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FOX has taken the improbability of anything that happens on 24, doubled it, added the cartoonish impossibilities of The Simpsons and Family Guy, took a big shit all over it, baked it in the sun, and begat Human Target. Does that make it terrible already? Not necessarily, but it doesn't speak wonders. Not a minute goes by without a cliché, or twelve, shoddily thrown on screen to mock or enjoy, depending on your taste. My taste ran quite sour for most of the duration.

Christopher Chance is a certified badass, as a do-it-all bodyguard of sorts. In the opening sequence, he "outsmarts" a begrudged bank employee (Mad Men's Mark Moses) from killing his hated boss, by acting as that employer tied to a chair beneath a hood, hiding his identity. I've no clue how he got under the hood without the moron, who brandishes both a large gun and a strapped dynamite pack, noticing. He even acts shocked when Chris pops that hood off, waxes elementary psychology, and tussles the guy for the gun, which he gets, and then shoots the bad guy dead. The bomb goes off. No innocents die, because they're released, and the guy brought dynamite to kill just one person. Along with a gun. That's overkill, and the show is rife for it. That's just the opening.

Let me speak of the cast, who have all raped TV over the past two or three years. Mark Valley is Christopher Chance. He's been on Fringe and Boston Legal in the past few years. FOX promotes. His in-the-office guy is the always dependable Chi McBride as Winston. It's a role he perfected on Pushing Daisies, but is still under-utilized. Actually, it's just corny so far. This episode's foil was Stephanie Dobbs, a "super-train" designer played by Tricia Helfer, a Battlestar Galactica and Burn Notice vet as of late. The exception to this is the WTF star Jackie Earl Haley as Guerrero, an everyman as yet un-specified in his role. I'll say now that these actors, most notably Haley, do what they can, but their lines are fucking awful, almost throughout the whole deal.

Now let's attack the plot. Said train designer made an overly expensive train that runs 200+ miles per hour, yet the backgrounds outside the train windows run by slower than a country road drive. Someone is after Mrs. Dobbs, and will put explosives in her car to prove that point. So she requires the services of Chris(T) Chance. He lives through anything, thus the T, and not the contradictive last name. The assassin is expected to be on the supa-train during its virgin voyage, and Chance needs to be there. He poses as Dobbs's translator, for Japanese investors coming onboard to check things out. He meets numerous suspects, moooost notably her trusted hubby James. He doesn't say much, and that is the scarlet letter upon his chest. Anyway. Chance takes her phone, finds out she's in questionable cahoots with a reporter named Mark, and shows off his awesome phone-stealing skills.

Not much writing space left. No problem, because there's not much sense left. A waiter brings a glass of water to Dobbs, which has poisoned cubed ice where other riders have crushed. Chance catches this and takes her away from the threat. The waiter, also a hired assassin, gets into a logic-thwarting gun/fist fight with Chance on two levels of trainspace. (There's a from-behind attack that boggles my mind as far as the train's blueprints are concerned.) The waiter is kicked through a blown out side-window of the train. Not even questioning this, though it begs to be questioned. The train's brakes are constantly squeaking, and this means that the train can neither brake, nor keep going, because it will explode if it stops, but will derail if it keeps going. This much money going into anything, and these are the problems. I hope General Motors isn't watching. Anyway, Dobbs's husband James is keenly aware of the problem and is able to separate the back train cars from the one with Chance and Dobbs in it. The back cars supposedly come to a slow stop, but our two budding heroes leap from the back of the train, bobble around in train tracks and gravel, and live to tell the tale. Chance is pretty beaten up, but Dobbs, the woman that Chance lands on, only has a bloody chin, as if she were punched by a midget Tyson.

As it happens, James found out his wife was talking to that reporter on the side, and he accuses her of cheating, by way of sabotaging a fucking super-train. Because that happens all the time. Hey, hey, it happens. Throughout these things, Winston and Guerrero have some amusing expository back-and-forth, but it's tiny scripted details in between large FX-trodden set pieces. And to top it off, the show ends with Danny Glover in the back of Chance's car, as Chance uses a gifted bottle of whiskey as a Molotov cocktail. And then smash-cut to credits. What just happened to the last hour of my life? Danny Glover? I can't imagine this show lasting longer than the average FOX exec's attention span, but it already has. Inspired by the same-named comic series, Human Target needs to embrace the tongue-in-cheek instead of the fist-up-ass. I'll be back next week to alert you of the events, just in case you have some sleep to catch up on.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.