Heroes – Volume Two, a bitchy review by Mike Gold
Warning! Spoiler Alert! If you’ve got the past half-dozen episodes of Heroes TiVoed, you just might want to skip this review. On the other hand, if you’ve got the past half-dozen episodes of Heroes TiVoed, I just might be able to add six hours to your life.
Once upon a time, some clever Hollywood people hired some talented comics people to help create a teevee show about a bunch of human with abilities far beyond those of mankind. It was a pretty good show – maybe it could have benefited from the loss of any three characters – and it was successful. The Peacock gods smiled upon the program, and thus it was renewed.
And it turned into a meandering piece of crap.
“Heroes – Volume Two” consisted of the first, and because of the writer’s strike maybe only, 11 episodes of its second season. Having a story arc that was a half season long was a good idea. It was their only good idea.
They introduced a number of new characters, and most of them seemed to have been killed off. They played the “good guy is really the bad guy is really the good guy” bit like Ginger Baker played the drums on “Toad.” By the tenth episode, you couldn’t tell who was being naughty and who was being nice – except for Sylar, the show’s only consistent villain. And the actor, Zachary Quinto, went straight from Heroes to Spock The Next Generation, which makes him a de facto good guy for ever and ever.
The story opened with the cutest and evidently most popular Hero, Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka, he of comics’ “Get Milk” ads) back in time about four centuries. Hip-deep in feudal Japan, he meets Heroes’ newest maybe-villain, an Englishman with a Vandal Savage complex named Adam. What’s an Englishman doing wandering around feudal Japan? Nothing much, actually. Maybe he was looking for Tom Cruise. Anyway, this bit ran for many, many boring episodes, removing Masi from his friends, co-workers, and storyline. By the end we realize Adam wants to (wait for it) destroy the world. Oh, yeah, and he killed Hiro’s daddy, played by George Takei, who deserved better if only for having been directed by William Shatner in the most god-awful of the Trek movies.
There’s also another bad guy who was pretty good from time to time, but turned out to be bad. He seems to be the man behind “It” all, although what “It” is and what “It” was and what “It” might have been remains unclear. He’s named Bob. Of course.
Like I said, at the end of the story most of the new heroes were dead (but are they?), the cheerleader didn’t rat out the conspiracy or the good guys, Bob was wandering around at one of his many dens of evil, Adam was buried alive but, of course, he can’t die so he’s merely inconvenienced until the writer’s strike ends, and Sylar has his evil powers back.
In other words, status quo. Nothing happened. And since Heroes did the resurrection bit several times, you can’t even trust the dead characters to stay that way.
It’s hard to understand why this show fell down. Heroes has a good cast and an awesome pedigree: Jeph Loeb is a damn fine comics writer, executive producer / sometimes director Allan Arkush is a favorite of ComicMixers John Ostrander, Martha Thomases and myself – if for nothing more than the wonderfully bizarre Get Crazy and Rock and Roll High School, let alone great teevee shows like St. Elsewhere and Shannon’s Deal.
I think I know what happened. I think the writers and producers read too many comics, and they picked up our worst habits. No, actually, our dumbest. “Death” is nothing more than a vacation. Villains are never truly defeated. Good guys are flawed to the point of dysfunction. Families are flawed to the point of dysfunction. Corporations are evil, doctors are morally ambiguous, and small children are uniformly wonderful.
If there is a “Heroes – Volume Three,” I hope all concerned start using the better attributes found within the American comics medium. What they seem to perceive as commercial is only so to the tiny comic book store crowd, and like that market, Heroes’ ratings this year have been dwindling. As such, they’ve picked up the very worst habit of the American comics medium.
They’re preaching to the choir.
Mike – Isn't that what happens with most teevee shows? They come up with a good premise and start, then they don't know where to TAKE those ideas. It's like no one has an overall plan. I'm really bored with the 'splash page' credit sequences.I had exactly the same problem with Smallville (Superman 90210). Interesting slant on the legend but first season was half a rip on X-Files and then it just wandered around for YEARS. If everyone in that town doesn't know Clark is from another planet they're all dumber than I thought. Then they introduce their 'Oliver' in Supergirl. Talk about a show that clearly has no idea where to go.
I've been enjoying the season so far, but I agree that I've also perceived a bit of the usage of comics' worst tendencies to move things in circles. Specifically, the Sylar storyline should've ended in the first season's finale with Sylar unambiguously DEAD. The guy's an irredeemable scumbag multiple murderer, and the writers need to stop coddling that type of person. By revealing both him and D.L. to be alive–only to then kill off D.L. yet again–struck me as the sort of going-in-circles mentality that I've only seen on the part of comic book writers /corporate bosses who just don't know how to let go of certain characters in order to move on to creating and developing new ones. Fortunately, this does not compromise most of the material on the show, and like I said, I've been enjoying it. Let's hope Sylar eventually gets killed off for good.
This season wasn't a patch on the first season. But that last episode was exciting. Really really exciting. A little all over the place but good fun.
That last episode suffered from too much in too little time. I respect Loeb and Arkush for pulling it off in 48 minutes, but it would have been nice if they had resolved a few of these plot lines earlier in the run.
I haven't even gotten around to watching the *first* season.Or any episodes of "Lost".And i missed the third part of "Tin Man" tonight.
It's being rerun Sunday. I've been taping them and realized last night that I was likely going to run out of tape so sortof watched the last 10 minutes and taped the last three on the other VCR. I think I'll have to watch it tonight before I accidentally tape over those three minutes of the end.
I completely forgot about Tin Man. Oh well. Sci Fi may re-air it. As for Heroes I'll comment once I watch the last two episodes.
All episodes of Tin Man is going to be rerun this Sunday. Check your local listings.I thought it was 'OK'.It's tough when you're trying to re-imagine something everyone knows so well.Like I say, it's 'OK'.
If I ever make a really, really bad movie, I'm going to hire the guys that the SciFi channel uses to create my ads and trailers, because they can make almost any pile of crap — even Mansquito — look great. Tin Man is a classic example. I was really looking forward to it, and against my better judgment I didn't give up after the first episode. Now that's six hours of my life I'll never get back.
Rick – I think your expectations were really high after getting to work with Eric Shanower on all that really great Oz stuff. Going into it I pretty much decided they were just going to re-use the original concepts but when they tied it to the original stuff I pretty much predicted how it would end. The thing that was toughest for me to get past was the evil witch-tart played one of Brandon's dopey girlfriends on Beverly Hills 90210. At least she learned how not to do this weird face-thing she used to do on camera.
Actually, judging by the comments on IMDB, something that everyone *think* they know so well.A goodly proportion of the comments slagging it that actually give reasons amount to "It wasn't like the movie", and a lot of those are reacting to things that reminde dme of the book(s).Of course, i hold that the Garland movie sucks dead rat through a straw compared to the book, so i may be in a minority.
Thanks. Hopefully, I remember to DVR it.
Tim Kring apologized for the lousy season 2 last month to Entertainment Weekly. Which was a little comfort as I suffered through the total lack of a sense of impeneding doom.read it here: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20158840,00.html
I was annoyed they brought back Sylar as well. It dragged on enough in the first season as it was. I was really look forward to a few more answers such as what the older generations powers are and who exactly is Peter and Nathan Petrelli's father. The Mya story was pointless plot filler. On another note though, I am hoping it redeem itself so I will stick with it for now. I just hope it doesn't go down the riduclas route that lost did.
I was going to do my own review of the last episode and this last season (half season?) of "ZHeroes" but Brother Gold struck first and hit the same nails I was going to pound on for the most part. So I've doing something else in my column this week.What I WILL say is that the Season/Storyline lost focus. I didn't CARE about the South Anerican Wonder Twins trying to get to the U.S. It got boring and repetitive. The real threat didn't emerge until late in the story while, in the first year, the threat of everything blowing up was front and center pretty quick.There's also a rule in storytelling — "Kill your darlings." It's not supposed to be literal but Zheroes could have benefitted from it. The biggest problem is that arch-villain Sylar should have been dead at the end of the first season. Dead dead dead. The story really demanded it. Instead, they bring him back and now he has his powers once again. Doesn't that mean he can blow up a city? For that matter, doesn't it mean that Peter should be able to? He and his brother Nathan supposedly sacrificed themselves at the end of last season but, nope, both returned back to life THIS season. So the sacrifice didn't really mean anything, did it? It suggests that the creative team has only a few ideas. Knowing that creative team. I don't believe it.Creator Kring supposedly has learned from this last storyline's mistakes. I'm willing to wait and see. He has a strike-enforced layover to do some serious re-thinking. I WANT Heroes to be good. I was a big fan of most of the first season. But not the storyline that finished up on Monday.
I'm not as hard on the season as a lot of people were. I liked Hiro's adventures in feudal Japan, and I don't think the good guys or families are all flawed to the point of dysfunction. Sylar probably should have died for good at the end of the first season, but if they find something interesting and original (not just more brain-eating) to do with him in the third volume, I'm okay with his survival. If nothing else, maybe Sylar's survival means that we'll get a truly epic Sylar-Peter throwdown later, which will hopefully end with the absolute death of Sylar).As Mr. Ostrander noted, the South American Wonder Twins and the general lack of urgency were big problems with the second volume of the story. The lack of urgency was caused by poor pacing. That was fixed by the end, and hopefully it won't repeat.The South American Wonder Twins were a bigger problem. Part of their story could have been fixed by changing the pacing: Instead of having them start in Honduras, have them start in Mexico. First episode introduces us to their powers. Second episode, they meet Sylar and get across the border into the U.S.Their other problem is harder to fix, though. They didn't do anything important for the entirety of volume 2. If Sylar had stolen a car and driven to New York, the end result would have been exactly the same as the entire adventure of Maya and Alejandro. It's possible that the writer's strike meant that the end of the season had to be reworked and Maya's part got reduced to virtually nothing, but it still ended up as the most pointless plot on the show.
I have felt Heroes has been poorly handled from the start. In the very first episode, all of the main characters saw the eclipse. This would have been OK, if they were all in New York when the eclipse happened which is confirmed by a photo, on the front page of newspaper that Charles Deveaux is reading. Since they were not, then they all could have not seen the eclipse, I knew from that moment there was no way a consistent story line was going to be developed. I've told many people (who raved about the show) this, and they have all came away from this show seeing it for what it is…poorly thought out. Too bad, because having this oddity happen is a great chance to have alternate time line/universe stories… but alas no.
Heroes season 2 was not great but still watchable. Can't believe they are bringing people back from the dead..that has ruined it for me. Bit like Superman spinning the world backwards to reverse time….
I liked pretty much all of the first series, especially the cliffhangers, but I did feel let down by the second. Most of the new characters did suck – the only ones that should have been kept were possibly Bob and Adam.Did anyone else get annoyed by all the romance floating around? Hiro and that Japanese woman whose name I've forgotton, Claire and West, Peter and Caitlin, Sylar leading Maya on… I don't think anyone cared. I'm not saying that a sci-fi show can't/shouldn't have romance in it, but a mainstream show like Heroes should try to keep it believeable and preferably between characters that the audience already know and like.Maybe it'll be like Star Trek:TNG. The first two seasons sucked, but it had picked up by the third.