Monday, November 12, 2007

Heroes: Thoughts on being a Sophomore

I can't just discuss tonight's episode. No. At the moment, Heroes needs more than a snarky recap and a pretty picture of Milo. It needs... a mother's discipline.

See, Heroes is a cool show. I wouldn't exactly call it the smartest, or best written hour of entertainment, but in Season One, it was actually entertaining. It was different and unpredictable and full of cool characters and merging storylines. And it held my attention, kept me wanting, became Must See TV.

Then Hiro landed in feudal Japan and that girl started crying black tears.

Here's what makes Heroes tick: Plot twists, multiple stories and characters, entwined without their knowledge, pushing toward one, big agenda. Season One's agenda was clear from the beginning. Hell, we even got slogans for each phase of the plan. (Say it with me, Save the Cheerleader... save the world.)

Season two's direction was made clear ... last week. Somewhere around the SEVEN episode mark. There's a virus, it's gonna kill them all. The heroes have to fix it. Why did it take so long to get there?

I read a recent interview with Tim Kring (which made me hopeful), in which he owned up to several sophomore issues. Most importantly:

1. Late introduction of the season's purpose (plague wiping out civilization, gotta stop it). I seriously had no idea what the hell any of them were doing until last week. Storyline was/is all over the place. I mean, they mentioned the virus, but then with all the ancient warriors and brain boxes, it was hard to make it fit. And I'm still wondering on B story with the older generation being killed off (I'm suspecting by Adam).

2. The Seven Years in Tibet storyline, or whatever that crap was with Hiro living in his childhood storybook. The payoff with Takezo K./Adam turned out to be cool, but it could have been done sooner. Waaaaay sooner. Like, before there were ever Cherry Blossoms involved.

3. New characters. Seriously, I'm less interested in Maya, Alejandro and Monica than that infomercial where the guy screams about four types of kitchen cleaner. They Nikki and Paolo'd it with the first two, and Monica, poor thing... what's the point? Then there's West. Don't get me started. I mean ... what can I say? That kid totally goobs me out with his Peter Pan flying and dumbass dialogue.

That said, the newbies aren't ALL bad.

1. Elle. The four minutes of screen time Kristen Bell got in episode five, were the most entertaining of the season at that point, and shot her to immediate status as a character I'm actually interested in, want to figure out. And not because I'm already partial (which I am) and think she's fantastic (which she is), but because the character maintained the mystery of Season One. She has a purpose, she has secrets, she's got layers. To me, she's on par with Sylar in that way. Completely unpredictable and totally enthralling. LOVE how Bell is playing her, too. Sadistic little girl. Amazing.

2. Adam. Yes, the Japanese storyline was crap, but the twist - that he's immortal and because of Hiro's tampering, living in present day, carrying a 400 year old grudge and a sexy English accent - awesome. We all knew early in the season that David Anders been made a regular, which left me wondering HOW. Pretty cool payoff - plus, he has GOT to have some connection to Claire, right? (Note that everything I'm saying in this paragraph goes back to the reasons listed as what makes the show tick. Coincidence? I think not.)

As for plot this season, it's hard to comment because I've yet to see anything cohesive. And now I'm sad because it looks like things are about to shift gears (because Kring says he hears his audience!), just in time for an early season finale due to the WGA Strike.

Tonight's episode was probably the best of the season. Why? Oh, I don't know... because we finally found out about the characters we care for, Peter got his freakin' memory back and there was some payoff! And I won't lie, the preview for next week looks awesome. This beach-bound showdown with Mohinder and HRG and The Company. Exchanging Claire for Elle - all good things.

And only three left to give us some closure to a less than stellar, and incomplete season.

Damn you AMPTP!

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