Human Target – Season One
The television series Human Target, of which we got to review the first season’s Blu-Ray release, finds its origin in comic books. The main character goes by the name of Christopher Chance (portrayed by Mark Valley), and is a bodyguard / private investigator / personal vendetta man whose personality is loosely inspired on that of the master spy Bond himself. But in contrary to his Martini-slurping could-be-colleague who heads into danger head-on, Chance prefers to mingle among people and strike when the enemy is at their weakest. Don’t be afraid, though, as this doesn’t mean there isn’t any action to be found in the series. The pace is quite high actually, with rarely a dull moment.
The season consists of twelve episodes that work OK on their own, but they lack ongoing character development. It isn’t until during the later episodes “Baptiste” (8) and “Christopher Chance” (12) that we really get the sense of an underlying truth as the ongoing story delves deeper into the history of our lead characters. And just as with the storytelling, the quality of the acting and the episodes as a whole increases as the season progresses. What did surprise me during a second watch-through, however, was that those deeper story elements were hinted at very gently, even in the earliest episodes, only leaving a faint scent that there’s more to Chance’s past. It’s a dangerous choice for the producers as this doesn’t encourage viewers to return for the next episode. On the other hand, it keeps the series light and accessible to channel surfers.
Sound and Vision:
The image quality on the Blu-Ray release of Human Target is simply stunning. Very sharp and detailed picture, good colour levels and contrast. If only every release looked this good. The audio track is solid with clear dialogues, but with the music being one of the main characters, it’s a pitty that the discs have no lossless audio compression on them. Opportunity missed!
The music in the series is written by Bear McCreary, who became a big thing in the television scoring business with his work on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. For Human Target, he aimed at an adventurous and extremely thematic score, that ended up sounding like a modern India Jones. All music was recorded with a live orchestra, and for one particular episode even the largest ever assembled for a television series. It gives the series that extra panache, making it stand out from other mainstream shows.
There are but a few extras included in the 2-disc set, which is undoubtedly a disappointment for fans of the series. Even more, these few extras are presented in stereo sound (English), but with all subtitles available.• Human Target: Confidential Informant – From page to screen with cast and creators (15:45)
• Human Target: Full Contact Television – What it takes to unleash all that on-screen action (15:32)
• Unaired Scenes – From the episode “Christopher Chance” (2:47)
• Pilot Commentary by Mark Valley, Chi McBride and executive producers Jonathan E. Steinberg and Peter Johnson.
Human Target initially left me with a mixed feeling. Though the series’ stories are solid and filled with both humor and action, the lack of depth was an issue until I had seen the later episodes. Eventually the series grew on me, and although I’m excitingly awaiting the season two release, I was saddened to hear that the music score will be handled by someone else than Bear McCreary due to new creative leadership and budget cuts. Nevertheless, I have great expectations for this series. Pick it up, if you can.