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Has Heroes jumped the extremely large marine predator?

Although I tend to downplay my feelings of negativity when I like a show, it's pretty obvious to me that Heroes is in serious trouble.

How did this happen? Maybe it was the writers' strike. Maybe they're just not doing what they should be doing. And maybe it's just the basic concept of the show. The origin stories for our superheroes in season one were exceptionally cool, definitely what got us all hooked. Maybe the regular stories will just never measure up to the origin stories. Which may be why they keep introducing new supercharacters. That, unfortunately, we don't like all that much. (Two words: Maya and Arthur.)

Or is it the format? I'm a big proponent of the arc; I love a great big, long story with a great big payoff. Why isn't it working for Heroes? The last two arcs have been disappointing. I'm actually considering dropping Heroes from my review roster this spring. It's that bad.

What would help Heroes? I'm not sure I know. It may even be too late, since the rest of the third season is already written. But here are some suggestions.

-- Stop introducing new characters all the time, and concentrate on the characters we love. Peter is my favorite character and he's gotten relatively little air time. Him losing his powers should have been a powerful (so to speak) story. It wasn't.

-- Let someone actually die. Someone important. Someone we care about. When characters can't die, it kills the drama. With one exception: I think they should find a believable way to bring Elle back and make Kristen Bell a cast member. Okay, there's no believable way to bring Elle back. They should do it, anyway.

-- Try a stand-alone episode. Or a two-parter. Or maybe an arc is okay, but they've been doing the wrong arcs. Maybe they've just been going too big. What if they got together to solve a more realistic problem, instead of something like the world splitting in two? Maybe some subtlety. Hey, I don't know, I'm theorizing here.

-- Go with what works. What works on Heroes? Peter's empathic powers. Nathan's heroism. Claire and her dysfunctional family. Mister Muggles. :) Sylar, until they started screwing with him. Matt and Mohinder, to some extent. The Company, to some extent. Possibly time travel, although fan reaction hasn't been consistently positive.

What do you think could save Heroes? Or is it too late? Has it flashed its last pan?
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Billie,

    I agree. We've had far too many characters we don't really like, and who've ultimately contributed zilch to the show. Season two was a real pain for that. Whatever happened to Monica Dawson? Or West Rosen? Or Maya and Alejandro? All introduced in season two...now nowhere to be seen. What an absolute waste of time season two was.

    And I was holding out such high hopes for Elle this season. I was anticipating a story of redemption....her turning from nasty person into lovely person. What we got I'm loathe to describe.

    The writers are capable of writing good stories. They just seem to lack consistency and direction. I'm not sure how much longer the show can go on.

    But as you say, a return to the core characters, and a plausible story line that doesn't involve the world ending, would be the place to start.

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  2. There's hope! See http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2008/12/exclusive-bryan.html for details, but the director of Pushing Daisies is coming to the rescue.

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  3. For the most part, I agree, however the last two episodes of Season 3 were great. It was like they fixed a whole lot of things that were wrong, killed off a bunch of superflous characters, and set up an interesting new premise for the next volume.

    I think Volume 3 is the one that should be seen as a learning experience. If you're familiar with video games and the Devil May Cry series in particular, you'd remember the disaster that was DMC2 that nevertheless allowed for the making of the really awesome DMC3. If the makers of Heroes learn what they did wrong this time around, I think the next season could really be great, and again, looking at the last two episodes makes me think they have learned.

    Bottom line - I'm going to stay tuned for volume 4 and see if it picks up. I have a hunch it will, and if not then I can always drop it. I'd say any fan of the show should at least watch the first couple of new episodes to see if it has improved - give it a chance with a new season. If they blow it, then stop watching.

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  4. Hi Billie,

    You've hit the nail on the head with most of what's wrong with Heroes. I read somewhere that each character is assigned specific writer(s) but it feels like they're being written by people who don't bother watching the episode before. Here's my list of things to change.

    1. Return Nathan and Syler to the characters they were in season one when both were at their best.

    2. Don't introduce any new characters. Let Arthur and Meredith stay dead. I don't have anything against these characters I just want somebody/anybody to stay dead.

    3. Inject a little reality. I'm not sure how long volume three was supposed to last but Claire seemed to stop going to school and Matt and Peter didn't go to work once. Having real life frequently intrude on the heroes-verse would make things more grounded.

    4. Have Elle haunt Syler. Bring back Seth Green regularly. Explain what happened to the irish girl from volume two. Have Claude the invisible man reappear. These are all purely selfish requests that have nothing to do with the season arc but are things i would like to see.

    5. Have a season arc that makes sense. No time travelling or virses or genetic mutation. Keep things in the present day and in america. The witing seems to get worse whenever they go anywhere else. I personally would like to see heroes vs humans. They've shown us the future so lets see it start to happen now.

    6. I really like the idea of Nathan and Peter on opposite sides. Written well I think that it could be excellant in terms of character development, drama and tragedy.

    7. Less Claire and Peter. More Claire and Nathan. Any Hiro and Nathan at all.

    8. I know i'll be in the minority here but i'm a girl and i'm a romantic girl at that, so how about a little well written romance ? Not alot, just a little.

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  5. Jo got it right with #3...Matt became a cop...why? Who pays their bills? I am glad we are done with the high school stories...but introduce a new high school kid dealing with powers if you want.

    I almost feel bad since I just started following Grunbergs twitter. But he let slip something, so its clear most people recognize that some things just aren't making sense or going as well as they should.

    Oh and the whole ret-con episode with Elle saving Sylar's life, etc. That was a huge slap in the face to me. They pulled a LOST and just flipped characters for no organic reason.♦

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  6. I am not disapointed by the current Heroes because I never thought the show was all that good to begin with. I was hooked by the enigmatic "Save the cheerleader, save the world" slogan but that turned out to be meaningless hype. In fact, I would characterize Heroes as basically meaningless hype, an hour to while away the time while you are doing something more useful (in my case, exercising on my trainer). Drastically reduce your expectations and maybe you will not be disappointed. It is no Buffy, Angel, Alias, or Lost. Enjoy it for its ridiculousness and absurdity and stop expecting it to make a bit of sense. But of course, that is just my opinion (as if it could be anything other than an opinion).

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  7. hey

    heroes is my favourite show, ive watched every episode of every season and i agree with what most of you guys have to say. I dont no what happend the writers this season. Its as if they have never watched the show before and are just starting fresh with these characters. It really annoys me when they try to just throw stuff at us that doesnt make sense or add up. Like all these stories with soo many plot wholes in it. It insulting us as viewers. Im just hoping that the next volume brings heroes back to what it use to be!

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  8. I agree. The most pleasure I got out of this season was making fun of Robert Forester's Rochester accent, which sounded like pure Chicago to me. I spent weeks finding inopportune moments to say "spec-taaaa-cular."

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  9. Yeah Heroes is really poor now.

    I disagree that they should stop brining in new characters as they have introduced some that fans really liked- Adam, Elle, Bob, Maury and Knox. Yes they have also introduced some that fans hate too- West, Maya, Monica.

    The problem is that the first lot of people I listed are all dead while the 2nd lot are still alive! They keep killing off all the characters that are intresting and keeping the ones we hate!

    Also I have to disagree that Claire's family is one of the reasons that works as Claire in general is seriously hurting the show. Her constant teen angst and fatherly issues bog the show down and it's too bad she's indestructable as the show would be better off without her.

    Also Sylar should have died in Season 1. He was an incredible bad guy and Season 1 was perfecr right up to the final battle between Peter and Sylar which was such a let down. Now he is too powerful and even he seems to forget who he is. Remember he has Candice's power off illusion, so why does he never use it? Sylar served his purpose and served it well but Hiro should have killed him for good.

    Speaking of people who should have died.... hello Nathan! I like Nathan, but the cliff hangers to both seasons 1 and 2 were that Nathan had died and both times they tricked us. Heroes started going wrong when they did the sub-plot that Claire's blood can bring back the dead. Suddenly you had Captain Scarlet syndrome where you think "how can our hereoes get out of this scrape?...wait they can't die so it doesn't matter."

    They need to start killing off people for good- main characters not new ones that are intresting but people that have outlived their usefulness to the plot. It seems that if you are related to Claire in someway you are immune from death sadly.

    Tbh the main reason is just terrible writing. Just look at Mohinder this year for proof. It seemed like he woke up one day and said "Not fair! I want powers too!" It was so far out of character. Also you have plots that are dropped suddenly with no mention of them again, poor Catlin.

    I don't think there is any way to save this show now. But thankfully due to the relatively stand-alone seasons we can always look back on Season 1 with joy. Maybe in a few years they will say sorry to us fans and remake season 2 properly.

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  10. "Now he is too powerful and even he seems to forget who he is" sorry I meant to say even he forgets what powers he has.

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  11. don't forget the whole ludicrous Nikky/Tracy mumbo jumbo. i never understood Nikky's power, but I liked it. Tracy is just horrible.

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