'Human Target': He'll Save Your Life. But Why?

 At first glance, it seems only a few details are needed to understand Fox's new show, Human Target, which premieres this Sunday, at 8 PM ET…

Based on a DC comic, it's a fast-paced thriller in the vein of 24 and Prison Break. It's a second attempt to bring the story to TV. (ABC's version, with Rick Springfield in 1992, lasted for seven episodes.) And it's an action hero extravaganza. 

In the first two episodes, the handsome daredevil, Chance (Mark Valley) is shot at, stabbed at, choked, whipped and kicked. He's called upon to stop a 200 mph super-train with faulty brakes, and to land a flaming, upside-side jet plane, amidst resistance from two villains with guns. As Valley describes the job, "it's sort of like The Rockford Files and the Six Million Dollar Man put together, with a McG action film."  

Why the choking? The kicking? The flaming jet planes? Chance works for a security firm that protects people who've been marked for death. "He blends into their surroundings, locates the threat and eliminates it," says Valley. In other words, it's action for the sake of slick, satisfying, pulsating action. And really, who needs an excuse for that? 

Curiously, the show's producers seem to think so. They take great pains to question their man's motives. "Why would he continue to do this, where he keeps putting himself in front of one loaded gun or another?" asks Winston (Chi McBride), Chance's partner and the face of the security firm. "How does somebody become a bodyguard?" asks a flight attendant on the distressed jet. "What makes anyone risk his life to protect a stranger?" asks the voiceover on the promo.  

It's not for the money. For one job, Chance accepts payment in the form of a case of whiskey. When negotiating another, he's most excited about riding on the super-fast train. And being a man of action, and few words, Chance himself doesn't do much explaining. "I hated my old job," he tells the flight attendant. "Felt I had more potential." But the guy's colorful past will certainly figure into this mystery. "Chance was on the other side of the law enforcement equation," says McBride. "And Winston was on the plus side of that."

Human Target's executive producer, Simon West, has already addressed the death wish conundrum, but only teasingly: "He's quite willing to put himself in harms way," says West. "He almost seems to relish the danger rather than trying to avoid it. We'll find out later why he seems to be so cavalier about his own safety."

Hmmm. So what is it? Redemption for something he did? Adrenaline addiction? Mental illness?

Would you risk your life for a perfect stranger?

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