If you’re finding yourself concerned that Fox’s “Human Target” might tarnish your memory of Rick Springfield’s interpretation of the DC Comics character, then it means 1) you’ve got a really long memory, and 2) your memory is perhaps a little faulty, because Springfield’s version really wasn’t that good. Fortunately, what I’ve seen of the new “Human Target” actually is pretty good…if you like action-packed spectaculars, that is.
“Yeah, the show is a lot about action,” admits McG, one of the series’ executive producers. “But, truthfully, what I respond to mostly about the show is indeed the writing and the ability for these three guys to entertain. My favorite moments in the show are the character moments between what I think is an interesting triangle where you have three characters that occupy very different space. There’s nothing about each that would step on the other’s toes, and that, for me, makes it very entertaining to watch.”
The first episode takes place on a train, the second on a plane, and, yes, there’ll be an episode set on a boat coming up in due course. (Chi McBride claims there’s also one on a tractor, but we’re pretty sure he’s kidding.) Yes, set-piece stuff has been done to death via just about every mode of transportation there is, but McG’s fellow executive producer, Jonathan E. Steinberg, swears that they’re trying to expand beyond the predictable.
“We’re trying to do something you’ve never seen before in every one of them,” he says. “That’s the challenge for us: to kind of wade into a genre that’s been trod over for a long time and find a way to turn it on to you every week.”
Taking the original comic book character and making him into a TV series wasn’t quite as easy in 2009 as it was back when Springfield was playing the part, owing to the reinvention of the Human Target through DC’s Vertigo line of comics. “When I tell people that I was doing research for the character, I was reading the DC Comics,” said Valley. “Then I started reading the Vertigo Comics, and there seems to be a fairly significant departure when it goes into Vertigo. The characters seem to become a little bit thinner, a little more introverted, and a little more obsessed with his own existentialism. And the original DC character seemed like a little more like what Jon has on the page, actually. So in terms of kind of sticking with what the original character was, I think we are right in line.”