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?