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