TV Talk: Heroes
Starring: Santiago Cabrera, Tawny Cypress, Noah Gray-Cabey, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Leonard Roberts, Milo Ventimiglia
Series Creator: Tim Kring
I've mostly used these TV Talk segments to get a gripe off my chest, be it extreme annoyance or a mild issue (that has since been resolved, yay!). I worry that all the complaining makes me seem like all I do is see the negative in shows I watch, which isn't the case. So, instead of picking another show to rant about, I chose one to rave about.
Heroes is easily my favourite new show of the fall season. Now, I will say that there really isn't a lot of competition, as this is one of the weakest batch of new fall shows in years, but even if there was stiffer competition, Heroes would probably still be number one. Moreover, of all the shows I watch on a weekly basis, I think Heroes is the one I look forward to watching the most.
Some of that has to do with its freshness. I look forward to it the more than shows that I like more like Veronica Mars or The Office because it's new and we're still be introduced to its characters and scenarios. But more than that, its storytelling draws the viewer in, leaving you with genuine excitement and anticipation over what's going to happen next. In this sense, it has replaced Lost and Prison Break as the event programming of the week for me.
I realised this when my TV was tragically broken by my movers (since fixed), which interrupted my TV watching. In this time, it was Heroes that I was most disappointed about missing. I needed to find out how they were going to save the cheerleader (and, you know, the world). I needed to know who Sylar was! What's Mr. Bennett's role in all this? Will we ever figure out Niki's powers?!?
To be fair, we're now nine episodes into the season, four episodes past the terrible week that I had to go without the show (okay, half a week, I just went ahead and downloaded it while awaiting my TV repair), and they've only really answered one of those questions. In another show, it would be very frustrating to have this many unresolved questions. Admittedly, in terms of overall plot, nothing much had happened on the show before Monday's episode "Homecoming". But it doesn't matter, because of its awesomeness.
The biggest enjoyment for me comes from how seriously the show takes its comic book roots. Obviously, the idea of superpowered beings comes from comics, and they embrace the world of comics whole-heartedly. Be it Isaac's (Santiago Cabrera) comic book-like paintings (eventually, Isaac will write and draw for the comic within the show, 9th Wonders), the blocking and camera angles of each shot, or the lettering in title blocks and sub-titles (translated conversations read like text bubbles without the bubbles), the show takes its visual cues from the world that inspired it. It says a lot about our current state of pop culture that a comic book-inspired TV show takes its source so seriously, even reverently, whereas in the past it was treated with camp and smirks.
By no means is Heroes a perfect show, and I can understand if some people don't like it. They've essentially spent the first two months of the season telling an origin story (and are still doing so), which is usually the most dull part of any superhero movie. Credit goes to the writers for keeping it interesting by giving us enough movement within each episode, while delaying the ultimate action to keep us coming back for more.
The acting on the show is perfunctory at best, so don't watch expecting to be blown away by master thespians. Part of it is because of the style of the show, which puts an emphasis on histrionics, thus keeping subtlety and nuance out of their performances (if the cast is indeed capable of such feats). The show is also very focused on the pretty, making sure its cast looks its best, keeping character actor roles to a minimum (like the ever-reliable Greg Grunberg and its breakout star Masi Oka). Oka's Hiro is probably my favourite character, as he approaches his power with a sense of enthusiasm and duty, while the others treat the powers as burdens (if they've figured them out at all. Okay, Milo Ventimiglia's Peter has taken to his powers, but he's too emo to be my favourite. Cut those bangs already!). At the same time, I see how Hiro can get a little grating at times, as the show overdoes his cuteness a bit too much, making him seem kinda stupid at times (plus, they need to decide already how much English he does and doesn't know).
But, like Prison Break the flaws of the show are rendered less significant because the show provides solid entertainment, and moves forward at a brisk enough pace that you can quickly gloss over them to move on to another scene or character. It's stylish, sexy, superhero fun that has the potential to grow and expand throughout the years, unlike other serial dramas of recent years that quickly run out of steam as the ideas begin to hamstrung by the limitations of its story. Highly recommended for those who like adventure shows.
Rants? Raves? Opinions? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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