Heroes Discussion: “Brave New World”

This week, various characters rallied against Dirtbagneto Samuel, Sylar became a Good Guy, Hiro rediscovered his old love, Peter went all SuperMario after Emma, and geeky shippers waiting for a pay-off to the Claire/Gretchen romance were disappointed.

Heroes‘ ended what will likely could be its final episode with “To be continued.” We have the opportunity here at the Bureau to discuss the episode– and to suggest how the series might have lived up to its initial promise.

1. New directions: Heroes second season plays like an inferior imitation of the first, and the writers loved Sylar too much to keep him dead. The show’s first season thrived on re-envisioning comic-book tropes and conventions in a somewhat more realistic setting. Perhaps the world should have discovered the existence of the “Specials.” It would have been even more derivative of X-Men than it was, but it also would have been more interesting than what we saw.

How would the world have coped, knowing that metahumans existed?

2. Speaking of repeats: let the dead stay dead! Sylar was a great character– the first time around. He should have stayed dead.

3. Character, character, character. We were expected to follow too many of them for series television. Not even the writers, apparently, could keep track. People vanished, their story arcs incomplete. Hiro, in particular, suffered from Reset Button syndrome. If character growth doesn’t stick and the dead don’t stay buried, why should we care about anything that happens?

4. Time travel: The show probably had one good time travel plot. After that, all means of controlled space-time travel should have been eliminated. Hiro’s abilities made anything possible. If anything is possible, nothing is dramatically interesting.

5. Super super powers: too many characters were overpowered, and this removed them from plausible conflicts. The writers coped by having the powerful act like idiots, so that the plots could go on. A plot driven by idiots is, well, idiotic.

6. Crossover with Big Bang Theory: Okay, this is in fact a terrible idea in fact, but it’s theoretically funny .

Don’t even suggest guest-appearances on Smallville.

Your assessments, suggestions, and script ideas?

8 replies on “Heroes Discussion: “Brave New World””

  1. Where do you get the “last episode” part? See http://twitter.com/greggrunberg/statuses/8861696967
    I like the idea of it being more like X-Men. Lots of characters that show up, help out, and leave, with a few main characters that stick around.
    With so many good shows being canceled before they can hit their stride, why don’t people here want to give Heroes a chance to get good? IIRC TNG had pretty piss poor writing for the first few seasons, then finally started getting good. There’s a lot of promise here for a live-action X-Men type series. That I’d love to see. I just keep hoping the writing catches up to the characters and acting, like it finally did in TNG.

    • As of earlier today, NBC had not renewed Heroes. This is not to say that it won’t, but its recent ratings have been less-than-stellar. Perhaps I should say, “what could be the last episode.”

      • Interesting, but I’d be more worried about NBC dropping Heroes if it had better writing, like Black Donnellys, or Kings. They seem to only go after shows that have a lot of potential during the first season.

      • Heroes started the season with some of it’s lowest ratings ever In fact, the Sept. 28 episode was (at the time) the lowest ratings the show ever had for new episodes – the season finale was 20% lower, coming in 4th in it’s time slot.

        That said, when it comes to a renewal, it isn’t competing against shows in it’s time slot, it’s competing against other shows on NBC. Right now, most of them are doing pretty poorly so Heroes might stand a chance.

  2. Yeah, NBC has 5 hours of prime time to fill now that Leno failed at 9 central. Hard to imagine they would kill Heroes in light of that.

    On topic though, I think the main problem with Heroes during the dreaded Seasons 2 and 3 was that it tried to be all things to all people, instead of just telling good stories. Sylar was too popular a character to kill off, they had to bring him back, and villains coming back from the dead is classic comic book and in keeping with the theme.

    The problem with Sylar came when they tried to make him “complex”, ironically. Season 3 in particular, it seemed like Sylar was switching sides every other episodes. I’m evil, no I’m misunderstood, wait I’ll kill Elle, etc.

    There were solid parts of those seasons: The beginnings of The Company in Season 2 was strong. Season 3’s “Villains” could have been great had they fleshed it out more. The “Fugitives” volume, likewise, was pretty good X-Men/Genosha/Trask/Senator Kelly stuff, but was not given a chance to be seen through. But the writers tried to juggle too many storylines at once, instead of having one driving theme, which confused things.

    I’ve liked this season, I think it’s been very interesting. Everything revolving around Samuel and his quest to gather Specials/etc has focused the show, in much the same way that “Save the Cheerleader” did. Hopefully this will continue.

    • Yeah, NBC has 5 hours of prime time to fill now that Leno failed at 9 central. Hard to imagine they would kill Heroes in light of that.

      Except that NBC cancels at least 5 prime time shows every year, so they probably have plenty of backups.

      • Yeah, but what they’ve shown of mid season replacements that are going into the 9 timeslot has been, as far as I’m concerned, very underwhelming. I haven’t the faintest interest in anything they’ve been pushing as a Leno replacement.

        Thank God they brought back Chuck. That and Heroes are the only NBC shows I pay any attention whatsoever to.

  3. While every other show takes a break during the Olympics, the potential for Heroes and many other genre shows to disappear looms, as evidenced by this list of shows potentially facing cancellation.

    Of course, I don’t think most of the genre offerings in that list are particularly good genre shows, in their current incarnations.

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