Friday, November 26, 2010

"Human Target" Hits The Spot

"Human Target"
Wednesdays at 8 pm EST, Fox
Starring: Mark Valley, Chi McBride, Jackie Earle Haley and Indira Varma

Hooray! One of my favorite new series is back for a second season. This doesn't happen often, folks; my expressing a preference for a show is usually a precursor to its premature cancellation. So I'm relieved and excited that Chance & Co. have returned to kick ass and take names in Fox's primetime lineup.

Based on a DC Comics character, Christopher Chance (Mark Valley of "Keen Eddie" and "Fringe") is a well-trained and highly adaptable assassin who switched sides years ago and now works as a bodyguard to protect those in danger from people like him. With his headquarters in a San Francisco loft, he teams up with former cop Winston (the lovably snarky Chi McBride of "Pushing Daisies") and torturer/hacker Guerrero. As played by the marvelous Jackie Earle Haley ("Watchmen," "Nightmare on Elm Street"), Guerrero is a character that defies description, his deliberate and devious demeanor expertly hidden behind a laid-back "Hey, dude" attitude. I adore Guerrero.

The major change for this season is an infusion of estrogen in the form of Indira Varma and Janet Montgomery. Varma's Ilsa Pucci is an elegant widow who offers to bankroll Chance's operation in return for his saving her life (and fortune). Varma has a habit of dying in British series like "Torchwood" and "Luther," so I'm hoping she has better luck this side of the Pond. Montgomery's character, Ames, is a bit more problematic. A career thief who tries to insinuate herself into Chance's gang after inadvertently endangering Ilsa. Ames makes the mistake of not listening to Guerrero's instructions, and that's not going to win her any points. As impulsive female criminals go, she can't compare to the vastly superior Parker on TNT's "Leverage." I think several viewers would rather have seen Autumn Reeser return as the wide-eyed but wise computer genius, if the writers insist on adding a female to the roster.

The dialogue is snappy and clever, and the action races along like a small-screen blockbuster. "Human Target" continues to establish its geek cred with guest spots from actors like Tahmoh Penikett ("Battlestar Galactica," "Dollhouse") and M.C. Gainey ("Lost"). However, we haven't had a fight scene in a tight space yet, which became a trademark of the show in its first season. Air ducts, elevators, car interiors--Chance has fought baddies in all of them. The stunt coordinators might not know what to do with all that open air and space. Okay, I'm kidding; they know exactly what they're doing and it shows in every single episode.

"Human Target" is a refreshing midweek break from all those reality shows, cliched sitcoms, catfighting housewives and depressing dramas. Couldn't we all use a smile and a 9-millimeter?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The "Secret" is out..Downsizing is in!

If you haven't read Rhonda Byrne's book The Secret, you've probably heard about it on one or two daytime talk shows. How it promotes following the natural laws of attractions, i.e. "like attracts like," to get what you want. Making a vision board of your dream house/man/job and asking The Universe to bring it into your life. The book is filled with testimonials of people for whom this theory has worked. After reading it (upon the recommendation of my therapist), I'm pretty sure that it's a load of New Age bollocks. And you know the exact page where the author lost me? Proclaiming that she maintained a weight of 116 pounds by merely "not thinking fat thoughts." Really? Seriously? 'Cause I think it might have something to do with diet and exercise, you skinny bitch! Wait, that's the low blood sugar talking; let me grab another fun size Three Musketeers...

But I'll confess I was at the point where I'm willing to try anything to change my outlook. Because these days, the outlook is pretty bleak. I'm still out of work, have no job prospects, can't even get interviews, and just paid the last mortgage payment that I can afford. I spent the better part of an afternoon at Social Services to be told that I can't qualify for Medicaid but I might qualify for food stamps. So this is me at rock bottom. Terrified to spend a single dollar on anything that isn't absolutely essential. Picking out which pieces of furniture I can take or leave from the condo that I bought three years ago, because I'll likely be moving back in with my parents next month. And Christmas? Well, I'm very tempted to just skip it this year. Hey, I've become an agnostic!

I guess I have to focus on what I do have at this point and being grateful for it and believing in my heart that life can be good again. Much like the family on WeTV's Downsized, I have to accept that this is the new reality. I can't have a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks but I can have an apple cider at home. I can't go to a gym and work out three times a week but I can walk on the treadmill. I've just spent so much time being angry at other people or myself or Congress or the world in general, and it's exhausting. I'll still be jealous of my friends when they post about the cool things they've bought or the places they're going, I can't help it. I had this notion that if I studied hard and I made good grades in school, life would always be good. But that's not true. Bad things happen to good people. Good people make bad decisions. I suppose I'm now paying for those decisions. In spades.

For me, "The Secret" is to be content with living in the moment. I don't know what the future holds and I've spent way too many hours regretting the past. Right now, I just need to be where I'm at, as Sean of "Galactic Watercooler" podcast so eloquently said. And at least where I'm at has pumpkin pie. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and let your loved ones know that they are loved.