Since I’m so sure everyone cares what I think about the TV shows I watch (or should I call them Laptop shows since I watch them all on Hulu?).
I almost gave up on Heroes last week. It probably seems like I only write about shows when I feel like quitting them, but there is evidence that refutes that.
Anyway – there’s two main reasons why I felt like (and still do feel like – perhaps moreso now) giving up on Heroes.
1. The Vision of the Future is Not Clear. If this were real life, then, duh, the future wouldn’t be clear, and that’s just the way it is. But this is a TV show where some characters can travel through time and others can paint the future. Season One worked because we had a clear idea of what was going to happen in the future: There was going to be a nuclear (note to Sarah Palin: it’s pronounced noo-klee-ur) bomb in New York City. Easy enough. Very clear.
Move on to Seasons Two and Three: I have no idea. Maybe I’m just dense. But I don’t know what the writers’ and/or producers’ vision of the future is in Heroesland. Clearly there is some Grave Threat in the form of people acquiring super powers, and maybe massacring each other… But so far, all I can remember seeing is Future Peter showing Present Day Peter that people can fly, and the only ones who seem to have a problem with it are Future Peter and Future Claire. Yeah, there’s also the part where Hiro goes into the future (when he is killed by Ando) and everyone is going crazy, but that was just a short little jaunt through time, and the future seems so fluid and malleable in the Heroverse, that it’s hard to know if that future is even still going to happen.
Now, I do get that some of this future we see is supposed to be shrouded in mystery, but I feel like the Grave Threat should be made very clear, even if (and perhaps explicitly because) we don’t know exactly how it started and/or how it got to be the Grave Threat that it is in the future. I think I’m also annoyed and/or confused at how they keep changing the nature of the Grave Threat. I suppose it’s more comic book-like to have a new danger every season, but when everyone keeps changing the future, it makes it hard to worry that a given future is actually going to happen.
This issue is crystallized (and made more upsetting) by the fact that on the same night (for those who actually watch live TV) you can watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TSCC) which has a very clearly defined Grave Threat which doesn’t change. Even though the way in which it becomes the Grave Threat seems to change, we still have the same Grave Threat we’ve had since the opening scene of the first Terminator. Of course, the entire show, and really the entire point of everything Terminator-related, is based around the fact that we don’t know exactly how the future gets to be the future. (In the show, they are even growing turmoil within John Connor regarding the fact that no matter what he does, it seems that the future never changes)
It seems like Heroes is trying a similar tactic with its mystery by making the show center around trying to find out how and why the future ends up like it does, but in TSCC, it’s so much more clear why finding out is actually important.
2. Too many people. Here’s the list of characters from Heroes that I can name off the top of my head:
Hiro & Ando
Trish Strauss (Nikki’s sister)
Elle (who’s dead now… or is she?)
and now Arthur Petrelli
And the not so important, but maybe important, people:
Micah (even though he’s only been in one episode)
Claire’s Biological Mom
Peter’s girlfriend who got stuck in the future and we never hear about again
Trish & Nikkie’s sister (who we haven’t even met yet)
That’s at least 17 important people (taking out the “throw away” people) that you have to know about. LOST had close to that many important characters, but they were much more stratified in their levels of importance. You could not know much about a bunch of the people on LOST and still get by. But if you don’t know something about one of those main people on Heroes, your ability to keep up and be continually entertained will diminish rapidly.
For a quick comparison (again with TSCC):
And to compare to my other two shows, Chuck and Fringe:
BuyMore employees who are mostly there for comic relief
I count four important people and maybe five if you cout Ellie.
Agent Broyles (I guess JJ Abrams liked Lance Reddick in LOST)
Once again four to five important people (sorry Astrid, Agent Sidekick, and CEO Lady who reminds me way too much of Shirley Manson in TSCC).
There’s three shows with manageable cast sizes that leave me with enough Care for everyone involved. Heroes is not only stretching the Care a little thin, but the characters also sometimes make me not want to try to make it work.