Human Target

9:30pm Wednesday, November 10 on TV2

The first season of full-throttle action drama, Human Target, comes to an end this week on TV2.

Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) is a mysterious security agent for hire who assumes different identities, at times literally becoming a human target on behalf of his clients.

In the season finale, when Chance’s former boss makes a move to bring him back into the fold, flashbacks reveal the events that lead to the unlikely partnership between Chance, Winston and Guerrero.

While the episodes leading up to the end of the series have been action-packed and intense, Valley believes the finale really stands out on its own. He says, “the finale is when we really learn a lot about how our team came together and actually where Chance and Winston’s characters met for the first time, and where the direction is probably going to be if they give us a second season.

“The only cliff-hanger is that one of the three of us – Jackie Earle Haley’s character, Guerrero; Chi’s character, Winston; or myself – is in peril. We don’t really know what’s going to happen to them because they know a little bit more than we thought they did,” he continues.

Although it is believed there is something seriously wrong with Chance’s background that encourages him to do the things he does, the finale is sure to keep some secrets in tact.

“[The viewers] are going to get some more information on [Chance’s past],” says Valley. “I don’t think it’s really a resolution, but it’s definitely a window into what his experience was and why he ended up kind of doing what he does now. And a lot of it has to do with the way these characters have come together. We find out that he and Guerrero have been together for a lot longer than we thought before.”

With all of the action-packed drama comes a lot of hard work for the Valley and his co-stars, and keeping in shape right to the bitter end has been an on-going task.

Valley says, “I did a bit of training, a little bit of martial arts, to try to stay in shape. Also, I do sit down and take a break, take a rest, and get some water. We have stunt doubles that jump in for us from time to time, so we don’t have to do all of it. I just try not to eat cookies during production.”

9:30pm Wednesday, October 13 on TV2

For Mark Valley, playing dare-devil security agent Christopher Chance means that he has to get physical on set as his character plummets down an elevator shaft, hurls himself from a bullet train, or gets involved in a martial arts tournament.

Valley admits his current role is more hazardous than playing buttoned-up lawyer, Brad, on Boston Legal. “It has been a little different from playing Brad. There was a couple of times I had to do these sidekicks, and I would kind of tear the seam of my pants in kind of an embarrassing spot, and that never happened in court!”

Valley points out that they have very well-qualified stunt-people to take on the really dangerous stuff; but that doesn’t mean he gets off scot-free. “I’m surviving on ice and ibuprofen,” he laughs. However, he insists that his character isn’t just a bruiser. “As an older guy, he has to have a little more finesse – he knows when to expend his energy and when not to. He’s all about calculated risk – and so am I!”

The other thing Valley likes about Chance is his dark humour. “My character has done some pretty heinous stuff, and some of those old skeletons are still rattling around in his closet,” says Valley. “There is a psychic toll that goes along with being an assassin. That’s the reason for Chance’s gallows humour. It helps him deal with his crisis of conscience.”

Pieces of Chance’s past come into focus in this week’s episode of Human Target, when he recruits FBI Agent Emma Barnes (Emmanuelle Vaugier) to help him stop his former partner from assassinating a visiting foreign dignitary. Meanwhile, Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) tests out a familiar face as a new recruit to the team. Guest stars include Autumn Reeser (Entourage, The O.C.) and Lennie James (Jericho, Snatch).

9:30pm Wednesday, September 22 on TV2

Chance protects a district attorney marked for murder by the mob, tonight on Human Target (9.30pm on TV2).

Series creator Jonathan Steinberg explains the kind of figure he wanted to create in the character of Chance, “what we really wanted to do was to create an action hero that was kind of like the action heroes that I grew up with and that we all grew up loving, the Indiana Joneses, the John McClanes. It’s hard, very hard to fall in love with Indiana Jones when he looks like somebody else every week. And so I think that a lot of what we wanted to do was really make sure that this was going to be a guy that you wanted to spend time with and that could be charming in that way.”

There are a number of guest stars who appear throughout the series, Steinberg talks about how they came to be: “With Danny Glover, I think it started as a goof on the set because we knew we wanted to cast a bit of a cameo for it. And realistic cameos started to become unrealistic cameos. And we just started throwing names around until we realised we wanted it to be somebody who really spoke to the soul of what we wanted the show to be. We wanted it to be Lethal Weapon and Die Hard and those kind of things. So I wrote him a fan letter, and he came and did it, which is pretty cool.”

Steinberg summarises his vision for the series, “I grew up as a movie kid and was a huge fan of the movies that ended up being the DNA of the show; Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars and movies like that.”

Allyson Russo (guest star Kristin Lehman, Drive, Judging Amy) is a district attorney who is running from her family’s past and has been marked for murder because of her investigation into an organised crime family. Someone has been going through her apartment and her car, and she’s had a police detail assigned to watch her.

Unconvinced the police will provide the security she needs, she hires Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) to find out who is after her.

In tonight’s episode, Chance needs a miracle to help protect a reformed thief from his vengeful former accomplices as they race to recover priceless religious artifacts hidden in a remote Canadian monastery. Guest star Sam Huntington (Superman Returns) appears as John Gray, Sarah Smyth (Naked Josh, Durham County) appears as Emily, and William Mapother (Lost) appears as Fisher.

9:30pm Wednesday, August 25 on TV2

Mark Valley (Fringe) stars as a mysterious security agent for hire in TV2’s new riveting action/drama, Human Target.

People have secrets, and secrets can be dangerous, but nobody deserves to die. This is the belief of security agent Christopher Chance (Valley), who assumes different identities, at times literally becoming a human target on behalf of his clients.

Explaining why Christopher Chance is one of the most enduring comic heroes most people have never heard of, Valley tells TV Guide USA:

“This character has been sneaking around under the radar in comics and graphic novels for decades, never hugely famous, but somehow he’s managed to avoid obscurity because of one thing: The guys has unbelievable balls. He’s the ultimate in suicidal bravery.”

Resourceful, driven and compelled by a force known only to him, this take-charge antihero will barter his services for an aged bottle of scotch, much to the chagrin of his shadowy associates.

Series creator Jonathan Steinberg (Jericho) muses, “There’s something so interesting about a character who looks like a movie star and is hilariously funny but lacks any sense of self-preservation.

“It’s conceit that allows us to do a show with no rules. Because Chance is not a cop tied down to solving crimes in the same old city, we can take him anywhere in the world and make the equivalent of a high-octane action movie every week.”

In tonight’s premiere, Chance is hired to protect a district attorney (guest star Kristin Lehman, Drive, Judging Amy) who is running from her family’s past and marked for murder because of her investigation into an organised crime family.

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of Human Target will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

It was TVNZ’s turn to show off which series they’ll be screening in 2010 at their new season launch today in Auckland.  As you’d expect, there’s a fairly solid line-up.

TV One has a new goal:  to be a little edgier.  One might assume: a little less safe.  It will be interesting to see how this transcribes into ratings.

TV One should dominate Mondays with The Pacific, an HBO series from the makers of Band of Brothers.  This will be followed by the multi-Emmy award-winning series Generation Kill. However, as it aired in the US in 2008, it can be bought on DVD here for about $40.

On TV2 Monday night kicks off with Supernanny followed by Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters.

Before Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice screen, Tuesday nights on TV2 will have New Zealand’s version of The Apprentice.  No doubt Terry Serepisos should do quite well now that some of the boys from his club are heading to the World Cup.

Speaking of which, unlike other major sporting events, TVNZ has chosen not to relinquish the free-to-air rights for the football World Cup in South Africa which will screen on TV One.

Wednesday will see the local version of Masterchef New Zealand on TV One, confirming that the format won’t follow the highly successful Australian version.  This will be followed by the second season of Packed to the Rafters that is about to finish in Australia.

The final season of Lost has been promised to be aired as close to its US release as possible. The word simulcast was used but no one expects the show to air at 2pm.  TV2 has it listed in a Wednesday timeslot which means the best we can hope for is that ABC in the US move the show to a Tuesday so that it will air here within hours. If not, one can only assume that New Zealand internet traffic will be incredibly low for the six days post the season finale in the US as kiwi fans avoid websites spoiling the mystery.

The lead in to Lost is the new sci-fi thriller Flash Forward.

Coming to TV One on Friday nights is Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet which will be up against a tough comedy line up on TV3.  TV2 will screen the ninth season of American Idol after Two and a Half Men and The Middle, a show that is scarily reminiscent of Malcom in the Middle.

TV One is bringing the Bond-a-thon to Saturday nights with all 22 Bond movies.

Marcus Lush will be back with South, as will Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road and the Amazing Race for Sunday evenings.  Sports fans will also be introduced to a new show on TV One for Sunday’s lineup.

The spaceships were shown but the cult remake of V wasn’t mentioned specifically.

The show of the preview though had to be This is Not My Life from the makers of Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune.  It looks hot.  The brief snippet made me think of Minority Report and the cult series Nowhere Man from the nineties.  It stars Charles Mesure (Gerard from Outrageous Fortune – does this mean he’s dead and not in Season 6?) and Tania Nolan (Angelina from Go Girls).  Of everything I saw, this was the one I’m most looking forward to.  Hopefully we’ll get a copy of the trailer soon.

New Shows
Flash Forward



The Middle



The Forgotten



The Vampire Diaries



Human Target



Drop dead Diva



Cougar Town



Hawthorne



Hung



Castle



Generation Kill



The Pacific



Past Life



V

Local
The Apprentice New Zealand
Masterchef New Zealand
Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet

Real Life: Are You My Tribe

Returning
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Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
Packed to the Rafters
Beyond the Darklands
Gangs of Oz
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The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show
Inspectors
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Gary Unmarried
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Police Ten 7
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America’s Funniest Home Videos
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Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road
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