Sunday, June 20, 2010

Heroes...the show, not the archetype

I know, I know. I am six years late. Heroes was canceled; it sucked for most of recent memory. Well, perhaps more people should follow my example then. Rather than get roped in by a new show, I ignore most new television until I have heard enough positive feedback. For some reason, with Heroes, I ignored this feedback for a long time, until the show was canceled in fact. But my foresight ended up being just as good as hindsight, because I started my Heroes viewing experience planning to watch season one, of which I had heard many good things, and then stop. I would avoid the terrible seasons, the slow plot lines, the character turnover of the remaining seasons, as well as avoid the disappointment. So I did it. I watched Heroes season one and nothing more. It was exciting and cool but I can't help but think they even missed the boat on the 'successful' episodes.

Now bear with me as I explain my feelings on the show, since I have only watched those 23 episodes and nothing more. I do not know what happened to Hiro back in the 1600's. I had no reason to assume this was even a problem, since he could simply teleport himself back to his own time, but since they ended the season with that clip, I would guess it foreshadowed something. What that is I don't really care. I also realize Sylar was taken or crawled away on his own, and is probably not dead. I don't know this for sure, but don't care. Same with Peter. Peter is alive I'm sure. Nathan should be dead. Whether these things are the case in season two is of no concern to me.

As for what does concern me, the plot itself is excellent. It is an exciting and cool premise. These random folks get super powers and have to adjust to them, while at the same time, having their lives intertwined and connected in order to save the world. The actually story arc of this volume was also good. A weird company is kidnapping people and tagging them and hunting down these people with abilities. In the mean time, a crazy, power hungry individual is hunting these same people down with the objective being to kill them and harvest their ability. Sounds awesome enough. I am all in.

I had been told that the story in future seasons just moved too slowly to keep people interested. Well, in my opinion, this was partly the case, even in season one. The story moved very slowly. I think the characters and action was enough to keep us interested, but the plot itself advanced at a snail's pace. It took over 15 episodes for us to find out who the hell Claire's father was. Most of the plot that advanced was simply character drama and feelings of the future. I could feel myself disinterested when certain characters dominated the story, as I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere fast 'that week.' The character of Nikki (the mom with a split personality) was so slow moving that I dreaded seeing her on screen. It took nearly the entire season for her to figure out what her problem was and it felt more agonizing than interesting. Other than her, I enjoyed most of the other story lines, and they moved just fast enough to keep me wanting more, yet not fast enough to carry any episode. Not enough happened.

What I did love were most of the characters. Hiro, the time twister, was engaging and fun to root for. He took a while to figure out his purpose and master his skill, yet I didn't mind waiting for it. The same goes for Peter. My favorite episode of the season was when Hiro accidentally transported five years into the future with his friend, Ando. They met future Hiro and future Peter, who were both really bad ass. It was great. (Not to mention future Sylar, but I'll get to him.) The Peter of the future is seemingly all powerful, with so many abilities and no weaknesses, other than his attitude. He can fly, read people's minds, stop time, teleport, heal himself, generate nuclear power, move things with his mind, etc. I would have watched him battle Sylar for three straight episodes. But that leads me to my ultimate problem with the show, and the downfall I couldn't get past.

There were too many ability-related loopholes for me to ignore. Suresh's next door neighbor had the ability to control people's actions with her words, yet this is, for some unexplained reason, not effective on Sylar. Sylar kills her, steals this very valuable abiltiy, and then never uses it again. Did he just have a set of default powers he liked to turn to in a jam? Why wouldn't he command Hiro not to stab him or to travel into the past and not come back? Why wouldn't he tell Peter to blow up New York so he wouldn't have to? Sylar could also, apparently, break Hiro's ability to stop time. He did this near the end of the season, in his mother's apartment. Sylar unfroze time and broke Hiro's sword. By establishing that Sylar is this freakin' powerful, how could anyone, especially Hiro, get close enough to stab him 'to death?' He could stop multiple bullets in mid-air and shoot them back at their origin, while fighting off the only other person as strong as he (Peter) but could not prevent a short, fat, Japanese kid from stabbing him? And Hiro did not even freeze time when he stabbed him. Did I mention that Sylar also had superhuman hearing and could hear people's heart beats? Also, he could instantly melt metal, like the metal of a sword, without even touching it. He decided to ignore all of these powers in the heat of battle and took the stabbing like a man.

The show was just too careless with how they delegated out powers, and it wasn't just Sylar. Peter was just as, if not more powerful than Sylar. He was seemingly immortal. At the very end of the last episode, Nathan flies Peter into the sky so when he explodes, it won't hurt anyone but the two of them. Why did Nathan have to do this? Peter can fly on his own. Also, why was this a better option than shooting Peter like they originally planned? After he was shot, as soon as they removed the bullet, he would heal himself and be as good as new. Picking nits even more, why did this bomb situation even get to this point? Hiro and Peter, the bad ass versions, can both travel back and forth through time. Why wouldn't they have gone back and changed things? At that point, after five more years passing, Peter especially would have been unstoppable. He could have gone and killed Sylar. He could have gone and killed Ted, the man who had the original power to explode like a nuclear bomb. The two of them could have traveled to any point in the past and changed whatever they liked, including the planning by Peter's mother and her 'group' to let the bomb happen in the first place.

In the end, the show was definitely entertaining. It was engaging at times and mostly fun to follow. The slow movement of the plot was pretty much overshadowed by the excitement they were able to throw in. My only problem, which I cannot get past, is the blatant laziness of introducing all these useful and important powers which end up being of no consequence to the defining scenes of the show. If you are going to go through the trouble of making these certain people so powerful, then follow through with it, and have it make sense. I mean they even had a scene early on where Mr. Bennett and the Haitian had Nathan cornered. As we know, the Haitian is able to stop the use of abilities in the people surrounding him. He is, for lack of a better comparison, a temporary 'cure' for people with powers. Yet, how did Nathan escape their grasp and avoid getting taken in to their secret lab? He used his super power and flew away.

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