Awhile ago I said I was done with Heroes, but that didn’t take (it was mostly pique at a Tim Kring interview in which he acted like a douche). But seriously… is anyone still liking this show? I’m watching, but it’s usually because a) I don’t work Tuesdays so have probably been into the agave extracts and b) I have a morbid fascination with seeing how bad something can get. It makes no sense.

After the first season, they figure they need a bunch of characters with cool new super powers, then decide to abandon them entirely, leaving no resolution for many of them. They replace the new superheroes with convoluted back story characters and resurrections, like Papa Patrelli, then promptly kill them off, while just plain losing track of some of them. They decide to strip down the cast to the core regulars this season – not a bad idea – then proceed to introduce a bunch of pretty lame new characters. They fixate on trying to re-capture their first-season successes, so are now sending Hiro back in time to muck with them – crap like rescuing Charlie. Thanks for once again rendering a key emotional point in the once-good series moot, again.

This is the biggest problem, they keep contradicting the canon. Saving the cheerleader didn’t do squat, in the end – Claire easily survives Syler’s brain surgery later on, and gains her power. And he survived Hiro’s sword stab even without her power, so it didn’t matter much. Then Syler conveniently forgot about powers the show couldn’t deal with, like his nuke and illusion abilities – their attempts to amnesia them away were shallow and silly.

They also have never come to grips with Hiro’s powers, so invent endless road blocks for them that are hard to swallow. They never understood that a character who can change time and events is really hard to deal with. That’s why most major time traveller characters, like the Doctor, get arbitrary rules they have to obey about paradox and so on – they can take part in events they time travel to, but can’t go back and fix their actions. From early days, setting up Hiro’s power as a way to mess with history was a mistake.

I keep watching for the reasons stated above – mostly alcoholic impairment on its broadcast night. But I really doubt that it could ever bounce back now. The show runners have no idea how to script sci-fi – they’re acting like it’s a show like ER, with short-term plot arcs and character changes that just get folded into its week-by-week cast and character changes. And you can’t do that with such a complicated sci-fi premise.

What made Heroes so good in its first season was its superhero characters acting and dealing with things like real people. There was no school for gifted mutants or tight-fitting spandex – these were real people discovering they had great power. But they had nowhere to go with it, past their loosely veiled imitation of Watchmen‘s plot and perspective. They lost continuity in a big way, losing track of characters, leaving interesting ideas dangling. This show was just too big for the people who wrote it, and its death now seems imminent and inevitable.

The fact is, the show is overly obsessed with superhero origin stories. Look at the history of superheroes on screen, and they’re almost always the origin story. How so-and-so got their powers, discovered them, started using them. Spider-Man 2 was one of the first that found a post-origin direction. Movies like The Dark Knight took it even further, into the realm of truly great storytelling. But Heroes is wrapped in a miasma of origin story -> overly powered characters -> power reduction -> new character -> (repeat), and it just won’t stop now. If they move it to a night I have to work the next day, that will probably be it for me. Such a shame after such a promising start.

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