Apr 27, 2020
Human Target “Pilot” (part 1 of 5)
FOX is airing a new action series called Human Target, based on an obscure DC comics character of the same name. So I’m sure you’ve heard this isn’t the first attempt to adapt the Human Target into a weekly primetime series. And if you haven’t, well, now you have. And who says this site is useless?
Back in 1992, ABC briefly aired its own The Human Target, starring pop singer and once-and-future General Hospital star Rick Springfield. For those too young to remember, Rick Springfield had five Billboard Top 10 singles back in the 1980s (the biggest being the #1 hit “Jessie’s Girl”), making him a bona fide pop star and a heartthrob to millions of teenage girls. If you don’t believe me, just ask my sisters, who saw Hard to Hold roughly 25 times in the theater because it contained a shot of Rick’s bare butt. Unfortunately, by the ‘90s, Rick Springfield’s career had cooled off considerably, as perfectly illustrated by his starring role on this show.
The pilot for ABC’s Human Target was originally filmed in 1990, but for unclear reasons, the show wasn’t actually picked up until the summer of 1992. ABC stuck it in the Saturday Night Death Slot, where it went up against the Olympics in Barcelona, no less. To nobody’s surprise, it lasted six episodes.
Using my google-fu, I was able to acquire a fuzzy copy of the very first episode. I’m currently on the lookout for other episodes, but judging by the pilot, the show was done on the cheap, with lackluster special effects and weak action sequences, even by 1992 TV standards. Frankly, I can’t tell you why ABC even bothered to pick up this series, because it’s boring. Very boring.
The Human Target was developed for TV by Paul De Meo and Danny Bilson, two writer-producers who worked together frequently. They also co-wrote the screenplay for The Rocketeer, and adapted The Flash for CBS. And Danny Bilson happens to have a daughter named Rachel who later gained some fame on The O.C., and yes, Rachel Bilson, age 9, does appear briefly in this episode, and actually gets to say a couple of lines.