Human Target is a TV action adventure series on Fox. Last season it was all very "boy’s own." Lots of fight scenes, stunts, mayhem, intrique and things blowing up. For all the special effects it was, I thought, very credible TV with writing, acting, and directing vastly better than the genre normally elicits.
But finally it was too boy’s own, which is to say all that daring-do got in the way of complexity or nuance or anything resembling the way human behave when they are not action heroes.
Clearly, someone at FOX said, "very well, let’s give the USA Networks treatment." And this means taking a page from the resoundingly successful playbook created by Bonnie Hammer and making our male heroes actually interact with and sometimes depend upon the women in their lives. Think of the girlfriend and mother in Burn Notice. The assistant and girl friend in Royal Pains. The FBI jailor and girlfriend in White Collar. And mother, sister, boss, male assistant and boy friend in In Plain Sight. (There are actually two versions of the Hammer strategy. I discuss the official one in McCracken 2009 and the unofficial one in McCracken 2010. See the links below.)
And it came to pass that two women were added to Human Target. One of them was the Mrs. Pucci (pictured) played by Indira Varma (er, also pictured). What a difference Mrs. Pucci makes! In a graceful, elegant way she dismantles the genre, scene in and scene out. Now we really have no idea what’s happening next. And while we are trying to puzzle out the character, we are treated to a great actress treating us to lots of nuance and subtlety.
But hang on! Bill Gorman reported yesterday that the numbers for Human Target were abysmal. Not much better that Under Covers which is now down for cancellation. My suggest we treat this as a new year’s eve resolution: defend Mrs. Pucci from cancellation!
Gorman, Bill. 2010. The Numbers of Human Target. December 23. click here.
McCracken, Grant. 2009. The Hammer Grammar. This Blog Sits At the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics. August 31. Click here.
McCracken, Grant. 2010. The secret script at USA Networks (aka the unmeshed male). This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics. Feb. 5. click here.