Jun. 17th, 2010

infinitejest: (Default)
Day 11 - A show that disappointed you

Several years ago, I kept hearing all this buzz about a new show called Heroes. "It's awesome!" exclaimed friends and coworkers alike. "It's superheroes done right on TV!" they added, with gleeful exuberance. Well, I like superheroes. And I like television, in case you had somehow missed that over the past couple weeks. Plus, I admit I was intrigued by their whole "Save the cheerleader, save the world" campaign. "How Buffy the Vampire Slayer!" I thought. As you've also probably noticed, I also love Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a great love. I wasn't interested in a clone, but I was intrigued to see if they could do a similar idea differently.

Quixote and I tuned in somewhere half-way through the season; we caught up, of course, first. And we were enthralled: time travel! Geeky Japanese guy as comic relief becomes slightly dark-edged bad-ass! Creepy serial killer who can steal powers! Sweet guy of faith who can absorb powers without that annoying Rogue-like life-sucking thing! Flying characters! Mindreaders! Pseudo-scientific explanations! Split personalities where the main personality doesn't have a superpower! A healer who's a bastard! Generational conspiracies! A stab at multiethnic representation!1

Heroes really felt like something as sprawling and epic as X-Men done in an intelligent manner on television. We really enjoyed the hell out of S1 and, while the ending was predictable, we still finished out the initial storyarc(s) feeling pleased and stoked to see where the show was going.

Also, as I've mentioned before, my appreciation is vast for Bryan Fuller projects. Color me unsurprised to discover Bryan Fuller was initially involved with Heroes!

Of course, then S2 happened; instead of building on the awesome of S1, they rehashed the origin storylines. Sometimes even the same origins, going back over ground already covered on S1 characters. There was a wider representation of ethnicity, but they continued to do it poorly. The cohesion of the show began splintering, with plot holes as dense as black holes and storylines randomly abandoned. In S3, it got even worse: instead of drawing on the strengths of comic book superhero origins, the television series seemed doomed instead to act out the worst aspects of comicdom in garish colors and excruciating detail.

We gave up when Sylar relapsed, after the first half of S3. Right before they decided to do the whole political terrorism/registration act storyline. We were irrevocably disappointed: we don't really give up on television shows that easily.

Quixote was so badly burned out on it that he had negative interest in checking in on the series periodically to see where it went. I would occasionally visit the Wikipedia articles and scan through the recent plot developments. My choice to drop the show was constantly vindicated as the storylines continued to spiral into ridiculous chaos.

Honestly, I'm happy it's finally been cancelled. It should have been put out of its misery some time ago, and has become one of those media franchises where I only admit to it having one season.2


1. Admittedly a poor stab, but still a stab? This is something that needed major work, especially their representation.

2. Much as there is, essentially, only one Highlander film.


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