Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heroes: Inflicting Time Travel Whiplash

Can one’s brain get whiplash? If so, I think Heroes is giving it to me. Monday night’s episode of NBC’s Heroes, “ I Am Become Death” seemed to jump around in time to the point that I wasn’t sure where I was at – the present? The future? And while it’s an interesting plot device to move into the future to show how things can be, if overused, the technique only serves to confuse the viewer.

Also somewhat overused in science fiction or fantasy type shows – soap operas too – is the use of twins, or in the case of Heroes, triplets. How nice it must be for the writers to kill off a character, in this case Niki (Ali Larter) – only to have her return as another character Tracy Strauss, who finds she is one of a set of triplets. Sure, this can initially add to the drama when the other people realize that she’s not who they think she is, as in the case of Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar). Nathan decides to save Tracy’s life when she becomes despondent over her powers, and it also seems that he’s going to pick up right where he left off with Niki. After a while, though, the novelty of her being one of a matched set can wear off, especially when we all know that another one of her is presumably still out there.

Also, the doubles issue was already a problem with Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) who is faced with tangling with his future persona. I'm getting confused about which Peter is which, despite the scar on "future" Peter.

As I mentioned in my review last week ( Heroes: Dark, Confusing Start to the Season ), the show seems to have too many things going on all at the same time. While each of the segments is interesting, it is becoming difficult to retain certain elements of the story from week to week. For example, I am still trying to remember how Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson Lee) got locked up in a room, unable to just “teleport” their way out. Worse yet, while watching Parkman (Greg Grunberg) go on his mind journey into the future, I started to lose track if I was seeing Parkman’s future, or Peter’s future, or, well, you get it. It seems like I started to loose all sense of where in time I was supposed to be, and from whose eyes I was seeing it.

And while I do like the majority of the characters on the show and find them interesting, I’m starting to wish that they could find a way to better collect them to work in groups so I don’t have to juggle so many storylines in my head. They need to FOCUS. I keep reading reports of the show seemingly slipping in its viewer numbers compared to when the show premiered, and in my opinion, that coincides with when they started adding more characters and varying timelines. While some of the characters are worried about saving the world, I’d just be satisfied if someone can save this show from becoming bloated with too many people and stories within stories. If they continue at the current rate, it will take a heroic effort for fans to keep up.

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