Column – Heroes makes mistakes, is still good show

November 9, 2008 — Leave a comment

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

When “Heroes” first premiered on NBC, I was stoked.

My inner (and, let’s face it, outer) nerd was a large factor in my excitement. A show that would be entirely about superheroes, told and shot in a style very similar to comic books.

Season 1 of the show was a breathtaking ride, but unfortunately the season’s finale left me a bit wanting – though still very hopeful of the show’s future.

Season 2 had its high spots, but it also had a lot of low ones. Did we really want to follow two Hispanic super humans on an attempt to escape to America in a chase that was hard to care about? How long would we put up with Hiro’s potentially god-like ability hitting bizarre snags that catapult him into bizarre places and times?

To top it all off, the writer’s strike essentially cut the season in half.

Now, this potentially wasn’t a bad thing. The season was already planned to be cut into two “chapters,” and so chapter two supposedly ended exactly where it was supposed to. However, the somewhat awkward and unsatisfying end to that chapter – as well as the long, looming wait for new episodes – really hurt the pacing of the show, and made some of the fan base wander.

Cue season three, chapter three: “Villains.”

The season started with a two-hour bang, answering tons of questions about season 2’s finale, while providing plenty of “Oh my gosh!” moments for loyal fans.

We found out who shot Nathan Petrelli before the title sequence had rolled. Sylar – one of the baddest villains in all of television – got what he had been trying to obtain throughout the course of the whole show. And we caught a glimpse of a future that needs to be stopped at all costs.

Throughout the season so far, many things that have needed to happen have happened. Claire is becoming much more than just a whiny cheerleader that can’t die. Limits to Hiro’s time-travelling are being more firmly established. Peter and Sylar are changing and developing in interesting ways – and interacting with each other in ways that are almost mind-blowing.

The show has given twists, turns, questions and answers in a way that has me fully back on board. Season three is my favorite yet.

But when I decided to go online to share my excitement, I saw a different opinion from a lot of viewers.

Ratings of the show are dropping fast, and many popular Web sites and publications – such as Variety and TV.com – say the show is “struggling.”

NBC has in turn fired co-executive producers Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb, and series creator Tim Kring has promised to simplify the series’ storylines.

Now, don’t get me wrong. “Heroes” isn’t a perfect show, and can certainly improve. Focusing more on one or two characters at a time – as opposed to the entire, large cast – could really help the pacing and storytelling.

Also, while it can get away with a lot by imitating comic books, reducing the number of plot holes, contradictions and, “Wait, huh?” moments could only help the series as a whole.

Former series writer and “Pushing Daisies” creator Bryan Fuller might potentially return to the show as well, which is something that many fans have been clamoring for.

So yes, all signs point to the series improving, which is a great thing.

But I still wonder why so many people have lost interest.

So while the “Villains” storyline starts to wind down, I’m going to sit on the edge of my seat, dying to know what happens to Peter, Sylar, and Claire. There’s sure to be mystery, intrigue, special effects and battles of good vs. evil on epic proportions.

I guess the rest of you can continue watching “Dancing With the Stars.”

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

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