Mark Valley is the human target

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Fox's "Human Target" (8 tonight, 9 p.m. Wednesday, WPGH) is a throwback to action-adventure shows of the 1970s in both its uncomplicated nature and its frequent preposterousness.

Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) is a private contractor hired to shield those in danger, making him a human target. Although based on a comic book, Chance has no superpowers beyond his ability to outwit bad guys. Maybe that's why producers of "Human Target" opt to surround him with over-the-top stories.

In tonight's premiere, Chance must protect a woman on a new bullet train (it's a "Supertrain" revival!); in Wednesday's episode he takes over the controls of a 737 and flies it upside down.

Making the show believable is not high on the writers' priority list.

In Wednesday's episode when another character asks a logical question that might fill in some gaps in the plot, Chance dismisses it, saying, "That's not important," allowing the writers to acknowledge a plot hole without requiring them to explain it. (And there are a lot of gaping holes in this show's plots.)

Chance receives assistance in his adventures from wary business partner/punching bag Winston (Chi McBride, "Pushing Daisies") and hired hand Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), who so far serve more to rattle off plot details than to exist as fully fleshed-out characters.

Valley has long displayed a flinty appeal and here he adds a knowing sense of humor. But it will take more than that to get viewers interested enough to take aim at "Human Traget" on a weekly basis.

First Published January 17, 2010 5:00 AM

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