Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chock Full of Heroes

It's a full bag of Heroes discussion tonight. First and foremost, here's my review of this week's episode:

Alright, now some reader mail. Longtime reader Dan has a simple question:

Are you more nervous that Heroes will get cancelled soon now that Leno is going to be on in primetime five days a week?

Honestly, I don't see this having much impact on Heroes. First off, Leno's show is going to air during the 10:00 hour, so it shouldn't have any effect on Heroes' time slot. Along with that, you have to consider that Leno's show currently brings in about 5.4 million views -- about two million less than Heroes at the moment. And it's entirely possible that the primetime audience won't embrace Leno's show the way the typical late night crowd has. It's perhaps fair to say that Heroes is actually a safer bet in this scenario.

If it's a matter of budget and money, again I'm going to bring up the fact Heroes is still a strong performer for NBC. My Own Worst Enemy and presumably Lipstick Jungle -- two series in which the peacock has done quite a lot of campaigning for -- have already been canceled. ER, a staple and consistent performer for the network, won't return next season.

In fact, the one of the few shows already picked up is Knight Rider, which averages about 7.4 million viewers. A recent episode of Heroes brought in 7.8 million. Other popular series such as Chuck and My Name is Earl bring in about 4.4 and 6.6 million each, respectively.

That being said, I think Heroes would benefit greatly by trimming the fact and eliminating some of the excess weight. But more on that later...

Another reader sent me an e-mail with some interesting thoughts as well:
I didn't have a problem with Arthur showing up in the past, as he did take Peter's powers, including time travel. I also thought it was interesting that he took Hiro's power as well, hopefully eliminating their reliance on "seeing a horrible future, and having to stop it". The only problem I had was, how did he know where to go? But I am okay with that, since it's obvious he has mental powers, or perhaps he just read the comic book. Hiro's father must've figured that baby Claire had some sort of resilence to have survived the fire, making her an inherently good candidate.

I've enjoyed Sylar's journey back to the dark side. I thought the idea of the hunger was a good thing, but I also remember that during his journey to America with Maya and her brother, he was totally manipulative, and murderous while his power (and presumably, the hunger) was suppressed. I am sorry to see Elle get killed, but having a Sylar around will hopefully thin out some of the superfluous characters. I would put Ali Larter on the chopping block, the fire brother and sister (actually, I'd like to see him kill one, and not need the other).

One twist that I would like is for Arthur to not be Sylar's father, but Angela really is his mother.And one more thing about Sylar, they needed him to be kind of good in order to establishe that he doesn't need to kill in order to take powers, now it makes it so much more evil that he does. I am curious whether or not the light has now died with Arthur, or if maybe it will transfer to Peter (since he's standing right there.)

Oh and as far as people getting killed while their powers are suppressed, remember for the death to stick, it's got to be through the head destroying the brain (I don't recall where Future Peter got shot though)As to being injected and getting super-strength, I think that's the easiest thing to believe as the most probable result of a drug.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I completely overlooked the fact that Arthur took Peter's abilities, and that Peter could time travel. That does explain how he got there, but it doesn't explain how he knew to go there. Him reading the comic book doesn't really cut the mustard, either. Why not just go back a little further and kill little Claire and little Hiro?

But I do agree: With Hiro and Peter drained of their powers, and Arthur dead, none of the central characters can time travel anymore, which is a HUGE step forward in their constant "save the future" story arc.

I'm still not sure what to make of Sylar's journey. It seems like such a waste to essentially rewrite his character's history and make up new rules about his ability to make the audience sympathize with him, only for him to revert back to being a killer. Yes, the knowledge that Sylar doesn't have to kill somebody to acquire their abilities, but still chooses to, does add some depth to his murders, but we've already seen him kill a number of people without the benefit of gaining their powers.

Elle's death is slightly curious, only because the show seems to have no real problem killing off characters that are already interesting or haven't yet reached their potential. Consider that Isaac was killed two seasons ago yet the show STILL uses his character to advance the plot. Meanwhile, what has Parkman done of interest the past two years?

I forgot to mention this in the column, but I too have a feeling that we will discover that Angela is indeed Sylar's mother after all. I actually wouldn't mind this terribly, since I have enjoyed the new found bond between former enemies Peter and Sylar. This would certainly add a dynamic to their already volatile relationship.

I also considered the possibility that the light transferred to Peter, but I wouldn't be surprised if the light is gone and done with. As far as plot goes, the catalyst served its purpose and isn't really necessary anymore.

Anyway, that's it for this week. And remember one thing: Despite my criticisms here, this season is still miles upon miles beyond anything we saw on the show last year.

UPDATE: Read this very interesting interview with Bryan Fuller, the brains behind "Company Man," on what he will do to "fix" Heroes (interesting note: Season 4 is discussed as matter-of-fact)

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