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.