Before there was Mark Valley, there was Rick Springfield as the original primetime Human Target back in the summer of 1992 on ABC. It was developed by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo of PetFly Productions, the same people that brought us cult fan favorites The Sentinel and Viper. Human Target was their second attempt at successfully bringing another DC Comics character to primetime following The Flash (1990-91) on CBS. Dubbed as The A-Team meets Mission: Impossible, Christopher Chance is the ultimate master of disguises: a Vietnam veteran turned private detective/bodyguard that takes on the identities of his clients to uncover who wants them dead and why.
Bilson and DeMeo is known for having their shows aimed at fanboys and fangirls mixing the comic book/superhero genre with character storylines mixed with action, fantasy, suspense, and humor. Human Target certainly fit that bill, so why was it canceled after seven episodes? Poor response from critics and viewers who couldn’t see Springfield as anymore than Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital as well as a “teen idol”, and not accept him as an action hero. But part of the main reason was that this version aired during the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Now, Human Target gets a second Chance 18 years later on FOX with Boston Legal alum Mark Valley in the title role. This time, Christopher Chance is a “private contractor” and bodyguard: the ultimate human chameleon that puts himself on the front line, making his client open and vulnerable, as he goes undercover to find and identify the threat, and eliminate it.
Chance was “the One” (remember what Neo was wearing in The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions?) in last night’s “Sanctuary”, when he’s hired to protect and retrieve John Gray, a reformed criminal hiding out in an monastery from his former associates seeking a sacred religious book. Chance and his client are kindred spirits, for we discovered that the love of a woman made them feel like one of the good guys, which ended tragically for Chance in his first case with friend and partner Winston (Chi McBride).
Human Target 2010 does have the elements of The A-Team meets Mission: Impossible, but it also has the ingredients of 24 and The Equalizer. Like Bond and Bourne, Chance is a man with an questionable and mysterious past, and like Bauer and McCall, he continues to seek redemption by helping others. This one is an improvement because the writers took away the special effects to make the show a good blend of real time with fantasy. Let’s hope this version won’t be a threat to the Winter Games, for Human Target 2010 is less comic and more hardboiled graphic novel and film noir coming to life.