So, what is Human Target? Well, let's see... I love Chuck, with its espionage, intrigue, explosions, interesting character interactions and bumbling. Hard Target is all that... without the bumbling. That's not to say it's a copy of Chuck, mind you... there's also a bit of McGuyver and/or Pretender, given the main spy character who seems to surprisingly be ready for any task, whether it requires speaking fluent Chinese, citing obscure law cases or stepping into a professional fighting arena. This isn't a story about one guy, mind you; he is supported by a team of interesting characters who, at times, may remind you of CSI or Criminal Minds, but this team isn't part of the government, so their methods are, shall we say, less restricted than most.
What first got me interested in The Human Target was the DC logo, but this isn't a super-hero show. Instead, it's about a crack team of private security experts who can take on any situation, get in, root out the problem and solve it, all the while protecting the client. The team's handler is Winston (Chi McBride) and if you've ever seen Pushing Daisies, the characters he plays are very similar. Winston procures the jobs and worries about bringing money in, while Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) is the muscle behind the operation. Finally, Guerrero (Jackie Earle Hayley) is the creepy, tech-savvy badass information king who belongs to no one and makes sure the rest of the team knows it.
Chance and company encounter lots of crazy scenarios from someone sabotaging a high-speed train's maiden voyage, to an engineer on a weapons project who is being held captive at his office and needs rescuing, to a former white collar criminal turned monk that just might be slipping back into his old ways. Along the way, we'll be slowly introduced to Chance's back story which involves a really bad former boss, the "Old Man" (Armand Assante), who is on the hunt for his former protege and a mission, his last as an assassin, that went terribly wrong and continues to scar him today. Lots of cool co-stars will make appearances like X Files alums William B. Davis (Cancer Man) and Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), plus action show icon Lee Majors and more. The core acting team works together wonderfully and I really enjoyed every episode, but I do have to admit that I found the storylines predictable. Maybe I'm just a really good guesser, but I could pick out the nemesis in every episode almost as soon as they came on screen for the first time. It didn't diminish my enjoyment, I'm just sayin'.
It's mentioned in the special features - and it may sound like hype - but each episode of Human Target really does feel like an action movie. Part of what makes Human Target larger-than-life is the musical score. Rather than merely pay license fees on some popular rock or alternative music and turning the volume "to 11," as some action series do, Human Target is actually scored with a complete orchestra, which gives it a very silver-screen James-Bondy sort of feel. In most aspects, the production quality is impeccable. There is at least one very fake looking explosion, but for the most part, everything looks fairly believable, which is not bad for a series based on a comic book.
For the most part, Human Target seems to be very approachable to a new audience; J.R. Nip watched the season finale without having seen any of the other episodes and didn't end up totally lost. In fact, he wasn't much more confused than Psibabe and I were, since the season finale provides first clear glimpses into some of the backstory events which had merely been hinted at up to that point. There are overarching stories going on, but, for the most part, the audience is slowly being allowed to see more and more of who Christopher Chance really is and how the team came to be who and what they are today. Meanwhile, each episode also contains a full story, making it suitable for someone who's unfamiliar with the series. Special features include two interesting featurettes with cast and crew, plus some deleted scenese. If you're a fan, grab it; it's beautiful on Blu-ray. If you're not familiar with the series, then pick up a copy and watch it before Season Two starts. You'll thank me.