TV REVIEW : High-Tech ‘Target’ Misses the Mark


“Human Target” is minimalist adventure drama. The ABC summer series premieres at 10 tonight on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42 (hereafter to air Saturdays at 9 p.m.), bringing us Rick Springfield as fearless Christopher Chance, who impersonates endangered people who are his exact height. It also helps if they’re male.

Chance and his three sidekicks soar above the globe in something called the Black Wing, a sort of flying Bat Cave that only someone in Ross Perot’s tax bracket could afford. The producers are obviously less concerned with reality than with action, but not much luck there, either.

Tonight, Chance impersonates a businessman named Palmer, who hires him to find out why he’s being stalked by a killer. Assisted by his skilled staff and Black Wing’s glitzy technology, Chance becomes a virtual replica of Palmer but, being old-fashioned, declines to sleep with Palmer’s wife, who isn’t in on the ruse.

Later, he reveals his identity to her. Watched by the Palmer’s two small children, who thought he was really their father, Chance pulls off his latex mask to reveal Springfield’s face. Instead of being terrorized, however, the kids love him for it.


Still later, Mrs. Palmer wonders why Chance chose this line of work. After an anguished sigh, he responds. “I was in a special unit in Vietnam. We’d go in an enemy village and we’d. . . . Well, I’m sure you get the picture.” Not exactly, but at this point you half expect Chance to pull off his face again and be Lt. William Calley.

More than anything, what’s missing in “Human Target” are suspense and a convincing hero. As Chance, Springfield acts up a calm.

The second episode, in which Chance rescues a four-star general from a deranged former Special Forces assassin, is better, but only marginally.