Sunday, February 14, 2010

TV: Human Target

Fox doesn't often score a winner but their latest Wednesday offering actually holds the attention and offers enough to make you wonder what happens next week. The show is Human Target and it stars Mark Valley as a man for hire.


Valley's character goes by the name Christopher Chance (and other names) and his real name is apparently known to a small, small number. Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) may know his real name having broken into his files and then passed them on to a man willing to pay for them. (Guerrero then shot the man.) Winston (Chi McBride) is the boss and he may know having been the man who offered Chance a way out of what was apparently a criminal life. But whether or not anyone knows, no one is saying at present.

There was a woman he was in love with. She died. How and why are unknown at present but it's one of the show's continuing threads often referenced as he does various jobs.

Jobs? He protects targets often by becoming the target himself. Sometimes, they're hired to protect, other times they're protecting to pay off an old favor or to honor a fallen friend.

This is an action show -- with a lot of brooding -- and the action scenes are rather intricate, whether it's fighting, car chases, motorcycle chases, or what have you. About the only thing that doesn't work is when an episodes running short and gets padded, after commercial break, with what amounts to a greatest hits of what you've already seen.

An early episode, involving a train, demonstrated that the suspense would only come from the action. In that episode, a woman was the target and from the first scene where she and her husband hire Chance, it was rather obvious that the husband was the one wanting her dead. Apparently not grasping how obvious it was, they waited until forty minutes in to 'reveal' that fact. In another episode protecting a woman from the mob and who knows who else, long before Christopher Chance knew the woman was the daughter of the mobster, 80% of the audience probably did.

Along with not pinning your hopes on intricate mysteries to unravel, you better be able to suspend disbelief -- from record heights. For example, accepting that a group of monks might take in someone they pretty much knew was a criminal might be believable. That they would hide him might also strike some as plausible. That, even when beaten, they'd refuse to give him up might even have a few takers. But who in the world, for one moment, would believe the monks would allow him to teach an 'independent study' class that postulated Superman was like Jesus?

If you can suspend disbelief and accept that you'll know who the 'bad guy' is within the show's first ten minutes (long before the characters do), you've really got an interesting show. The writing is on the level of The Rockford Files and we don't mean that as an insult. That show wrote characters very well. This one does as well and it also has strong performances. That includes Emmanuelle Vaugier who role as an FBI agent offers a few twists and turns for the show. (That wasn't a one-shot on the January 25th episode, she will be back. And Vaugier is probably most familiar from her role as Mia on Two & A Half Men.)

Each week Chance has to protect a target and that had us thinking of the loony fringes of Panhandle Media and how they're all about the "human target." Blasting away at this person or that and how they do it not for insurance money or to stop someone from testifying, but in order to feel superior to the rest of the world.

How else do you explain the stunt KPFA allowed Aimee Allison to pull on Friday's The Morning Show? Where Aimee and her guest spent a half-hour attacking John Mayer with a few verbal grenades tossed at Holly Robinson-Pete and Michael Franti.

And that had us thinking about all the hatred heaped on and grenades tossed at Hillary Clinton who, for the record, is not the president of the United States. But the pathetic and lunatic fringe that refuses to call out Barack for the actions he orders is happy to turn around and pretend that Hillary is commander in chief and that she's responsible for this action or that action.

It's amazing that KPFA gives Hillary so much power after working so hard to destroy her run for the presidency.

Is hatred the motive for most crimes?

We don't know. We're sure envy would rank high on the list as well. But what we are seeing more and more and hearing more and more from supposed left 'leaders' and 'gas bags' is a non-stop attempt to attack and smear, to destroy and distort.


For those who missed it, Hillary out polls Barack but KPFA and its ilk are convinced that non-stop attacks on Hillary will bring them new listeners. Actually, that should read "attacks on Hillary and other women." And we'll be checking back in on Pacifica and their intended targets in April but for right now, here's a little game you can play.

Listen to any Pacifica radio program with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Note how many times the host and/or guest(s) tosses out Hillary's name to deflect from Barack. Note how many times the host rips apart Hillary Clinton for what the president has done. Note how many times Barack is called out.

We think you'll quickly grasp that Pacifica's all-time human target remains Hillary Clinton. John Murtha died last week and Amy Goodman 'marked' the passing by . . . playing her insults of Hillary. It's non-stop, never ending hatred from Amy Goodman and so many of the on air loons of Pacifica.

And in a real world like that, it's completely plausible that Christopher Chance could be needed week after week to protect one person after another. In fact, we'd suggest that they do an episode about a bitter Nancy Kulp look alike who never made it as a writer and sank as a radio host, someone with zero accomplishments to her name but who keeps pouring out sheer hatred day after day. Have her plot to kill the Secretary of State and let Chance fight her to her bloody death. Should Amy Goodman be too busy to take the part, we'd also highly recommend Laura Flanders.

And thinking of Amy Goodman and Laura Flanders and the two bitter no-talents' never ending assault on Hillary had us realizing that it wasn't envy or hatred that fueled their actions, it was the realization that their own lengthy lives had meant and resulted in so little. Maybe the true motivator of crime is absence of accomplishment? That would certainly explain Mark David Chapman as well as Goodman and Flanders.
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