Comic-Con: 'Human Target' gets a new boss, on and off-screen
The "Community" panel yesterday afternoon was an example of one kind of successful Comic-Con panel. The one at the end of the day for "Human Target" was another kind: the one where a pretty good show suggests it's about to get much better.
Based on the response on my blog and elsewhere, "Human Target" in its first season was a show with a great cast and some really well-done action, but that was a little more lightweight and disposable than fans were hoping for. The season finale promised the show could go deeper, and at the panel, new showrunner Matthew Miller (a "Chuck" veteran) presented some promising ideas for season two, while still leaving plenty of time for stars Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley to bounce off each other and be funny. My recap after the jump...
Miller said he was a fan of the first season, and that even though "Chuck" often has good action sequences, "I had never seen what they were able to accomplish in season one of 'Human Target.'"
(Mild season two spoilers follow.)
Because the cast is so small, and all-male, he decided to bring in a pair of new women. Indira Varma has already been cast to play Ilsa Pucci, a wealthy widow who will be the team's client in the premiere, then decide she wants to buy the organization, "and becomes almost a female Charlie" (of "Charlie's Angels"), according to Miller.
"It also gives them access to a billionaire's toys," he added. "Access to her jets and her cars. The show can have more of an international feel."
The other character, yet-to-be-cast, is a woman in her early 20s, who, Miller said, "is just a despicable thief" with a backstory similar to what Chance and Guererro were up to at that age.
The always stylish (here in plaid shorts and a lime green soccer jersey) and quotable Chi McBride said, "You know how guys just love for a woman to tell 'em what to do!" He said that Chance, Winston and Gurerrero can complain about having a boss now, "But at the end of the day, she can go, (sing-song) 'Y'all ain't got no money! So you gotta do what I saaaaay!'"
"I think we're going to have a little more inherent conflict going on within the family," said Valley, who noted that a lot of season one leaned heavily on the guest stars for that (and, therefore, each episode rose and fell based on guest casting). "It's going to enrich the show on a number of levels."
"Every case that will come into us, it's not just about that person whose life is in danger that week," said Miller, "but how that case teaches us something we didn't know about one of our principals. It should have conflict and emotion for one of our leads."
Haley was asked about the number of times Guererro says "Dude," and he admitted that the writers quickly began cutting back on "The Dude Count" after a few episodes, but that the word kept slipping into his performance, anyway.
"I just can't help it, dude."
An audience member asked Valley about whether we might see Amy Acker's character again, or if we're to assume she died on that boat.
"If you look closely at that boat when it explodes," Valley said with a grin, "you just see a boat explode. So keep your hopes up."
Another fan asked about the challenge of writing a character in Chance who seems to be good at everything. Valley said he and the writers were looking for "his Kryptonite, more or less," and that a lot of Chance's success depends on having Winston and Guererro to believe in him.
Haley was delighted to see a female audience member dressed as Guererro - complete with handlebar mustache, and invited her on stage for all to see.
"This is a trip, man," said Haley. "I've seen a lot of Rorsachs and Freddies, but this is the first Guerrero I've seen."
The women then went back to the front of the Q&A line and asked - somewhat sheepishly, now that she had been up close and personal with the stars, and the room knew what she looked like - "What would Guererro do if a guy were into him?"
McBride was pleased to see his co-star put on the spot, and after a moment's thought, Haley said, "I have to stick to what makes Guerrero so interesting: we're going to have leave that a mystery."
"Well-played, Number Two," McBride told him.
"Season three, you'll get your answer," Haley promised.
Miller said he wanted to bring back many of season one's guest characters, but Emmanuelle Vaugier (FBI Agent Barnes) has a new job on another series. But he said Lennie James would return in the fourth episode as Chance's ex-partner Baptiste in a "48 Hours"-style story where Chance has to bust Baptiste out of prison to help rescue a woman.
Definitely looking forward to how this all plays on screen come fall.