Heroes, Sci-Fi Channel

by | Feb 19, 2007 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

A gloriously ambitious attempt to transfer the wonder of comics to the small screen without alienating the masses who are ordinarily repulsed by stories told in speech-bubbled words and impressionistic drawings.

What was good about it?

• A mix of superheroes and superhero powers that has been carefully planned. For instance, we were prejudicial about Claire Bennet, a cheerleader from rural Texas because of the stereotypical cheerleader of polished popularity and overflowing superficiality, yet she was the most appealing because of her cold acceptance of her superpowers – her indestructibility. And at the moment she has the most intriguing narrative as her adoptive father is some kind of secret agent charged with hunting down the heroes.

• The portrayal of chubby Japanese geek Hiro, and the Tokyo in which he leads a glum existence before he hones his power of being able to travel through space (a skill he has kind of mastered after he teleported to New York), and time (a skill he still doesn’t understand). Also, Tokyo is shown as a crass facsimile of Western life with Karaoke bars full of people dressed in Western fashions singing Western songs. This may be a subtle comment on the way in which Japanese Manga has similarly been diluted for mass consumption but in the other direction.

• While Heroes is not derivative of Lost, it certainly borrows from it most notably and favourably in the way in which coincidences are employed to arrange the plot coherently such as Isaac watching a TV news report of Nathan’s election campaign, Peter taking a ride in Mohinder’s taxi, Hiro’s best friend observing Niki stripping through his computer in Tokyo and Niki’s son being a prodigiously talented boy with supernatural powers much like Walt.

• By the end of the second episode, the ‘end’ of the series has already been seen. After precognitive artist Isaac painted a vision of New York being destroyed in a flash of white lightning, Hiro was later seen entering his apartment only to see Isaac dead on the floor with the top of his skull sawn off. Moments later he was arrested and as he was being questioned it became apparent he had travelled forward five weeks in time, something he realised just as the lethal lightning engulfed and destroyed much of New York. Hiro, meanwhile, teleported safely back to Tokyo. All of which gives the Heroes a definite catastrophe to avoid.

• And if that weren’t mysterious enough, there’s the subplot about who killed Mohinder Suresh’s father, which caused him to come to New York. And who is Syler? Is he an evil kin of the Heroes or just a sick serial killer who thinks people look better without a top on their head?

• Heroes is unashamedly inspired by Alan Moore’s Watchmen, that also explored the psychology of superheroes as real people and their human flaws. And, probably without coincidence, also concludes with a catastrophe in New York which kills millions of people. Although, we imagine that the Heroes will being trying to stop it rather than being the actual cause of it.

What was bad about it?

• Opening episodes of dramas, especially ones as innovative and sprawling as Heroes, are often just patchworks scenes sewing together the characters and plotlines. And as about seven major characters were introduced in episode one at times it became a bit like watching the universe through a telescope and every five minutes switching to a completely different part of the firmament. But this had obviously subsided by part two, even if the producers did feel it necessary to signpost each character and their location.

• How did Mohinder become so familiar with the layout of New York within a day that he was able to inherit his father’s job as a taxi driver? Perhaps, his as yet unknown, superpower is one of stupendous memory.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

19/02/2007

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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