Going to the Human Target pilot & panel turned out to be a great idea. The pilot was absolutely fantastic and action packed (not to mention having BSG's Tricia Helfer as a guest star).
As we geeks know the best comic creations don't always translate well to live action (often times the makers of the live action interpretations don't seem to have any respect for the source material. As fanboys/fangirls we are willing to accept small deviations as long as the main characters are not altered in ways that change the meaning of the comics we love. On our show we have gone on and on about Superman Returns destroying so much of what makes the character of Superman so great. On the other hand we have been endlessly pleased that the newest Batman movies (Batman Begins & The Dark Night) took such great care to bring an amalgum of some of the greatest Batman stories to the big screen.
The makers of Human Target definitely have respect for the source material. The 1972 comic book isn't so easy to transfer to the small screen nearly four decades later but in watching the pilot the changes seemed slight and inconsequential.
The basic story as laid out in the pilot revolves around a man with a mysterious past, Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), who acts as a bodyguard/detective using his skills (in the case of the pilot they showed his ability to flawlessly mimic language/dialect and martial arts/fighting) to protect the client (pilot client: Tricia Helfer). He puts himself in the line of fire time and again to keep the client safe. His friend Winston (Chi McBride) seems to work as his agent. Winston seems to have a caring brotherly concern for Chance and worries about his wreckless disregard for his own safety. Winston is not Chance's only friend. Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) takes on the legally questionable aspects of the jobs. If a place needs breaking into or pressure needs to be put on somebody Guerrero is the guy. What they do strattles the lines of legality and morality which seems to be something that will cause struggles in future episodes (especially for Winston who seems to prefer keeping things on the up and up).
We were not particularly familiar with Mark Valley before, we had only seen him in the few episodes of Fringe we watched. This is Mark Valley's first time as the star of a show and at the Comic-Con panel he seemed very nervous about fan reaction (of course that makes sense because Comic-Con reaction can sometimes make or break a show). When I spoke to him briefly at the signing after the panel he seemed truly concerned about what people thought which is one of the greatest things an actor attending Comic-Con can present. I was impressed that everyone involved seemed equally concerned that we fans appreciated the pilot. I was asked what I thought and executive producers John Steinberg, Brad Kern, & Peter Johnson listened intently as I explained my initial worry about care for the source material and followed with my pleasure at how exciting and well done the show was. They genuinely seemed to want to know what the fans wanted and where we might have found fault (personally I could not find fault in the pilot, it had action, drama, humor, suspense, & great guest stars and I can only hope they can keep that kind of momentum up in future episodes of the show).
Jackie Earle Haley has been cementing himself into the world of geek lately. From Watchmen to Nightmare on Elm Street to Human Target he is becoming somewhat of a geek icon. I thanked him for his spot on portrayal of Rorschach and he gave me a big smile and thanked me. I continued by telling him I was glad he'd be a new part of my TV schedule and again he seemed to truly appreciate it. He was really pleased to know that he had done a good job and that the fans were happy with his work. Knowing that the actors care about what they are doing and what we as fans think means the world to us.
Chi McBride is hilarious. He entered the panel high fiving the front row and joked with questioners at during the Q&A. I wouldn't be surprised if in the past he had attended Comic-Con as a fan. It's obvious that Chi chooses roles in shows he enjoys and can have fun with rather than just accepting something because it's a job. He also seems to love the fans (and we love him right back) which is so refreshing. I let him know I was pleased that I wouldn't be losing him from my TV lineup (man, I already miss Pushing Daisies) which certainly made him happy (though he was happy to begin with, nothing could have wiped the smile from his face). As with everyone else he was truly concerned with what the fans thought and he seemed to enjoy the chance to hear from people who appreciate his work.
One of the best signs for the show was the reaction of Len Wein, one of the co-creators of the original 1972 Human Target comic. He really seemed to enjoy the interpretation of his creation shown in the pilot for the 2010 series. He sat on the panel smiling and said he enjoyed the episode. Knowing that one of the creators of the comic appreciated what they did in the new show should be a sign to all fans and all those who appreciate live action comic book adaptations that Human Target is worth giving a shot to.
I hope FOX sees what a potential hit they have with Human Target. Unlike NBCs The Philanthropist this show doesn't feel like it's preaching. The action is stellar and the geek factor gives it the kind of push that could easily boost whatever ratings it gets when DVR/TIVO data is analyzed. Everyone should check out the pilot (and I'm pretty sure you'll all be coming back for more the next week). Next step is getting interviews with the cast and crew! Let's see what we at Geek World can work out!