Blu-Ray Review: First Season of FOX’s ‘Human Target’ With Mark Valley

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CHICAGO – After realizing that “Human Target” was not going to be their next “24,” FOX has moved the program to Friday nights, starting November 17th, where it could easily reside as a guilty pleasure for years to come. The program is a throwback to the action series escapism of the 1980s but with modern production values that make it a very-enjoyable thrill ride in HD. It’s not going to win awards or change the TV landscape, but it works on its own terms. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0

The massively charming Mark Valley (“Fringe”) stars as Christopher Chance aka The Human Target, a minor character from the world of comic books. The Human Target is not your average superhero. He wears no cape and has no superpowers. Unless you count an apparent complete lack of fear as a superpower. Chance is a hired gun, a human shield who does whatever it takes to protect his assignment. As he says when a client asks where her bulletproof vest is, he says, “I’m your vest.”

Chance has two regular assistants — planner Winston (the always-great Chi McBride of “Pushing Daisies”) and hacker Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) — and the show regularly incorporates guest stars, most commonly beautiful women like Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Kristin Lehman (“Drive”).

Human Target: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Human Target: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Every element of “Human Target”, from its mission-of-the-week format to its incredibly-cheesy opening credits, will remind viewers of the right age of the kind of mindless escapism that was far-more-common in the ’70s and ’80s. The show may have been conceived as an heir to “24” but often plays more like an heir to “The Six Million Dollar Man” or “The Greatest American Hero.” And I don’t mean that as a negative. Not everything needs to be high-concept like “The Event” or “Lost” and the throwback action style of “Human Target” can be refreshing and wildly enjoyable.

Human Target: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Human Target: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

The remarkable production values of “Human Target” are enhanced by Blu-ray. The program pulses with theatrical quality filmmaking that’s more accomplished and well-paced than a vast majority of programs like this one. Sadly, “Human Target” misses its mark a bit too often to find a consistent audience. There are are a few episodes in season one that are just-plain-dull. They can’t all involve a runaway train.

“Human Target” is an old-fashioned show done in a fresh, new way. It averaged over 8 million viewers in its first season and likely found a pretty loyal audience who will follow the program to Friday nights without its “American Idol” lead-in. And with a commentary track, featurettes, and a typically-strong WB Blu-ray transfer, “Human Target” could easily find an even-bigger audience due to this strong release. It’s not quite a direct hit but it makes contact.

“Are you in extreme danger? Need special security? Is there a bullet out there with your name on it? Leave it to Chance. Mark Valley is protector-for-hire Christopher Chance in the thrill-packed 12-Episode Season 1 based on the DC Comics series and graphic novel. From piloting a distressed, upside-down jumbo jet to bodyguarding a D.A. targeted by a gang, Chance puts his life on the line — and each new adventure reveals a little about the mysterious past that drew him to this line of work. Chi McBride as ops manager Winston and Jackie Earle Haley as techno genius/fixer Guerrero are Chance’s ace support crew.”

Special Features:
o Human Target: Confidential Informant — From Page To Screen
o Human Target: Full Contact Television — What It Takes to Unleashe All That On-Screen Action
o Unaired Scenes
o Pilot Commentary by Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Executive Producers Jonathan E. Steinberg and Peter Johnson
o Audio Mix Enhanced From Broadcast

‘Human Target: The Complete First Season’ stars Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. The DVD and Blu-ray were released on September 21st, 2010. It is not rated and runs 523 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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