Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Why I Don't Watch Heroes, Revisited

Long-time listeners might recall that back in the spring I explained why I don't watch Heroes.
I'll make you Heroes viewers a deal, everybody I know that's been trying to get me to watch it. If, years from now, when Heroes finally wraps up and airs its final episode, the consensus among viewers is that the showrunners *did* know what they were doing all along, and the mysteries when revealed are internally consistent and clever, all along the way, then I'll get the DVDs and give it a shot. But at this point I'm hedging my bets, and taking it on faith that, like Alias, like X-Files, like Smallville, et cetera, et al, that when its said and done there'll have been some good episodes, maybe even good parts of seasons, but in the final summation the shows will have ended up closer to the shit end of the scale than genius. I'm happy and willing to be proved wrong, but I'm not going to invest the hundreds of hours to find out for myself. I'll let someone else be the canary in the coal mine!
I had expected to wait years to put the question to all you Heroes viewers, but in light of the writers' strike, and the fact that the network has been promoting the most recent episode in some places as a "finale" (and in others as something called a "mid-season finale," whatever that means), this seems like a good place to stop and do a level check.

To recap, in the spring I said that, while Heroes might have some good episodes, and even good runs of episodes in different seasons, it would end up sucking, sooner or later. Bearing in mind that a few weeks back, in response to what Entertainment Weekly called "a creative decline," creator Tim Kring apologized to fans for the failings of this season, I have to ask: was I right?

[Looks down at the ground and mumbles] Yes, you were right.
The ratings aren't good, either, not that the NBC spin machine or the entertainment media in general would ever let you know that.
You were very correct. I stopped watching it completely this season, it was so bad.

Peter, a character on the show who is plagued with chronic stupidity and inaction, recovers his lost memories in a flashback show. The thing is, he recalls a whole bunch of things that didn't happen to him. At all.

That, my friend, is only the tip of the poop ice berg that is Heroes.

I forgave a lot of the bad writing of the first season as I thought it was kind of a send-up of comic book schlock wrapped in a frenetic pace. But, it was really just someone talking so fast, with wild hand gestures, so that you didn't realize the line of bullshit you were being fed.
I watched Heroes for the first season even though the showrunners admitted (I believe I read this somewhere) that they didn't have the entire arc planned, because their improvisations along the way were sufficiently entertaining. I gave up on it at the beginning of the second season.

Let me ask you a question in return: do you think the showrunners on Battlestar Galactica have demonstrated that they knew what they were doing? What about the showrunners on Lost?
There are a few characters that I loathe. But overall, I still love the show and would never miss an episode.
I think season one held up through the end, and tied up everything neatly, and did pay off in a "they knew where they were going" way. It remains one of my favorite seasons of television, and certainly had a better arc than anything BSG has done.

Season two, while it's had moments, hasn't been as strong - I haven't seen the final two due to workload here - but I'd argue that it was pulling out of it (around the time HRG was shot for those who watch) when the writer's strike forced their hand. This is an unforeseen, almost unprecedented bit of outside interference, so some allowances there might be in order.
Ted, to answer your questions, I think that the last season of BSG proved unequivocally that the showrunners there have no idea where they're going or what they're doing. I've had Razor sitting on my Tivo for the last few weeks, and just haven't been able to bring myself to watch it yet. And I look forward with a sense of dread to the next season.

As for Lost, I remain convinced that the showrunners there know exactly where everything's going, and have since the beginning. I may be blinded by my love for the show, but I honestly don't think they've even made any real missteps since the beginning, and even the aspects of the show that some viewers have decried still worked for me.
Oh, Lou, I knew I could count on your to maintain faith. I'll check back in with you when the show has run its course, and we'll see how things stand. (As for the arcs on BSG, they've all been retroactively colored in my eyes by the nonsense of the last half of this most recent season, so while before I could point to the liberation of New Caprica as one of the best things ever, the realization that so many of our heroes in the trenches were "actually" Cylons has really taken the shine off of it, so I can't muster the will to defend it.)

But honestly, in your heart of hearts, is that first season of Heroes better than Rome? Than Deadwood?
Angela, your comment about loathing characters on Heroes is an interesting one, as it's a comment I've heard from a lot of avowed Heroes fans. It's not that there are one or two characters that they like less than others, but they hate them. I'm trying to think of similar hatred for characters in other well-beloved shows, but I'm drawing a blank. Is this a phenomenon other people have run into before? Maybe Wesley Crusher on ST:TNG? Any others?
I think you're on to something there, Chris.

When it comes to disliking characters on Heroes, they're all Wesly Crusher analogues.

Parkman is a perpetual idiot played by a man who can't act his way out of a wet paper bag with a machete.

Suresh is a self-righteous moron.

Peter is an idiot with a mouth only Sylvester Stallone could love.

Alejandro! Maya! Alejandro! Maya! Alejandro! Maya! Alejandro! Maya! Alejandro! Maya! Alejandro! Maya! Alejandro! Maya! Need I say more?

Bah! I could complain about this show for hours. I'm glad I'm not watching it anymore.

Now, for BSG, the last season was a bummer. Complete crap. Razor was a waste of time, and had no redeeming qualities at all. Not one single plot point about Cara's miraculous return was advanced in that turdball of a movie. Not one.


~~~~ you have been warned ~~~

==... seriously. this is it ...==

But, we did get yet another minor character in the spotlight who was another drug-addicted female who was misunderstood by her peers, and came through at the end with a suicide that proved her worth beyond measure. Can't they come up with any other kind of female character to build an episode or movie about?
Lou said:

but I'd argue that it was pulling out of it [...] when the writer's strike forced their hand. This is an unforeseen, almost unprecedented bit of outside interference, so some allowances there might be in order.

My understanding is that the strike caused the first arc of the season to be the entire season, not that it forced the showrunners to bring anything to a premature conclusion. I think it's fair to judge the episodes that aired using the same standards as with any television (and I don't just mean Heroes; I think this applies to all shows currently airing).
Well, since I was a few years younger than Wesley Crusher, and of course a female, I didn't loathe him.. I had a huge crush on him! lol
But I usually don't like to admit that fact now..
But anytime that you have character-driven shows, there are going to be the occasional ones that rub you the wrong way. It's the same way with Lost. And I pretty much started hating every character on the new BSG, which is why I stopped watching during the first season.
Gotta agree with you, Chris, and with Ted. Heroes has done what they wanted to do, they had enough in the can not to allow the strike to be any kind of excuse. I did watch this (only?) half of the season, but when it was done so was I. Finito!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by 

Blogger. Isn't yours?