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October 4, 2015

'Talking TV' Podcast with 'Human Target' Executive Producer Matt Miller

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 15th 2010 10:45AM
This week, we're very excited to bring you a special edition of the 'Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan' podcast.

In the podcast, Matt Miller, the new executive producer and showrunner of 'Human Target,' chatted with Ryan McGee and myself about the show's very enjoyable second season. Even if you weren't a fan of the first season (I was ambivalent about it myself), you might want to check out what this action-adventure show has in store when it returns 8PM ET Wednesday on Fox. It's greatly improved, in my opinion (and I'll write more about that in a 'Human Target' review that'll be posted here Wednesday).

Miller, who used to be one of our favorite 'Chuck' writers, talked about elements from Season 1 that he wanted to retain, as well as new dynamics and relationships that will be introduced in Season 2. He talks at length (but not in a spoilery way) about what's in store for Chance (Mark Valley), Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) and Winston (Chi McBride), and also about the addition of two new characters, Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma) and Ames (Janet Montgomery).

Casting news? Oh yes, we've got it! Miller chats about returning and new guest stars too (and if you want a sneak peek at the list of season 2 guest actors, read on).

This season on 'Human Target,' Molly Parker ('Deadwood,' 'Swingtown') guests in episode 2, Lennie James returns as Baptiste in episode 4, Tracie Thoms plays Winston's ex-wife in episode 5, and John Michael Higgins plays a suburban guy in need of protection in episode 6. Later episodes feature Leonor Varela's return as Maria, and Tony Hale of 'Chuck' and 'Arrested Development' as Harry, an unsuccessful private investigator friend of Chance's.

Miller talks about all that and much more in the podcast, so check it out, and return here Wednesday for my 'Human Target' season 2 review.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or if you're not an iTunes fan, you can listen to the podcasts or grab the MP3 files on this site.

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For those of us who don't like Chuck, but did like Human Target's first season, once it reached its full potential after 13 episodes, is there still reason to return?

I had only heard the changes discussed in broad strokes from Comicon (e.g., new showrunner from Chuck, two new female regulars, new composer/title sequence). I remained cautiously optimistic that Miller would change his style from Chuck to match Human Target, rather than the converse.

Only now upon hearing about the revamping directly from Miller, and not filtered through irate fans, am I incensed. He seems to have an appreciation for the show diametrically opposed to my own. He credits the action as the finest attribute of the show, and the relationships between the three male leads only second. He thinks the shadowy hero-in-hiding in a nondescript city theme is a detriment and wants to make the show more open and distinct. He was unhappy with an action-adventure show having an action-adventure movie score, complete with individual character motifs, and would rather have a "contemporary" soundtrack with "needle drops" (by which I assume he means pop music for the A18-34 crowd). Even the clothing must be contemporized.

Finally, one of the things I hate most about Chuck: the A-story must be directly analogous to the situation of one of the main characters, so they or we can learn a lesson. Miller states that they have taken great pains to insert this into every episode. It's not that this is a bad idea per se, just one I feel is handled very poorly on Chuck and many other shows whose writers are less capable of subtlety and more prone to bashing viewers over their heads with the characterization hammer.

It was at that point that I could not listen to the interview any further. He may have gone on to describe subsequent tweaks that I would consider positive, but I won't get to hear them. It may be taken as a measure of my anathematization that this is the first time I've been compelled to type two words about this show, as well as the first time I've considered not giving the new season a few episodes to impress me.

I know that these changes are calculated to increase ratings by making the show more broadly appealing (or lower costs in the case of the music), and this tends to upset existing fans. However, we've all seen how this kind of executive tinkering can alienate both groups and please no one, causing shows to die even more quickly, and I hope that this will not be the case, whether I end up watching the show or not.

November 15 2010 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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