Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heroes Has Jumped The Shark

Reasons why I am no longer going to watch Heroes starting with season four.

  1. Greg Beeman was let go, and in my opinion he was one of the most passionate and talented creative minds behind the series. With him gone, I really don't care about the story from this point forward. I might reconsider if the network realizes their error and hire him back, but this is just one of a number of reasons why I'm leaving the series now.
  2. I loved season one, but after Sylar survived the first season finale, despite the fact he stood alone against the entire rest of the cast at the time, which I found to be absurd and terribly written, the series has gone down hill from there.
  3. Season two had some good moments, and I love many of the characters, but the writers often have characters doing things inappropriate to their characters for purpose of storytelling, which is pisspoor storytelling.
  4. Season three had a great opening, where the vast majority of powered characters were captured and in a plane which then crashed. It started great, but bad writing coupled with obvious financial restrictions turned what started as a powerful and suspenseful opening into a very anticlimactic and laughable season three. By the time we get to the season's end, it's obvious that behind the scenes there's been some sort of power struggle for creative control, with constant changes of opinion regarding the direction of the series.
  5. In season two, DL was written out of the series in a terrible way, and the series has suffered for the lack of Leonard Roberts' unique on screen quality and formidable talents.
  6. In more recent seasons the series has suffered from an inability to properly decide to make tough decisions and keep the cast small by killing off or writing out of the storyline roles that aren't supporting the story or being interesting to the audience. Admittedly, every time a character is killed off, the series is risking to alienate a chunk of its audience. However, the series is top-heavy with featured characters.
  7. This series has always essentially been between three to five different television shows merged together so as to keep an appearance of action when really we're just juggling multiple storylines. First, there's the story of the Petrellis. Second, there's the story of the Bennets. Third, there's Hiro and Ando. Fourth, Matt Parkman. Fifth, Mohinder's story. The sixth major storyline was Niki, DL, and Micah, but this story suffered the most in this juggling game and has all but disappeared in later seasons. Each of these plots alone could have been sufficient for a tv series of its own. The majority of episodes have essentially been telling snippets of each storyline through an intercutting song and dance. Some episodes would reveal a focus of one or more storylines as they merged, but most episodes feel more like a badly produced and frenetic soap opera. I'm reminded of the days of Love Boat & Fantasy Island which were formulaic in generating three plotlines that would be told interchangeably with the impression that if an audience didn't find anything of interest in one story, in a few minutes another story would be told that'd make up for it. Heroes did not need such a crutch. It just needed better writing and more focus. NBC's audience would have been better served if these half dozen or so storylines had each been given their own separate television series within which to truly grow and stretch its legs and fluorish. However, that would have probably been more expensive, and each story would have had to stand on its own legs, rather than letting other stories take up the slack when one story failed to properly interest an audience.
  8. Though the publicity has dressed Ali Larter up as a talented actress who could play multiple roles, which has become a necessity due to what the writers have done with her various characters, the actual logic behind why they need to do this has been lost, and Ali Larter has not proven to be believable in multiple roles. In season one I was buying the difference between Niki and Jessica. However, Tracy never seemed to have a convincing identity of her own. Ali Larter is pretty, but I'm not convinced she's an actress capable of meeting the challenge demanded by the psychotic writing.
  9. I really don't give a shit about Sylar. Oftentimes the writers treat him as if he's the most important character in the entire series, but he's not why I tune in and I do not want to see his redemption. I want to see him fry, and I want the writers to come up with some real villains that are far more interesting. I don't want to know about Sylar's past. I don't want to know about Sylar's future. Yes, Zachary Quinto is a talented man. The character the writers have devised him to play is more dastardly than JR Ewing of Dallas and less appealing than Major Nelson of I Dream Of Jeannie.
  10. I have never bought Claire forgiving Noah. Hayden Pantierre is admittedly talented beyond her youth, but the dialogue the writers have shoved down her throat at times has been pathetic and laughable. Noah lied to his entire family repeatedly. Yes he had to, but I wanted to see more of Claire struggling with this, when she struggled a little bit and then got over it as if Noah just grounded her for a week or something. He betrayed her family.
  11. The writers made a point to dramatically change Peter's powers for storytelling purposes, yet didn't hold true to the rules they stipulated for themselves. Peter's power has always been empathy - his ability to borrow powers from others was not originally based on touch. It was based on his affinity with other people. Taking that from him suddenly made him not Peter. What happened at Pinehurst changed all that, but when he got his power back, it was by physical contact, and not empathy. How is that Peter Petrelli?
  12. The writers made a point to place limits on Hiro Nakamura's powers for purposes of storytelling. Admittedly, they simply started him off as way too powerful. However, his response to it did not seem in keeping with the character's previous behavior. Also back in season two the whole thing about going back in time to ancient Japan suffered from budget constraints and did not live up to the hype.
  13. Mohinder injecting himself to get a power and then going all buggy and loony mad scientist crazy and then with the incident at Pinehurst he was able to retain the strength without the buggy side effects... somewhere in all that the writers completely lost sight of who Mohinder was, and that character ceased being remotely interesting. He turned into a plot device.
  14. They kill off Brea Grant's character and then bring back Ali Larter? Yuck. I liked Brea Grant. I've lost interest in Ali Larter. Both women are beautiful, but Grant is simply more entertaining and talented as an actress than Larter.
  15. The series has spent far too much time separating these characters and moving them around so that they almost meet or meet briefly. There should come a point where they band together more. The plot strings stretch too thin turning the series into a very boring soap opera. If I wanted a soap opera I'd watch daytime television.
  16. Due to financial constraints, oftentimes the writers are forced to show that special abilities and combat happen off camera. So focus is placed on character interaction which is nice, but if you can't actually show characters with super powers using their powers, then why the hell are you telling a story about characters with super powers? It's like telling a story about firefighters but never actually using fire because you can't afford to show fire special effects. If that's the case, make the series about librarians or something that doesn't involve fire.
  17. My favorite characters on the show are Matt Parkman and Hiro Nakamura. While both characters do get face time, what the writers are doing with them is a disappointment and a waste of character potential as well as talent resources.
  18. The introduction of Denko proved ultimately very anti-climactic. It would have been much more powerful had Denko not been introduced. Instead, Nathan & Noah were doing everything Denko had been doing. The conflicts would have been much more dynamic, but the writers weren't willing to let Nathan & Noah go that dark.
  19. The season three finale means Nathan's dead, and Sylar is taking his place. Tracy's apparently back from the dead and is the new Big Bad. Big deal. Sylar now being Nathan? That's jumping the proverbial shark. I presume that eventually we'll learn Nathan's real body was preserved and later regenerated. Like comics, no characters really die on this show unless the writers just don't want to write about them anymore.
  20. What the hell happened to Caitlin? She's just lost in an alternate future that no longer exists. WTF?
  21. If you're gonna hire Michael Dorn, and have him play the president of the United States, effin use the guy! He was little more than a glorified extra! Dorn's a rare and precious talent with a great screen presence and booming voice. You don't just have him stand there and smile for five seconds and that's it. Give him a scene where he says and does cool shit.
  22. If you're going to introduce characters on the Internet and then promise to later have them incorporated into the tv series, do it so that it actually has meaning. If you can't do it in a way that's valid, don't pretend to do it and insult your audience's intelligence.
I may add to this as I come up with more examples, but I have to wrap it up somewhere. I've weighed the pros and cons as I tend to do with every series I like to watch, especially around the time of the season finales, and Heroes no longer passes the litmus test. It actually jumped the shark a long time ago, but Sylar being forced into believing he's Nathan because Angela Petrelli can't bare to part with him is patently absurd, and that Noah and Matt would go along with it? That's the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back.

I can't believe the writers to expect us to swallow this malarkey. The series has spent the majority of its time after season one trying to find itself. We're going into volume five now. If it can't find its identity, it's not gonna. I'm done waiting for Heroes to get good again. I'm convinced it won't. I'm sure it'll get better and wow people and blow everyone's socks off the second I stop watching. That's fine. Whatever. I'm getting off at this stop. I for one am just tired of devoting another second of thought to something so disappointing.

Up until now, even when the show didn't go where I would have liked it to go, I would be pleasantly surprised and have had my share of fun with it. However, I'm now at a point where I am wondering why I am still watching this. It's turned from an amusing roller coaster into a sad and unfortunate train wreck, and this past season I've just been hanging on because I'd like to see how it ends. Like a person who started watching The Fugitive back in 1963. Even if one didn't like the occasional episode, one would still want to eventually see Dr Richard Kimble come face to face with the one armed man that killed his wife. Here with Heroes, I no longer believe the writers have the slightest idea where they're going with the series. There's no end game. There's no light at the end of the tunnel. There's just very disjointed writing with inconsistent characters that have short memories and no attention spans. The show seemed to have a soul on the outset, but now it's just a shadow of its formal self. With several shows this year being canceled that I believe are very good, it seriously saddens me that something this terrible is yet again being renewed for another season.

It's been an interesting ride, but I no longer want to go where Heroes is going, nor do I care to look at the destination. I will miss the acting talent, for the most part. I could say wonderful things about almost all of the actors on the show. It's the insipidly insulting and creatively retarded actions and dialogue they are being made to do that I can no longer stomach. I largely blame the writers, but more importantly I blame the money, because most of these writing choices probably are coerced by the lack of proper funds to tell a more realistic and intelligent tale about the What If Fantasy behind specially powered individuals. If you can't tell this story the way it should be told, why bother?

I used to wonder why television doesn't make an episodic tv series based on the comic books of my youth. I guess this is why. It can't properly be done. At least, not yet.

2 comments:

darlaslilgirl said...

Came direct from your twitter link.

Havent watched heroes since the s1 finale ep aired but posts like this make me think i havent missed anything worth watching although there are somethings i can agree with you on, after all that original hype i guess i should have known that that is what it al was hype.

ok i dont really wanna ramble on too much so in summary great post.

helenad1

ZachsMind said...

Helenad1,

Yay! Thanks for the comment. =) I haven't got a lot of these yet cuz I just returned to Blogger after a long absence. So I'm all excited. I'll try to control myself. *smirk*

In hindsight, I should have quit at the season one finale, just like you did. When Niki struck Sylar with a lamp post and then Peter was all like, "go back and take care of your family I got this," And then he SO didn't have it. I could tell the real reason why all that happened was Zach Quinto's agent got him a multi-year contract. It had nothing to do with the needs of the story. The entire rest of the cast versus Sylar, and Sylar crawls away relatively unscathed. I shoulda stopped right then. We live and learn. =)