Human Target: A Boy's Club No More

Fox's Human Target will never make a critic's list for best TV show, but as far as sitting in front of the television for an hour, there are worse ways to spend your time. If you've read any of my TV complaints reviews before, you'll know I'm a big fan of series that understand their own identities. And Human Target knows exactly what it is: action-fueled fun for people in search of a brain vacation.

And that's a good thing. Not all viewers want to invest 60 minutes in pining over the smallest details of a complicated serial show. Sometimes we just need some time to veg out and erase the memories of another day spent behind a cubicle wall, and Human Target is the perfect mind eraser. You don't need to know what's really going on, you don't need to be bothered with past storylines, you don't need to tune in every week. All you need to do is make sure you have enough butter for your popcorn.

But a show needs more than flying fists and breaking glass to be worth tuning into: There needs to be some attraction to the talky parts. And if you ask me, that attraction is sufficiently provided by Human Target's three core characters. It's hard to imagine anyone but Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley playing our heroes, because they bring so much of themselves to their characters. Christopher Chance (Valley), Laverne Winston (McBride), and Guerrero (Haley) are guys we'd love to drink a beer and eat a Philly cheese steak with, and given that the show is targeted (wordplay!) toward the beer-drinking and meat-eating crowd, it's absolutely necessary that they're likable and work well together. Which they do.

And that's why the addition of the two new female leads worries me. I understand the need for show producers to add extra characters and to keep things fresh, but as we saw in last night's Season 2 premiere, the ladies have a lot of catching up to do. Ilsa the billionaire (the elegant Indira Varma) has been included just to provide the guys with million-dollar toys they can use to catch bad dudes, which I suppose is better than Chance having a rich uncle who died and left him a fortune. And Ames (Janet Montgomery) is just there to fill the "We need more hot ass!" demand from the studio—though anyone involved with the series will say she's the new-member-in-training. We know the truth. We're okay with the truth. And the truth is, Ames gives us something to talk about, such as "How did her one-sided strapless dress stay on while she was running away from Winston?" Or better yet, "Why did it stay on?"

Over time, I'm sure we'll see the women stick their noses into storylines such as "The guys try and deal with a demanding new boss," and "Guerrero comes around and begins to respect Ames," but for now the ladies just seem tacked-on. And that's why their inclusion into the show needs to be treated delicately. Human Target is our He-Man Woman Haters Club (do yourself a favor and click on that link), and we're going to be weary of any girl who enters sipping on an Apple-tini.

So to show producers I say this: Stick with the action, give us more of the guys being guys, and bring the women in slowly. We'll accept them eventually... as long as there are still plenty of exploding helicopters and people getting their fingers shot off (see below).



What do you think of the new ladies?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Mar 16, 2011
In Australia we've only viewed Season 1 which was brilliant. I can't see reason for introducing females to group - Chase & Barnes I'd like to see develop but not entangled. Hope they deal with all the 'old boss' themes introduced to Season 1. Baptiste episode was awesome. This show rules.
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Nov 28, 2010
Definitely think the addition makes sense, and will only improve the show. And I agree the theme music sucks now.
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Nov 28, 2010
I like the ladies, but not sure if this will kill the show. It was nice as a 3 person unit in Season 1. Hopefully, they could add more to the show than subtract.
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Nov 28, 2010
i like the thief. She brings more humor to the show. Not so sure about the billionaire.
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Nov 28, 2010
Yes Mighty Mad, you are so right about the theme music, loved it before, hate it now, it was actually mentioned already at the bottom of the page. From what I read, the man, whose name I forgot, who used to do the music, is now doing the music for "The Walking Dead", which I love, so I am less upset than I was before, since I love the music for TWD.
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Nov 28, 2010
Well since my last post on this subject, I have watched the latest episode, "The Wife's Tale", and I have to say, I disliked the female element even more than I expected to. Well, OK, that's not totally fair, I actually kind of liked Ames, she added some humor and I do sense chemistry between she and Guerrero, however the "silent" partner just ruined it for me. Having a woman around to second guess them, try to take over, and hang over their heads the fact that she is now the "boss" is a bit annoying. Might as well just have Chance settle down, get married, and maybe move to the suburbs and head up the neighborhood watch instead.
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Nov 28, 2010
I liked it when it was all men.
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Nov 26, 2010
I can't believe nobody is mentioning the AWFUL new opening theme... I mean, talk about taking something decent and making it worse than hell!
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Nov 24, 2010
I agree with this a 100%
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Nov 23, 2010
I see Ames particularly as an experiment. If she works as a character she'll likely hit big. if not, I think its a writer's issue, not a performance one, and she can be gone with little or no fuss. The lady boss is a bit tougher: she's gotta make it or she's gotta be the tear-jerker death scene in some future episode. I have to give this one to the guys: I don't think any new woman character should mess with the testosterone level on the series. It is the key ingredient in the recipe. I think she has to do what the rest of us women do in real life: ignore it and go shopping....
...and make certain there is some perfectly chilled Riesling to go with that popcorn Tim suggests...
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Nov 22, 2010
I think it is as likely that the women make the show more fun as the chance of them ruining it. Personally, I am a big fan of "more hot ass" so as long as the girls aren't always getting in the way of Chance's "roll with the punches" style, and Ames is incessantly walking around in short-shorts/work-out clothes/lingerie/etc., then I think they will be a good addition.
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Nov 20, 2010
I agree Spartan, I liked the way they did it last season, it was almost like there was a "Woman of the Week", so although they weren't technically working with a woman, there was still a female character almost every week. I did really enjoy the hacker, I remember thinking at the time that if they were going to add a female regular to the show I was hoping it would be her. She did seem like she would make a good fit.
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Nov 19, 2010
They don't really need these two new ones, though I agree the money provider role is useful. But they did well with women last year. Agent Barnes was hot and likable. She was in 2 eps and that was enough. There was a presence and if she disappeared, we waited for the next appearance. Then there was the hacker girl who was in 2 eps, one as a random person and then as a hacker for the team. She seemed to be alright, but then disappeared and nothing was ever said. Those two were fine and they worked. The show is about these three guys who have history and work well together. Please don't ruin it. The show got renewed because the first season was good. Why change a good thing?
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Nov 19, 2010
I also hate this pressure to add women to a primarily male cast or vice versa. What's so bad about having an awesome, testosterone driven show every once in a while? So long as it's not the norm, the one and only, I think we can all agree we're not sexist.
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Nov 19, 2010
This is such a great show. The chemistry between the three main characters is great. It has it all, action, drama, humor, and a deeper side also as they show more about the relationships between these guys and what brought them together. That said, I think it's very sad that so many of the "TV powers that be" always feel like you have to bring women in to boost ratings. Do they really think so little of people and I guess men in particular that the only way to attract and keep an audience is to add women? Don't get me wrong, I'm not against adding women to a cast if they are a good fit and if it's what the show creators actually want to do, just not if the reason is because they were pressured into it simply for a ratings boost. I think Mark Valley is quite good looking, but I would still love his character just as much even if he were not so easy on the eyes. Just saying...
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Nov 19, 2010
If M doesn't "ruin" James Bond I don't see Poochie ruining Human Target. Ames feels pretty out of place, though.
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Nov 19, 2010
most definitely a great episode, and no more sausage fest, this is going to be a great season, more people need to see this show
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Nov 19, 2010
I love Haley in this role. He is funny and scary at the same time like when he threatened to shoot Ames in the knees or pull off her finger nails and said that he would leave it up to her.or when he opened the trunk of the car and threw out the guy in their when he got word that the crew was back together.
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Nov 19, 2010
This was a wonderful season opener, more people should tune in, it's really entertaining.
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Nov 19, 2010
I'm so glad this show is back!!! If the women are on once in awhile it wouldn't be too bad. It reminds of when Ruby and Bela were added to Supernatural. They really didn't fit.
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Nov 19, 2010
totally couldn't agree more Tim keep them off our explosions!
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Nov 19, 2010
@justinjohnson I liked it too. It's just a really fun show. @ hockey Ditto! It's one of those shows that isn't on the forefront of your mind, but while you are watching it, it totally rocks.
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Nov 19, 2010
I like the addition of the chicks. Gives the show more dimension, more ultra-cool toys for the boys to play with since the new owner is a billionaire (damn!), and hot chicks to look at from time to time. Keep it up! Loved last night's premiere, by the way.
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Nov 19, 2010
human target > hawaii five-o... in terms of hardcore action =)
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Nov 19, 2010
I didn't realize how much i missed this show until i was watching it. I watch it for the same reason i watch Hawaii Five-0 it is a fun action packed hour of tv that makes my day less depressing.
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Nov 19, 2010
if human target was a burger it would be called the McAwesome.
i get the money, guns and girls approach and i ain't complaining, change is good, this is one of the best action shows on tv, but why did they have to modify the theme tune, it could have been tweaked to highten the action elements of the titles but instead its just degrades the sense of style the original theme titles teased .
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Nov 19, 2010
Apparrently, the addition of hot chicks as regulars is to attract new viewers for this very underappreciated action/manly show. I don't mind as long as the tetosterone level is up to the max, with lots of more ridiculous actionscenes.
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Nov 18, 2010
don't like this new direction with chicks,there are other shows for that,this one was man's club James Bond type of show where chicks where guest stars
and that is it.Chick ruined Sex & City.don't let them destroy this one to HA HA HA
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