So...I was a fan of NBC's Heroes. I say 'was' because...I was. I admit, it took me about five episodes of the first season to get into it but I kept coming back and then it got good. Really good. Like...must be home on Monday nights to watch it good.
The second season was kind of silly but I watched it. When it was halted by the writer's strike, I was left wanting more.
And now it's back. I missed the first five episodes but I caught up this past week and, I admit, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep going.
There's an article in this weeks' Entertainment Weekly that details what they think is wrong with the show and how to save it. Mostly, they're right. Yet they don't point out what I think is a major flaw: the confusion about who's a hero and who's a villain.
I think I might have figured it out. I think that Tough Claire and her gang of merry, super gifted, men from the future are villains. But I'm not sure because they seem to be trying to stop Peter. And when it comes to Peter Petrelli, I am stumped. There were two Peters. One was future Peter, one was present Peter. They both wanted to save the world but apparently it gets destroyed because of Peter...Future Peter (I think). Except I think that Peter didn't mean to destroy the world. Which should make him a hero. Except people like Matt Parkman think he needs to be stopped. Parkman is, let's face it, a tad extranous these days anyway. I like him and I like his turtle but he's really not much use and hasn't been for a while. But I thought Parkman was good which would make Peter bad. And Parkman's super fast-future-wife, Daphne, is trying to stop Peter. Which makes her a hero. She's working with Tough Claire and co. so...they are heroes?
You see my confusion? It all goes back to Peter Petrelli. I don't get him. He always seems so earnest but then he does something dumb like take Sylar's-tinged-with-evil power even though he knows it's probably not good to do so. And why did he do that, anyway? It was supposed to help him figure out how things worked, all their pieces. Then again, if I were in the Heroes universe, I'd probably want that power too- it'd make the line between heroes/villains WAY less confusing. Except...Peter already can read minds, become invisible, fly, live forever, use telekineses, start fires with his hands, etc. Wouldn't those powers combined make it fairly easy to figure out what was going on? And he's already been in contact with Sylar before so...why didn't he have his powers before. He can absorb other heroes' powers just by touching them so....
Also, if that's his way of getting his powers, shouldn't he have been able to fight his father's power-sucking-hug by taking his father's power at the same time?
And then there's Claire. I'll ignore the fact that poor Haydn Panetierre is WAY out of her element in the future scenes. She is about as convincing as playing Tough Future Claire as Keanu Reeves is at doing Shakespeare. (I like Keanu...but, well, he's no Kenneth Branaugh- that's all I'm trying to say). Future Claire is ridiculous. They darkened her hair, slicked it back and now she's supposed to be an emotionless robot. It's just not working.
At the moment, the only things that are working are Jack Coleman (Noah) and Zachary Quinto (Sylar). Their partnership was awesome- funny and clever and just what the show needed. David Anders (the late Adam) was also fantastic because he, too, had fun and you could see it.
And maybe that's what's wrong with the show. No one's having fun anymore. No one's realistic, anymore. The first season was awesome because it gave us a fairly believable universe in which ordinary people discovered they had extraordinary gifts. They lived in the world we live in. Then came time-travel and the show started to try to make comic-book plots. Now, it's all a comic-book-esque show with nothing left that makes us relate. The time jumping is confusing, the characters are WAY too many and way too one-dimensional and they keep stealing plot devices from other sources as well as themselves. Mohinder as a giant bug? Really? Claire as Trinity from the Matrix? Really? Parkman spirit walking? Really? Buffy did that WAY better when she met the spirit of the first slayer...it's been done before. In fact, most of it has.
And Hiro...the first true breakout star from the show. He was goofy, funny, geeky and cute. Now he's a cliche. We get it, he represents fanboys and geeks worldwide. We get that he reads comics. But if he says "Nemesis!" one more time to Daphne, that's it, I can't watch anymore. He's become ridiculous and unnecessary. Adam should have killed him and been done with it. Even Ando is more interesting merely because he gets nothing but abuse and scorn from Hiro but he's always there for his friend, anyway.
What it comes down to is the same thing that kills most good TV shows eventually; they can't stick with what made a show popular in the first place, they always have to try to make it bigger, to get even higher ratings, to be more talked about. The network and creators can't accept that a show is fine as it is; they always have to overshoot. It happens to the best of them. Sometimes, a show corrects itself mid-course (see Lost as an example), sometimes it just goes so downhill, people can't watch. Because for every second and third season of a show that was great in its first, there's a new show that's premiering that's better and it's only a matter of times before the fans leave.
I only hope Heroes comes back swinging.