Human Target reveals everything next week
BY FRED TOPEL
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW
Fox’s new action show Human Target is wrapping up its first season next week with an episode that answers all your questions. Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) recalls the mission where he first assumed his identity and decided to protect people from bad guys. You’ll see how he hooked up with Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) to become the trio they are today.
Valley, Haley and series creator Jonathan Steinberg spoke to the press at WonderCon in San Francisco last weekend, before they premiered the season finale episode to the fans. Valley was excited about the payoff.
“It’s really interesting the way a TV show evolves,” Valley said. “Because it does evolve, nobody has all the scripts written out. Some things, you might just put in the beginning of episodes, like Chance’s tattoo was something my makeup artist came up with. That might end up weaving back in and you find out that’s influenced writing this other backstory that maybe he was in this one unit in Indonesia with Guerrero and they all got these tattoos one night when they were drunk or whatever it was. They try to include like little clues and weave them all together later.”
Even though it is based on a comic book, Steinberg has made Human Target his own. He had to be careful about centering the season finale on backstory and still delivering an action-packed adventure.
“For me in terms of building a show with some legs to it, it’s a real balancing act in building just enough mythology that the people who are watching your show every week feel like you’re going somewhere, but not so much that the mythology eats the show,” Steinberg said. “I feel like there are a lot of good shows that have just been eaten alive by their mythology. It just becomes too burdensome to maintain. A little bit of a good thing goes a long way, but it’s the backbone of the show, it’s the soul of the show, and in any good finale I think it’s something that has to be center stage. There’ll be a lot of answers but there’ll be more questions asked than answered. Hopefully stuff that’ll carry us a long way in answering these questions.”
Fans will surely like a moment between Chance and Guerrero. Even finding out their history, Guerrero remains mysterious. “I think that’s neat though,” Haley said. “I even think it’s neat how even with Chance’s character, we get some wonderful answers, but there’s still more questions. I like that in entertainment. I like to hold some back. I don’t want to learn too much about Guerrero too quick, because that’s kind of what makes him fascinating. As it ekes out, I’d like more complexity to come along with it, to where it comes with more questions than answers.”
The season finale ends in a cliffhanger. Fox has not officially renewed the show, but Steinberg has already thought about what new stories he’d tell next year. “There are a number of stories we want to tell just because we think they’re cool,” he said. “They’re movies we’d want to make. There’s a bit of a spine to season two, but I think we have a reasonably good handle on it. That’s a bit of a balancing act too, in terms of not getting married to specifics but having a sense of where you’re going and letting the story take you there but knowing what it looks like when you get there. The temptation’s always to figure out more than you need in the moment. I think we know where we’re going. I think we’re excited about it.”
The actors are still learning about their characters too. Haley, who recently enjoyed a comeback with his acting career, has still been used to definitive, complete scripts in the movie world. The open ended nature of television has been a thrilling experience for him.
“It kind of comes into focus for me with the writers, but there’re still questions that float out there,” Haley said. “I think for me it’s kind of a fragmented process of possibilities that comes more and more into focus as we go. That’s really exciting. It’s kind of different, too, than what I’m used to. I’m kind of used to ‘Here’s the script and then let’s work, collaborate on that.’ This is like, ‘Here’s a script, do it, and then here’s another, and another.’ It’s pretty neat, but yeah, we’ve talked about some cool things that are kind of out there for Guerrero.”
A legendary action hero from the past joined Human Target for their season finale. Lee Majors, the original Six Million Dollar Man, plays an important figure in Chance’s past. “He’s a great actor,” Steinberg said. “I haven’t seen him in much lately and I think there’s a temptation to think of him as a ‘70s and ‘80s TV guy who isn’t really relevant. That guy’s a good actor and a guy who we stumbled into, but he’s got a little bit of Johnny Cash going on, a little bit of Clint Eastwood. He’s so cool and so perfect for that role. The role and the idea of bringing him almost sort of happened at the same time. For us, it was exactly what we wanted. To have him and to be able to put him in the spotlight in a way that I think he deserves and a way that I think he pulled off really well.”
Whether the answers to your burning questions arrive in the season finale or you have to wait until next year, rest assured that there’s nothing on Human Target that’s not important. Valley himself said every detail pays off in some way.
“We don’t really have enough time to show something or talk about something or bring something up unless it sort of pays off later because it’s just really not worth it,” Valley said. “We’re under such time constraints, and anything can sort of be paid off later. It’s amazing. You think that there’s this limited number of things that one clue could lead to, but there’s numerous ways to weave it into a story, and it’s so fun to be a part of that. I’m reading a script and it’s like ‘Oh, wow, how’d they come up with that?’”
Human Target airs Wednesday night on Fox.
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