Heroes – first half of season One


Heroes – The First Half of Series One
All week on the Sci-Fi Channel, UK

SPOILERS IN EXTREMIS
Please do not read if you intend to see Heroes when it comes to BBC2 – which is sometime this year, maybe once the Sci-Fi Channel run is over.

Just as I was losing faith that anything could come near replacing Buffy or Angel, we suddenly have a very strong frontrunner in NBC’s wonderful Heroes. It came to the Sci Fi Channel in the UK on 18th February, and has slowly worked its magic on my affections.

The most recent episode aired in the UK was ‘Godsend’, episode 12.
The UK Sci-Fi Channel are thoughtfully broadcasting a catch-up week from Monday 30 April, and this seems like a great time to go over what makes Heroes so damn good, before they air episodes 13-22 – and the nail-biting finale.

(Pictures with enormous thanks to http://www.heroesmedia.com/ unless otherwise credited)

The Best:

1. Hiro

“Yatta!”

Almost a titular character, his open enthusiasm and innocence about his powers makes his later appearance as ‘Future Hiro’ even more shocking, and extremely intriguing. He can bend time and space, even if at first he’s a little wobbly. He speaks adorable Japanese/English and tries his hardest to do the right thing. When he stops time he does this wonderful frowny-head-wobble. He also has a great, cynical mate called Ando, who keeps Hiro’s sweetness from becoming saccharine.

2. Vote Petrelli!

Brotherly Love

The brother who’s a hospice nurse and the brother who’s running for Congress. Peter and Nathan Petrelli are polar opposites, but have a very convincing brotherly bond, and they’re increasingly driving the ‘what happens next’ part of the show. Much Petrelli love here.

3. Claire’s squinty acting

The indestructible cheerleader, who’d figured out there’s a lot more to life, even before she found out her true powers. She’s pretty and smart, and saving her might save the world. She can also take a tree-branch in the head and come back to life once it’s removed, without a scratch on her. Hayden Panetierre is a seriously great actress, and she stood out even on the awesome Malcolm in the Middle (so worth watching for her mad hair). Calling it a ‘squint’ is probably highly unfair. The girl can definitely act!

4. The cool title introductions
Putting the title name on the floor of the school playground, for example.

5. Jessica

Jessica….you can tell because she looks like she wants to tear off your arms

Bad-ass alter-ego of the drippy Nikki. Ok, not someone you’d want to piss off, but she keeps it interesting and adds the required quota of extreme violence!

6. Isaac
Former junkie, learned to tell the future through his artwork and comics without getting high. Has increased his number of shirtless scenes, so, thank you NBC! He also has a name that Hiro pronounces as ‘Mystery Sock’ (from Television Without Pity recaps) which is so cute. Oh, and his eyes do this cool white-out thing when he’s doodling prophecies. Yes, a lot like X-Men’s Storm but without the drawn-out contract bitching. And he has a point to his character.

7. Claire’s Dad

Mr Bennett, AKA the horn-rimmed-glasses guy, is able to keep everyone guessing. He clearly loves his adopted daughter and will do anything to protect her, but he also answers to the shady Linderman, and doesn’t think twice about wiping the memories of Claire and her friends. But he did coin the term ‘Claire-Bear’, and captured the evil hero-killer, Sylar. So we like him a lot!

8. The Heroes Meet

The show was great when it started introducing the strange abilities and characters, and the care taken at the start makes our excitement in seeing their lives overlap all the stronger. By now we’re getting the hang of what makes these people tick, so watching them interact and figure out the intricate plot is pure pleasure.

9. Powers

Come on, it’s nice to see a show where people with powers are, in varying degrees, the good guys. They’re human, and they have flaws and shades of grey, but they’re also very likeable. Any freaking-out over their new abilities is allowable. This doesn’t make them freaks of the week, (I’m looking at you, Smallville) who go insane for no reason and need putting down (I’m still looking at you, Smallville) and instead treats the whole ‘superhero’ idea with some intelligence, and a true sense of adventure. And they’re not afraid to let them fly, either – although, ok, giving the tights a miss is a very good idea…

10. Awesome Comic Art

This ties in with Isaac, but they deserve their own section because of their graphic brilliance. They illustrate the story and offer really tantalising clues to what might happen next

The Worst:

1. Mohinder’s tedious voiceovers

They’re meant to be prophetic, but they’re getting boring and get ignored, and in my opinion the style’s a bit too similar to the one in Desperate Housewives. They cut back on this a bit in the last couple of episodes. Hopefully this trend will continue.

2. Skipping the plotHow did they restrain Sylar? He pulled pixie-Eden-girl through the enforced glass, and seemed to be back at full strength. What happened next?! It’s covered at bit in the comic on the NBC website, but it’s still silly that there’s no scene to clear that up. There are a few things like these and while it’s good to have more things to look at about the show, it’s hard to avoid spoilers that way (see point 4).

3. Matt’s Wife
Too much like Katie Holmes, and hopefully not due to stay. Psychic Matt’s wife has the same hangdog expression and guilt-trip persona. Her uncanny similarity is far too distracting to make her a good character, unless something drastic happens. But at least she isn’t Lana Lang.

4. Spoilers

It’s almost impossible to look up anything on this show without getting a face-full of next week’s plot. Yes, this article is included. The UK is about eight episodes behind at the moment, and the show hasn’t even finished! While it’s nice to be watching something at almost the same time as the US, it’s incredibly frustrating to get snippets of information you didn’t mean to read. I know, I know, I really should stop looking up pictures of Peter Petrelli…

5. Too many characters

( http://www.seenon.com/img/auction_nbc_heroes_main.jpg )

I know shows like Lost have made the multiple-character-show popular, and so far Heroes has avoided the many-many-many characters trap. At the moment we have just enough people, and the plot keeps rolling on, so I really hope that they shed extraneous cast members as they go – only not my favourites. And not too fast. And I hope they eventually change it all magnificently. Could the level of my expectation kill this show? Gulp.

In conclusion, Heroes has far more reasons to rock than suck – in this very scientific summary of its strengths and weaknesses. And in the meantime, please. NO ONE TELL ME THE END! Thank you *Scary Manga smile*!

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