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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A brief review of "Human Target"

"Human Target" is Fox Television's shiny new gift to action fans everywhere and a perfect companion piece for the often gloomy "24." It's the most thrilling thing I've seen on TV in a long time. The pilot episode is suspenseful and funny (in a good way), with a plot full of brilliant twists and turns and not a second of screen time wasted.

Director Simon West, who hasn't given the world anything so worth watching since 1997's Con Air, keeps the pace fast and the action tightly choreographed and gleefully executed. I constantly felt myself being physically drawn toward the screen, my face tightening with anticipation, and my breath shortening at every close call.

As for our new hero, if Jack Bauer had a square jaw, a heart of gold, and a sense of humor, he might look something like Christopher Chance, played with vigor by Mark Valley (probably best known for his role on David E. Kelley's "Boston Legal").  Writer/producer Jonathan E. Steinberg is like the action-junkie's Aaron Sorkin, and Valley reads Chance's dialogue like an adrenaline-pumped Bradley Whitford. (I realize that is something of a left-field comment to make, but listen to--and watch--the way Valley delivers his lines. It was bothering me during the denouement until I finally realized who he sounded like.)

The supporting cast is equally up to the task. Chi McBride (that's pronounced shy, I believe), fresh from "Pushing Daisies" (The Pie Hole will be dearly missed), improves anything he's in, though here he has essentially the same archetypical role he played so well in that late, great show. And, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Jackie Earle Haley with mustache and beard! (Sorry.) I cannot express how excited I was to see that Haley--the absolute best thing cast-wise about both Little Children and Watchmen--would be appearing in a weekly action series, and furthermore, one that gives him such a tantalizing character to play.

I look forward with eager anticipation to the next episode of this highly entertaining new series. Watch it here: http://www.hulu.com/human-target.

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