Tuesday, December 05, 2006
What I've Been Watching: Heroes
Last year we had a lot of Lost wannabes. We were inundated with the likes of Invasion, Supernatural and Fathom. (I think that's what they were called, they were all pretty forgettable). This year they lost the horror/suspense aspect and hung on to the serial format.
Now we have a ton of shows that "require" the viewer to tune in EVERY week, or be horribly lost (sorry about the pun).
So far shows like Vanished (has well... disappeared),
Kidnapped (is abducted) and The Nine (is out for the count) are proving that not only can you miss an episode, hell, why not miss 'em all. They ain't worth your time, cause if they don't catch on REAL quick - voooomp! They're gone!
The one exception though, is Heroes.
I knew I'd have to check this one out when I read about it last Spring. A show about ordinary, everyday people discovering that have extraordinary abilities, super powers if you will. For someone who's been reading comic books for nearly 40 years, and a bunch of them of the super powers genre, yeah, I had to tune.
To keep the comparison going, unlike Lost which began with a bang (if not a crash) and kept up at a high speed, Heroes started off sluggish and just plodded along for the first few episodes. We were introduced to a bevy of characters and while we discovered them, they were discovering themselves (well, not that way!) but their new abilities. It wasn't simply discover powers, design uniform then fly off and beat up bad guy, no, no tights here.
So who are these Heroes ?
We have Nathan Petrelli who can fly,
his brother Peter takes on others abilities, when he's near them (like a Mimic),
Officer Matt Parkman, the mind reading cop,
Niki Sanders the online stripping single mom who has an evil twin persona (kind of like a female "Brother VooDoo". No one will get that reference.)
Her son, Micah can control machines
while Nikki's convict husband can phase through objects (think the Vision or Kitty Pryde),
The indestructible cheerleader, Claire (Wolverine without the claws) and
finally, everyone's fave, Hiro, our geeky Japanese transporter who can bend time
There are others as well, which was my early problem with the show. The constant new character, with powers would be thrust at us while explanations of others hung in the air. Like I said earlier the first few episodes weren't compelling and had NBC used a quick trigger Heroes could have joined the other Fall casualties. What kept it alive was the word of mouth and buzz on the net, climbing ratings and the fact that NBC's Fall lineup sucked so bad they could ill afford another cancelled show.
By about the fourth episode though Heroes began to hit it's stride. Maybe we had learned enough about the characters that we were caught up in their actions, or that the story, with it's revelation of the impending doom was shown, or maybe it was the appearance of "Samurai Hiro from the Future", in any case this was NBC's Must See TV.
Last night was the 11th episode of Heroes and the last new episode until January 22nd! This, by the way, is the new trend in serial shows. Start the season with a handful of episodes, take a month or so break, then return with all new shows and more importantly NO reruns to screw up the flow of the story. I agree with this move, or like what FOX does with 24, start the season late so you won't screw up the flow with repeats. Sure, it's bitch, but I can wait.
If you haven't yet seen Heroes hopefully NBC will have the smarts to use the time between now and January 22 to rerun all 11 episodes. If they'd ask me (ha!) I'd run two episodes every Saturday night, from 8-10 PM. It's not as if the networks run anything on Saturdays anyway, so why not take advantage of the time slots?
So, until we return next year, when the villainous Sylar (the "brain stealer") will be once again loose, and the Heroes, many who have yet to meet each other, will be figuring out if it's possible to prevent the upcoming destruction. The questions lingering after last night's episode is:
a) No one's safe, not even a character who's been around since the beginning
b) Is Hiro unable to change future events?
c) What really is the motivation behind Claires' father's actions?
d) Could Peter the Mimic be the unwilling tool for the future deaths of thousands, perhaps millions?
Ah, but Like any good adventure comic, we'll have to wait, cause it's
to be continued...