Heroes Just Keeps Getting Better

March 7th, 2007 | Posted in General

After a few hours of some revisions on that MAD Kids job yesterday and the usual catch up stuff, I was finally able to reward myself by watching Monday’s episode of “Heroes” in glorious HD.

That show is ridiculously good, and it just keeps getting better. I keep thinking that if someone told me there would be a comic book hero style ensemble prime time TV show on a major network that would be this good and this popular, I’d have said they were crazy. Yet here it is, a testament to great writing and casting making the unbelievable believable.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

The story keeps advancing and the multi-threads keep interweaving as the fabric of the plot gets tighter. It also keeps avoiding predictability and keeps surprising us. Last weeks shooting of Simone came out of nowhere, and I was expecting her to rise from the dead somehow and be revealed as a super (I know that’s from “The Incredibles”, but calling them “heroes” doesn’t seem to fit), which would have been the predictable thing to have happen. When I saw her standing there showing her bullet holes and saying “would you like to shoot me again?” during one of the cool teaser flashes they have during the episode I thought “here we go…”. Shame on me for having so little faith in the writers. Not only did they not take the cheap route, they played us for suckers knowing we’d all think they would. The creators of this show understand what is formula and what is not, and they walk the razors edge without falling off. Now watch them surprise us again by bringing her back in an unexpected way… although I hope they do not. They also do not overuse the freak factor of the powers, showing only glimpses and momentary uses of the more gaudy abilities. But when they show them off, it’s a mind bender. Watching Claire’s re-growth from her radiation soaked fire-bath, complete with muscle, sinew and skin crawling over her blackened skull was extremely high on the cool scale.

The best part of the show right now is the sudden relevance of what had been dangling character threads. The Jessica/Nikki and the Parkman threads always seemed the odd ducks to me. They felt like they were being shoehorned into the more central plot of the impending NYC disaster, like the writers didn’t quite know how to get them involved in a way that was more meaningful. Parkman being on the Syler case made sense but he wasn’t much of a player… he couldn’t even find the secret “Company” lair in the paper mill. Jessica/Nikki was even more of an outside thread. Now Parkman, after his disastrous confrontation of Bennet with Nuclear Ted, is with “The Company” and his involvement with them is sure to be interesting. Nikki’s becoming an assassin for Linderman didn’t make sense at first but since Linderman obviously knows all about the supers it follows he knows about her and intends to use her powers to his own ends. Even the previously boring Suresh plotline got interesting with Slyer’s covert joining. I was concerned Mohinder’s character, already spinning it’s wheels, would lose even more interest as this supposedly brilliant scientist would be duped by Slyer for a long time before figuring out who he was. Once again I did not give the writer’s enough credit… they don’t allow things to drag out for very long but prefer to keep the ride exciting by throwing hairpin turns in the road. If this was “LOST” we’d have been lucky to see that issue resolved by the end of the season rather than in two episodes. Mohinder shows some backbone and actually shoots Slyer.

So, is Linderman Nathan and Peter’s real father, and a super? That is the prevailing theory. I say no as that would be too predictable, but since not being predictable might be too predictable… who knows? The main point is this show makes us want to keep watching to find out. Unlike “LOST” (which I am sorry to keep comparing it to), “Heroes” rewards it’s viewers for watching with smart writing and dramatically advancing plots, instead of expecting them to be patient and swallow the drips and drops of stingy story development.

I let out a big “D’OH!” at the cliffhanger ending and then finding out there will be an unfortunately long break before a new episode airs April 23rd. That’s a long time to wait to see how far Syler saws off Peter’s skull before he is interrupted somehow. Somehow I am not as upset by this break as I was by the one “LOST” had… maybe because I know when the show resumes I’ll be rewarded for my wait, instead of just continuing the frustration.

I know where I’ll be on April 23rd at 8:00.

Comments

  1. mengblom says:

    You’re absolutely right…this show just keeps getting better and better.

    The highlights for me have been how interesting Clair’s story has been, with all of the twists and plot advances coming in such short order. Mr. Bennett (still no first name yet) has really grown from the standard Government Spook from central casting into a complex, conflicted character who clearly wants to save the daughter he loves from The Company.

    Another highlight has been the wonderful (and surprisingly organic) convergence of plotlines you spoke about. Nothing has felt “forced” or contrived as these characters find themselves interacting with others like them. Even the verging-on-too-cute Hiro storyline seems to finally be in gear and moving somewhere (nice to see Ando again, too).

    However, the most interesting thing about the episode was the revelation of Linderman. Completely surprised me. Not just the fact that he was played by the excellent Malcolm McDowell (of Clockwork Orange and Star Trek: Generations fame), but also because he really confounded what I was expecting from a “Big Boss” figure. Instead of the standard cigar-smoking “mafioso” type, here’s this refined gentleman working in the hotel kitchen (his office?)…which made his machinations and threats all the more spooky. A brilliant move on the part of the writers…hats off to them for tearing away from obvious cliches and giving us something truly fresh and interesting.

    Yeah…it’s going to be tough to wait until April 23rd. I guess “24” is going to have to carry the Monday night load all by itself.

  2. Tom says:

    Yes, Linderman was surprising. I was expecting a streotypical mobster until two episdoes or so ago when it became apparent Linderman was connected to the supers. Instead we got “The Architect” from “The Matrix”, or in that vein.

    I also am very interested in the turn of the Mr. Bennet character. He seemed to me to be too ‘good guy”ish to be the evil antagonist from the beginning, and I’m glad to see I was right in that he’s a very complex individual.

  3. JWB1 says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I was realy scammed by that teaser of Simone. The revelation of Momma Petrocelli as a big player with the Haitan was a big surprise. A lot of folks are complaining about the six week break, but I don’t mind as long as they can keep the quality so high. Tom, I know you’re not a big fan of TV DVD sets, but this first season set willl be very high up on my Christmas list. I just hope that they’ll include a booklet showcasing Tim Sale’s artwork.

  4. Tom says:

    Where did you get the idea I didn’t like TV DVD sets? I’ve got every season of the X-File, The Sopranos, LOST and Deadwood on DVD, plus (because of MAD jobs) at least a season of Family Guy, The Bernie Mac Show, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Grey’s Anatomy.

    Very much agreed on your thoughts on Heroes. I also am not that upset by the long hiatus, knowing I’ll be rewarded for my wait.

  5. JWB1 says:

    Guess I had misinterpreted an earlier blog. I knew you had the X Files sets, but didn’t know the other sets you have. A set I’m sure you’d like to have is the 60’s Batman show. The next few nights on Shokus Internet Radio Paul Brownstein(the producer of the excellent Dick Van Dyke Show sets) offers some interesting insights on this.
    On an unrelated note, I went to an advance screening of 300 last night. I highly recommend it.

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