Heroes: Season One

Brief thoughts on the wrap-up of the first season of the TV series Heroes.

Heroes wrapped up its first season tonight. I still have basically the same criticisms that I had early in its run: It’s very slow, the writing is very inconsistent, and the characters are erratic.

I feel somewhat unhappy with the resolution of the “blowing up New York” storyline. It was never convincing to me that the culprit would be either Sylar (since he obviously had to be stopped somehow) or Peter (why would he lose control of his powers in the first place? And why would he stick around in New York rather than flying away?). But I think the writers backed themselves into a corner there.

The series’ protagonist has always been Hiro, I think, and his arc comes to a satisfying conclusion. His main challenger, Mohinder, spent just about the whole season with almost nothing to do, which is too bad since Sendhil Ramamurthy is one of the stronger actors on the show. But overall the season ended up being rather muddled from a storytelling standpoint, more soap opera than adventure.

So Heroes rates as “okay” television, which – to be honest – puts it ahead of most television. (At least it’s not Yet Another Police Procedural. Heck, even House is basically Yet Another Police Proecedural, in that it’s got exactly the same structure, just with medicine instead of law.) It doesn’t look like NBC will take long to stretch it too thin, as Heroes: Origins is already slated for the fall. Sheesh.

Anyway, now I can spend the summer catching up on Veronica Mars and/or Battlestar Galactica. Although what I really want is to just bludgeon my way through the whole series of Justice League Unlimited. Unfortunately, most of it isn’t available on DVD yet.

6 thoughts on “Heroes: Season One”

  1. Please, let me know when JLU does become available on DVD in the US! Then I’ll know I have only another four or five years to wait before it comes out over here in region-2 land…

  2. I think of House as a bit of a CSI clone rather than a Law and Order clone, but they have the same basic structure. Frankly, I would rather watch a doctor figure out intriguing diseases than watch one of these doctor/soap things they have on where all the doctors are so self-involved you’d never want them anywhere near you. At least the doctors on House mostly maintain a professional and attentive demeanor towards the patients, rather than ignoring them to talk about how good another doctor is in bed.

  3. I think CSI and Law and Order are basically identical: One focuses more on the forensic evidence, and the other focuses more on interviewing participants and witnesses, but they’re both just sides of the coin in police procedurals.

    The problem with procedural shows is that they get awfully repetitive awfully quickly, and eventually start having ever-more-ludicrous premises for their mysteries. On the bright side (?), procedural shows don’t really involve using your brain to watch them, so they’re good background noise.

    I prefer shows like Homicide, which is more based around its characters.

  4. Fundamentally, if you like the procedural format and the basic context, you’ll tolerate-to-enjoy those shows. If you like the characters – as I happen to – then it’s more interesting and enjoyable. (House, on the other hand, stretches my credibility because while Hugh Laurie is very good at the role, I have trouble believing that he’d have been tolerated long enough to become that good a doctor, and don’t like his character at all. On the gripping hand, I don’t watch ER or Grey’s Anatomy or the various doctor-soaps, so there you go.)

  5. Hey Michael. I notice that you didn’t mention Nathan or Mrs. Petrelli in your summary. I’m a bit disappointed with how Nathan has been handled, if only that it appears that his whole reason for existing was to fly Peter out of NYC before Peter released all of Ted’s energy power. Maybe it’s some kind of heroic redemption for Nathan, but I was surprised that Peter didn’t just fly himself away. My explanation is two-fold: 1) Peter was “overloaded” by the energy he was about to release and it blocked his other abilities or 2) Peter’s like Ultra Boy and limited to one ability at a time, so the energy power was taking priority over his other abilities.

    Hiro should be the protagonist and leader (and maybe he will be now that he’s developing more control and self-confidence), but Peter seems to be the one they keep turning to. The biggest problem with Peter that I see, IMHO, is that he’s too darn powerful. He can absorb abilities much more easily than Sylar can and there doesn’t seem to be any limit with regards to retaining the abilities. And his main advantage over Sylar is the healing factor (see the five years into the future episode for that horror). In other words, Peter could eventually render everyone else obsolete and if he ever goes mad… look out.

    My guess is that we still haven’t seen the real, ultimate villain for the series. I’m also guessing that Linderman and Mrs. Petrelli are eventually going to appear to be the good guys in the end, especially when compared to the one that Molly was most frightened of (e.g. the one who could see her).

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