Unheroic Thoughts

Heroes, apparentlyLately we’ve been watching the first season of Heroes. We didn’t catch the series when it started, and thought it sounded interesting enough to have a look. Given the orgasms half the internet was having about it, we thought there might be something there.

…and while there might be, it sure isn’t a whole lot. Yes, Hiro is a very likeable character. Yes, there is the occasional funny line, especially in the Hiro/Ando scenes. And yes, Sendhil Ramamurthy has a fair bit of presence as an actor, and Noah Gray-Cabey is a greatly underrated child actor. But all of these positive aspects are undermined by extremely inconsistent writing and dreadful and predictable boring character arcs. (I have, so far, not once wondered what happens next.)

It really does say something about large parts of the “geek community” that they turned so viciously on Lost in its second season, while praising the hell out of Heroes. (Yes, I realize that by now they’ve turned on Heroes as well, for not matching the “quality” of the first season. Hah.) With the exception of a couple of really mind-numbing episodes, the second season of Lost is still miles above this. And I complained about Lost quite a bit. But even at its worst, Lost still had something to say, and still managed to keep my interest.

Granted, we’re only six episodes in. But after six episodes, I still don’t care about most of the characters, and I still feel like running away from the screen any time we have another one of Niki’s wretched Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde scenes. I still cringe at characters irrationally changing their behaviour from one scene to the next to generate plot (“I really believe in what I’m doing! I will complete my father’s research, no matter what it takes! No, wait! I believe in nothing! I’m going back to India right now!”) and I still find myself laughing at badly staged scenes. (There’s a particularly hilarious one, where Noah Bennet dramatically swishes away a curtain, to reveal his henchman standing behind it, and all I can think is that Bennet must have instructed him to just stand there like an idiot while he finishes his dramatic monologue.) And above all, in a show about people with superpowers, most of the superpowers are not only fairly uninteresting, but also not really used in a way that would tell us something about the characters or the world. There’s a fair bit of potential in superpowers as a storytelling device – for proper usage, see Unbreakable – but this series is really lacking on that level.

I guess someone might say that this is all due to the fact that it’s supposed to be like a comic book. But quality storytelling is quality storytelling, and if this resembles a comic book, then that comic book has crappy storytelling and I’m not interested in it.

Well, we’ll keep on watching. You never know – it took Star Trek: The Next Generation two whole seasons before it stopped sucking. Maybe I’ll like the second season of Heroes more than the first. After all, nearly every movie I’ve liked in the last few years has been universally condemned by that pack of culture-defiling lunatics that is collectively known as “the critics.”

We’ll see. So far, I am not impressed.

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