Fox Cancels HUMAN TARGET; Passes on LOCKE & KEY

It's not a good week for comic book television shows.

The suits over at Fox were busy on Tuesday as they set their new fall schedule by taking not a scalpel but an axe to its current slate of shows. The most notable cut, at least as it relates to this website? Human Target.

As much fun as Human Target was, this cancelation comes as no surprise. After debuting to a stronger than expected 10.12 million viewers, ratings dropped steadily, hitting lows of 4 million viewers at points in the second season. For two seasons, Human Target was a good time. It will be missed.

But what of Locke & Key?

Fox has passed on Locke & Key. Word is that the pilot was very well received. Almost too well received. What's that you say? How can a pilot be too good to make it to series? According to Deadline, the pilot so impressed the Fox executives that they had trouble seeing it as a series, saying that it looked more like a feature film (which is how it was originally developed). That sounds like code for "it's too expensive for a series." You'd think that the runaway success of The Walking Dead on AMC would help the jittery Fox decision makers, but then Fox does not have a great track record with genre shows, and success on cable and success on network are two entirely diferrent things. The latest report claimed that Fox was supposedly considering setting up Locke & Key as a big event mini-series but in the end passed on the series entirely.


  1. What? No! Human Target is great. My only trouble was that here in the U.K it was originally on the SyFy channel then it changed to Fiver and then the other day I saw it again on SyFy, so I had major trouble getting into a routine of watching it.

    Totally agree that it’ll be sadly missed.

  2. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I hope we get to see this Locke & Key pilot in some form. The script was top notch. 

  3. Maybe another network will pick up Locke & Key.

  4. 22 expensive episodes is also a lot different from the cable standard of 13.  And Fox doesn’t even seem like the type of network to carry Locke & Key, at least without some major changes. Just look at how different Human Target the TV show is from the comics.

  5. Awww man!  Human Target was a great hour to sit and suspend your disbelief, it was just straight up fun.


  6. well that kinda blows. Hopefully somebody has the good sense to pick up L&K

  7. I never watched Human Target or read the comics so I really don’t care about that, but I am kinda disappointed about the Locke & Key news, I was looking forward to watching it, hopefully they can work out a deal to make the entire series into movies, I mean if they can turn the entire Harry Potter & twilight book series’s into movie franchiese I don’t see how they couldn’t do the same with Locke & Key

    C’mon Fox, be smart for a change

  8. A “faithful” version of Human Target was attempted by ABC in the 90’s which is why this series was so much different. I wish Starz could pick it up or something. USA is a longshot.

  9. Remember: Fox cancelled Firefly, what would make us think their taste in television has gotten any better …

  10. Coming Fall 2011…..Guerrerro.

  11. I heard about the cancelling of Human Target, which I haven’t seen since season 1.  I did like the show alot though. 

    I’m surprised to hear about Locke & Key NOT getting picked up.  I live in Pittsburgh where they filmed the pilot, and I literally just saw a sign directing crew for more filming here on Monday.  I hope this still gets released in some capacity!

  12. Damn.  I’d love to see AMC get their hands on Locke & Key.

  13. Maybe USA Network will pick these shows up, they feel like that type of show.

  14. So does this mean that other networks can pick up the Locke & Key pilot, or is it dead in the water?

  15. Prob for the best. I don’t think Locke & Key would have done well on Fox. Network TV is the last place you want to put a quirky genre show or comic book adaptation these days. Originality is a death sentence on network tv right now. They’re looking for game shows and forumlaic sitcoms and procedurals. Not surprising.

  16. @mithrandir  –nothing to do with taste. more to do with cost vs profit ratio. They prob saw it would have a niche audience and didn’t think the ad money would be there to justify the expense. 

  17. Anymore I feel like if it’s a show I like, or would like, Fox cancels it before I realize it was happening.

    I only got to see one episode of Human Target, but what I saw of it I really liked. Sad to hear it’s been canceled before I really got a chance to dig into it. As for Locke and Key. I don’t know anything about it, but if the pilot was that good I’m glad they didn’t make it. It would only mean a half season at best with them.

    Here’s hoping someone else picks it up. 

  18. Not really surprised here.

    The first season of Human Target was a lot of fun, but season two was a mess with too many characters and I lost interest. For Locke and Key it is a perfect business move. If the show is way to damn expensive to produce and show, how could Fox make a profit? Especially if the ratings could be low which I’m sure was going to be the case. In the end, I’m sure it’ll find a network that’ll take the risk or at worst become a featured film. Now Joe has an idea on how daddy couldn’t get a show on the ground too.

  19. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @TheNextChampion  That last line was not called for. Whatsoever. 

  20. Gotta say, even though i was a fan of human target, and that i will be sad that it’s gone. This past season kind of sucked

  21. This is passed, the brilliant Chicago Code is canceled, and I’m sick of House. Goodbye FOX, you won’t be missed. Have fun fun with all your dancing and singing shows.

  22. When you make a rediculous amount of money on a show like American Idol, with a handful of payed on-screen employees and most competing for nothing, everything else starts to look expensive.

    Aside from that…f*** you Fox! I really enjoyed Human Target, and it will be missed. Here’s hoping a cable network can pick it up – TNT would be nice, it would fit in right beside Leverage.


  23. This is all sad, but let us not forget the cancelation of “The Chicago Code” not a comic book show sure, but DAMN was it good. 

  24. As long as they renew Breaking In, I will be happy.  That’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

  25. @bansidhewail  That was canceled as well.

  26. I enjoyed “Human Target” and will miss it but I’m REALLY mad that they’ve cancelled “The Chicago Code”!  I guess there isn’t any room on Fox for a show that requires more than a third grade education to get into.  Make room for more mindless crap.

  27. When the show can’t consistently get a 2 in adults 18 to 49 year olds, no matter how good the show is, it’s probably safe to say that it’s going to get canceled. There are execptions (e.g. Fringe…or if you’re NBC where a 1.5 is a hit), but I think it rarely happens? On a side note, rumor has it that NBC will formally pick up Wonder Woman as a series for 13 eps in the fall. Not sure if it’s been formally announced.

  28. Figured HT wouldn’t make it to season 3. Didn’t really care for the second season as much as the first. Adding two unlikable women characters did it for me.

  29. @Paul: Oh my apologies. I should feel bad for a kid who got through his entire life financially secure and had a Dad who couldn’t get a successful TV show to air for more then a few episodes.

    I mean come on Paul, seriously? Your offened by that? You need to get your priorities straight. 

  30. @Conor, damn I kept hearing about Human Target and Lock & Key, nothing about Breaking In.
    Human Target had a good first season but I never got drawn back in for the second season. Sounds like that happened to a lot of people.

    With what Locke & Key is about, I always figured it would of been better on FX. Maybe the producers should make a call to AMC, have a creepy lead in for Walking Dead in the fall.

  31. @PotatoPope  If Locke & Key was too expensive for Fox then it’s WAY too expensive for FX or AMC. At least in its current form.

  32. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @TheNextChampion  He didn’t use his father’s name as his pen name for a reason. Hill published for a while without anyone knowing who he was and he’s certainly not coasting on family legacy. It just irks me that anyone would shoot his mouth of about a talented storyteller who clearly isn’t riding coattails and earned the acclaim he’ve received based on talent and hard work. That’s all. 

  33. @PaulMontgomery  case in point. I didn’t  know Joe Hill was related to anyone famous until I read this series of posts. The guy has done a superb job on Locke & Key thus far.

  34. I am glad that Fox passed on Locks and Key. I began rereading the first book this morning… a normal network cannot do it justice. It needs AMC, FX, HBO or Showtime treatment. A network that allows a bit more edge and grit.

  35. RE: Locke & Key. It looks like FOX learned a lesson from Lone Star. That pilot played like the first half of a film and not a series starter, as great as it it is. Maybe, that’s how L&K played.

    @PaulMontgomery I don’t know why you took offense to TNC comment. Sure, it had a slightly snarky tone, but it’s a valid observation that Joe now has an experience to share with his father.

  36. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @ghettojourno  He didn’t say father. He said “daddy.” That has connotations. And as a fan of this and other Joe Hill works, I might’ve gotten a little defensive. I wasn’t as up in arms as people seem to have inferred through. Just trying to set the record straight. 

  37. Human Target was one of my favorite recent shows – not too serious but really fun. Perhaps a good candidate for someone else to pick up? (Netflix?) seems like if done well it is a series that has a lot of ongoing potential – the basic premise is a strong one and has lots of room for ongoing episodes – though I agree that Season Two wasn’t as a strong as Season One. 

  38. @PaulMontgomery  I completely agree with you. When I read Joe Hill’s first novel, Heart Shaped Box, i had zero clue he was stephen king’s son. I read it and loved it and said, “Wow, a new writer to follow.” It wasn’t until a few months later I found out who his father is. The guy is seriously talented and did it on his own. Good on him.

  39. To all the people cursing Fox for canceling shows they like. Here’s the thing. The only reason you notice Fox always canceling shows you like, is because it’s the only network who takes chances on niche genre shows that you end up liking. Human Target, Arrested Development, Firefly, Dollhouse, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe. Yeah, sucks that the shows always end up being ratings busts and have to get canceled. But none of the other big networks are even willing to take such risks. CBS won’t do anything that doesn’t appeal to the 70 year old’s who make up it’s viewership. ABC won’t do much of anything that doesn’t appeal to middle-aged women. And NBC is NBC. It’s easy to talk bad on Fox. But at least it takes a swing at genre fare that our crowd would be drawn to. Without Fox, your only hope is cable.

  40. I don’t hate Fox for cancelling shows. I hate Fox for managing shows into the ground. Firefly and Dollhouse were half dead at the start. They’re the people who couldn’t get viewers for Family Guy.

  41. I somewhat agree, @pchan126. Fox does have a problem with mismanagement. But at the end of the day, it still does not matter in terms of these shows finding sizable enough audiences to sustain themselves.

    Take a look at the top rated shows on network television. Pretty much for the most part, none of it is even close to the type of stuff we more niche-ier fans enjoy. To be successful on the big networks, you have to appeal to the masses. The masses aren’t about sci-fi or heavily serialized genre fare. Sad, but it’s the lay of the land these days.

  42. Fox did have the golden age of X-Files. Who knows what kind of dark sacrifice under a red moon had to happen for that to occur. This year Fox went and blew up a lot of its scripted television regardless of genre. Makes you wonder what they think they have to replace it all, unless a name change to “American Idol Channel” is in the works.

  43. important contextual factoid. Fox picked up a new JJ Abrams series as well as a Bones spinoff (and 2 comedies) Those are EXPENSIVE shows that will be risky but easier to sell. They prob didn’t want another high risk expensive show with a niche audience. 

    Hollywood Reporter says they are shopping Locke and Key around

  44. Don’t forget Terra Nova. Because everyone loves dinosaurs. 🙂

  45. Fox is the only network that takes a chance of genre shows with a niche audience? That’s funny, because I don’t remember Lost or Pushing Daisies being on Fox…..

  46. @JVFerrigno – Congrats. You’ve proven that the universe doesn’t exist in absolutes. The point still remains. Fox is the only network that CONSISTANTLY takes chances on genre shows with niche audiences. For every Lost that ABC tries out, they put out about 100 Desperate Housewives or Ugly Bettys. ABC will try maybe one interesting show every couple years or so. Fox puts out multiple every season. Not the same thing.