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Series Premiere of NBC’s “Heroes”

[SCENE: Meeting of NBC Television Executives and a Producer]
Producer: I’ve got a brilliant idea.
Executive 1: Shoot.
Producer: How about we do an X-Men series, except not pay the rights?
Executive 2: I’m intrigued!
Executive 1: Tell us more!
Executive 3: Make sure it’s boring!

And thus “Heroes” was born. It’s a pretty interesting premise if you’re a.) not familiar with superhero comics or b.) are one of those geeks who will flock to anything that has a sci-fi and/or geekish premise. That being said, why not give it a shot. Hell, it’s better than yet another “COP/SCIENTIST/DOCTOR LIVING AND WORKING ON THE EDGE” television drama.

The premise is simple enough – several people throughout the world slowly coming to the realization that they have super-powers. One has an invisible and dangerous alter ego, one can fly, one can predict the future through paintings, one is indestructible, and one can bend space and time itself. Sounds like a really interesting show, right?

Well, not really. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t as if the events of the one-hour pilot were completely uneventful. On the contrary, the writers seemed to go out of their way to establish major plotpoints from the get-go and make things happen. It’s just a shame that none of what happened was in the least bit interesting.

I sat down for quite a while and tried to pinpoint exactly what the problems were, and I’ve concluded that the fault lies in the show’s writing in general. I mean, rather than have “the average person” (as television norms dictate) suddenly acquire superpowers, they made an effort to make most of the “heroes” unique and different even without their supernatural abilities – a single mom who earns her keep by stripping on the internet, a Japanese desk-jockey yearning to break free from a dull and homogenous lifestyle, a junkie painter, an Indian geneticist presumably shamed and now driving a cab in Manhattan, etcetera. The problem, though, is that they were put in predictable situations and the execution was lazy at best and absolutely hackish at worst. For example, the single mom living in the seedy world of cyber-porn – SURPRISE – owes money to an organized crime outfit. Also, the Japanese character indicts Japanese society for being homogenous and not emphasizing individualism…which we know because HE SAYS THIS OUTRIGHT rather than, you know, establishing it through such radical things as traditional storytelling or character development. It takes a bit of effort to make a superhero show involving characters that are fleshed out ahead of time so incredibly dull and trite. Well, congrats to NBC, because they seem to have done it.

I should also note that the cinematography and overall presentation for the show was laughably pedestrian. Oh, and would it have killed them to do something resembling a special effect when Hiro (get it – he’s a Japanese guy named Hiro who’s going to be a HERO!) teleported? Jesus, did they put ANY money or effort into this show?

Thoughts?

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  1. September 27, 2006 at 3:28 am

    Yeah. It really was an X-men knock off and I wasn’t particularly wow’d by anything they showed me. But I got nothing better to do on a Monday night.

    Best thing going for it is the Cheerleader. She makes me giggle.

    • September 27, 2006 at 3:34 am

      Her sticking her hand in the garbage disposal was the lone “oh, that’s kinda cool” scene in that show. Other than that, she was total NyQuil. Not as much as the blonde vanilla barely-passable actress playing the single mom camwhore, though.

      • Anonymous
        September 28, 2006 at 6:23 am

        the unbreakable x-men

        is what the working title of this show had to be. but what i have said since the before i saw the show, is that it is only going to be as strong as the villians. and unfortunatly it looks like they are going with the “evil scientist who wants to figure out how to give himself powers” instead of the better type of magneto or dr. doom villian. because people with superpowers are going to be able to beat the hell out of a regular dude. i am also really just counting down until the dramatic scene when one of the brothers dies, which i guarantee will be one of the 2 possible cliche hero moments. 1. non-powered brother dies protecting powered brother, which awakes the reluctant hero’s resolve. 2. powered brother dies attempting to save non-powered brother, in which non-powered brother realizes his true potential and is more powerful than any of the heroes.

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