January 30, 2007

From Hero to Zero

I watch too much television. Good television, but too much. Weekly I watch: Rome, Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, The Office, Melrose Place (Foxy and Bryce, I curse you), SNL (although I fast forward half of it), cartoons (many), 24 and Heroes. That's not even counting old television shows on DVD like Alias, Six Feet Under and anything by Joss Whedon.

I'm a nerd, but I own it.

Of course with so much competition for my squinty little eyes, I inevitably end up dropping a few shows. Who would have guessed the show most likely to be dumped has turned out to be Heroes on NBC?

Certainly not I.

Oh, Heroes. You were a delicate soufflé that baked too quickly and fell flat before your first season was even finished. You achieved in the course of a few months what other cultish, fan obsessed shows do over the course of six seasons.

That being: 1) start off quirky with shaky but committed legs, 2) create a limited, but rabid, fan base, 3) through word-of-mouth become a phenomenon that reshapes a particular genre and 4) eventually alienate the original nerd core fan base due to sloppy writing, jump the shark premises and a corporate desire for bigger and better ratings.

I blame NBC. I blame our instant-access media culture. I blame myself (for everything). I blame the actors who are so full of themselves its hard to watch them. “Ooh we’re on NBC's it show.” But above all else I blame the fact that NOTHING HEROIC HAPPENS. Nothing heroic happens. Nothing heroic happens.


The fat cop who can read minds? He “comes out” about his mind reading to his cheating wife, fixes his sink (with a wrench, not his mind) and discovers she’s pregnant when she tells him. Of course it’s not going to be his, because she's a cheater. But whatever.

The cheerleader with super healing? (No. Not Buffy) She searches the internet for her birth mom and helps her brainwashed (and suddenly not gay) friend to re-discover that she has healing powers.

The mayoral candidate who can fly? He does nothing except fret about his side-mouth-talking (that’s not his power, but his disability) brother who can suck other people’s … powers..

The online stripper with dual personality disorder? She sits in a padded cell and whimpers to her Oprah-Look-Alike psychiatrist about doing nothing with her powers.

The son of the stripper who can talk to ATMs? Again, nothing but he reveals to us that he can talk to ATMs, which we knew already. And seriously, he has turned into one arrogant, little child actor. He was so precocious last autumn.

The ex-con husband of the stripper who can walk through walls? Useless. He can’t feed his child, rescue his wife or advance the storyline. Phase shifting is such a passive power anyways. Lame.

The recovering heroin addict who can paint the future as comic book panels? He does nothing but paint exposition which then the characters discuss. Stop explaining everything to us!

I’m NOT making these characters up. And I’m barely half way through the list!

The Japanese nerdlet with phallus issues who can stop time? Hid under a van the entire episode and seeks an ancient samurai sword to focus his powers. Also discovered his dad is Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. (In his defense he was the #1 most likeable thing of the show, but now his shtick stinks like an old California roll.)

The best friend of the time traveling Japanese nerd? So useless except as an eventual casualty. Note to the actor playing him: Dude, your job has a bull’s-eye painted on it the size of Hiroshima. Start looking for work asap.

The Indian scientist with a weird power that lets him see a little boy in his dreams?
Yeah. He’s so annoying. His only use is fifteen minutes of “scientific” exposition per episode.

The red headed waitress with the photographic memory? Before she mysteriously died her only function was the same as the Indian’s: regurgitation of crap we learned from last episode. Get me some pancakes! She will be back.

The Haitian man who can erase people’s memories? Useless except as a means to wipe people’s memories so they can spend an episode re-learning what we’ve already seen.

The cheerleader’s (no longer gay) best friend? Got memory wiped and had to re-learn that people have GASP powers! And yeah, he was totally gay in one episode. Like he came out to her. And now NBC has snipped that from his personality.

The side-mouth talking male nurse who can mimic other people’s powers?
Bryce can’t stand looking at him. I can’t stand hearing him. Our powers combined form utter disgust for him. Guess what? He’s had like eight dream sequences where he blows up and nukes New York City. The psychic painter has painted him blowing up New York. Everyone has talked about him blowing up New York. Is he going to blow up New York? What? I must have missed that…

The cheerleader’s creepy dad with cool glasses? He has some sort of power. I don’t know. My fingers are sore from listing these lame characters.

The homeless man who can turn invisible? He steals cell phones and wants to train the male nurse how to use his powers better? He was also in “28 Days Later.”

The psychotic villain who eats people’s brains to gain their powers? He’s been doped up on a research table, then he died, then he came back to life, then he killed a researcher and now has a spigot stuck in the back of his head.

And there’s even more!

Mr. Sulu? Was Nichelle Nichols booked?

The cheerleader’s birth mom who can create fire? Handy because she smokes cigarettes.

The radioactive man who sits in a log cabin and glows all alone? That’s all he does.

Doctor-Oprah mentioned above? Seriously, this woman looks more like Oprah than even Oprah looks like Oprah. Maybe that’s her power?

The mind-reading cop’s, angry, lesbian FBI agent-friend? She’s played by Clea DuVall.

And Mr. Muggles? A Pomeranian puppy that obviously has powers not yet revealed.

And they won’t be revealed. Nothing will be revealed on Heroes because NOTHING HEROIC HAPPENS on Heroes. They’ll talk about it happening, but it simply won’t happen.

I’m giving it one week to shape up, but seriously, with so many characters you’d think the writers would have a field day weaving intricate plots and storylines. No. The show is nothing but two or three person scenes in which the characters talk about what has already happened, which is nothing heroic, which on a show named Heroes strikes me as powerfully ironic.


Anonymous said...

We watch all the same stuff! How come I am not as witty as you!?

Anonymous said...

I still like the show overall, but yeah, there was an awful lot NOT happening this week.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like Heroes from the get-go, but I still watch it every week cuz that's when I'm at the gym and there's nothing else on. So I'd like to take this time to direct you to another show. The best show on television (altho BSG is making headway again).
This show is the best because it references BSG nearly every week. The writing is clever, and your beloved Joss has even guest starred. Yes, I'm talking about Veronica Mars.
So go to the CWTV site and play catch up. Start with this week's show (Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves) and tell me that it doesn't rule.

Gayest Neil said...

Yawn. And yes the BF watches Veronica Mars.

And no thank you.

Don't get me started on her fun house lighting scheme and getting roofied every other week.

And whats up with FAT WEEVIL?

Girl, get yosef some acne cream.

So, again, no thanks. VM SUX.

Foxy said...

It took me weeks to get past the indulgent lighting design on Veronica Mars. It was worth it, though every once in a while I am still heard to exclaim "Just where the fuck is that light supposed to be coming from?".

Anonymous said...

Ever watched VM in black and white? Well, that's what the lighting's about--an homage to the detective film (every episode also has obligatory neon). Check out the dean's femme fatale wife, nice hair. Nobody wears their hair like that.
As for fat Weevil--Francis Capra had kidney failure and was put on steroids for whatever reason, hence, weight and zits.
If you wanna talk indulgent lighting, though, Studio 60 takes the cake. I mean, its not like Michael Bauhaus is the DP.

bryce said...

There will be NO TRASH TALKING Veronica Mars.

I told myself that I wouldn't wathc any more teen shows after Buffy, but I love it.

Anonymous said...

Mars is ok. But where is the show going? It has no direction anymore. And the BSG references are really annoying btw. (I love BSG)
And about this last heroes episode, most series have some of these episodes. They have to fill the season, lol. It still sucked though.

some more references:
The Sulu Star Trek link is the first one, I thought that doctor oprah, look a lot like the actress who played casidy yates (that chick sisko did on DS9).
And the homeless dude is christopher eccleston (the old new dr. who, played the doctor for one season).

Jessica said...

Oh god. I contemplated starting up show recaps on my blog with Heroes, but I'm usually just so confused by the end of the episodes that I have no words. And it's not even a confusion as in, I don't understand these clever plot twists because I'm slow. It's more like, omg what exactly are we supposed to think is going on and why do i even care?

Truth be told, however, I'm really in it to stare at Mohinder for as long as they'll allow me to. Plus, they totes baited me with Sulu. Fuckers.

MidnightGardener said...

Lots of truth in your post, particularly as regards the incredible speed with which the story does not advance but I have to defend NBC here on one point, anyway: I don't think they've "snipped" Zach's gayness from his character...it took weeks of Claire trusting him with all the business about her powers before he felt comfortable enough to come out to her.

Now that his mind's been tampered with, he's had his timeline for that revelation to her pushed back again, since he has only "just" learned about her secrets. Until I see him kiss a girl (eww, ick), I won't worry about Zach's sexuality being censored.

And for the sake of moving the storyline forward, hopefully any coming out will happen off camera, with some subtle reference as we race along toward Peter or someone blowing up the city...

Alex said...

Yay. Heroes is gone. I hated the show and hated the hype on it.

The only part that was good was the brothers who...liked each other really a lot. But I don't know if that was an intentional subplot. When they killed off Eden, the only character I remotely enjoyed, I couldn't go back.