Thursday, November 01, 2007

HEROES: Jump the shark?

Okay, so NBC has put the spinoff (aka mid-season fill-in) series Heroes: Origins on hold due to the looming writers strike. I have to wonder if those same writers haven't already gone on strike after watching Monday's episode (titled "The Line" if the NBC website is accurate).

My usual complaint about Heroes is that too many episodes have no forward narrative momentum. That's not the case here: several plotlines advanced. It's just that where they advanced to left me very, very cold.

Firstly, Cheerleader Claire got revenge on the snotty, arrogant head cheerleader by virtue of disturbing use of her's and her flying stalker boyfriend's powers. Flying stalker boyfriend dropped another in a string of painfully obvious clues that he is bad news by telling Claire she's better than the nasty head cheerleader not because she's a good person, but because she has powers. Uh oh. And he injures the mean girl, creating an opening on the squad for Claire. Trouble brewing for sure, but I'm losing interest. Why? It's such an obvious, color-by-numbers approach to the situation. Riffing on Heathers might make this whole high school cliqueish narrative work, or maybe even Buffy, but the drawn-out lack of imagination is tiring.

Ditto for our south of the border subplot. Here, we were treated to quite possibly the worst-scripted illegal border crossing in history, with straw man vigilante border guards serving as cannon fodder. We also see los Gemelos De la Maravilla have a falling out as Maria--now suddenly under Skylar's complete and total sway--begins killing without remorse. And Skylar is pretty spry for a fellow who was run through with a sword at the end of last season. Resistance to chest wound infection must be another power he picked up somewhere along the way. What started out as the plot thread that interested me the most has now become the biggest train wreck. When storylines depend on people acting with incredible stupidity to advance, you know you've got problems.

As for Hiro in the past... how can you take all the dynamic, illuminati-style plot potential of super-powered beings in feudal Japan and reduce it to tedium via an ancient scroll narrative? I could go into specifics, but that'd take up a whole blog entry on its own.

Despite those problems, I hadn't given up on the show. The potential, in theory, is still there. Except... in Mohinder's storyline, the brooding, non-powered genius is ordered to inject the Taskmaster analog from New Orleans with an engineered virus that is designed to strip her of her powers. Great, we have another ham-fisted moral dilemma. And he's saddled with Nikki/Jessica as a watchdog when he refuses. And he utters a portentous warning that the virus could mutate and jump into the non-powered human population, shades of "The Legacy Virus" from Marvel's X-Men. Lo and behold, Peter Petrelli, he of every power in the book (including a convenient case of amnesia) jumps into the future to find New York devoid of life, a city in wiped out--presumably by afore-mentioned virus.

Does anyone else see a problem here? It's the same damn story arc as last season! You know what? I don't care. Wipe New York out last season, this season, I don't care. Just show some kind of intellectual ingenuity, people. It may be okay for Laverne & Shirly to scramble around every other episode trying to find enough money to pay the rent, but Heroes has something of a higher writing standard to live up to. I'm not tuning in each week to see "the same thing, only different," and if the writers don't get their collective heads out of their collective asses pretty darn quick, I won't be tuning in at all.

Now Playing: The Police Message in a Box


  1. I liked the show a lot last year, but my interest has waned with every passing week this year. I'm not sure I'll be tuning in again.

  2. Anonymous2:15 PM

    I found your post in a link from another blog.

    Agree on a lot of your points:

  3. Anonymous2:02 AM

    I agree that season 2 has become crap. What the problem for me is, is that peter is back to square one. I really liked his character in the first season and he was finally getting to become a badass and learn to use his powers to their potential. the show should have gone to the next level. but, it just tried to start back over. everything everyone had accomplished from the first season. It took all season for everyone to finally come together and then in the end. they are for the most part back apart again.

    someone who knows some of the writers or some execs at the studio need to tell them to GIVE PETER HIS MEMORY BACK and if in the next episode Adam uses a stupid peter to do his dirty work. I will be very angry.... this will be VERY lame. I watch the show now in hopes that this crap will stop and it will be what I know it could be.. but, I am not sure how much longer I can do this.

  4. Anonymous8:49 AM

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