Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Heroes: Dark, Confusing Start to the Season

I held off commenting on the 2-hour season premier of Heroes (“The Second Coming” and “The Butterfly Effect”) until I saw the third episode (“One of Us, One of Them”) of the new season. I was hoping that maybe the by that time, thinks would make a little more sense. But it didn’t help much. I suppose that because I didn’t see the season finale right before those new episodes aired that my memory on where the show left off wasn’t as good as I thought.

Regardless, the show seems to be suffering from too many stories going on at the same time. It’s not that all the individual stories aren’t interesting, it just that it seems that some are only given a very short amount of coverage, which makes them seem almost inconsequential. Still center to the story is Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) who can't die, Hiro (Masi Oka) who can control time, Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) and Sylar (Zachary Quinto). But Sylar’s “hunger” to absorb the powers of others is getting a little old, and frankly I thought his stealing of Claire’s powers was a little too disturbing. It also seems that the show is taking a cue from the now canceled USA Network show “The 4400” with Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) working on a formula to be able to give special powers to anyone. Of course, just like in The 4400, one can’t bank on what kind of powers one will get - they could be bad.

One bright spot of the series is the antics of Hiro and his friend, Ando (James Kyson Lee) who seem to be the only two people actually trying to do something to figure the whole thing out. Everyone else seems to be getting mired in their own powers and the problems they bring. Hiro, in other words, may be the only real “hero” of the bunch.

The “save the cheerleader, save the world” tagline that was so central to the series seemingly fizzled last season. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they painted themselves in a corner with it and moved the story four months forward after it happened just because they couldn't find a better way out. I think the show is still trying to recover from that, and I recall when they time shifted the series 4 months I was very disappointed, seeing that there was such a build up to that point, and viewers were rewarded with nothing to show for it.

Now, the show seems to be too “dark” and sometimes too gory. It’s hard for me to feel anything for the characters anymore, maybe with the exception of Hiro and Ando. It may not be enough to keep me going. There are parts of the story that are interesting, but I sense another build up to nothing. Maybe since the show burned viewers once, it’s easy for them to do it again. As the stories seem to be getting more complex and confusing, I’m finding it’s becoming too much work to follow. I wish the current guy who is painting images of the future on rocks in the desert would just paint them all out of this corner they seems to have gotten themselves in to again. It would save us all a lot of time.

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