October 26, 2009

The Mondays: There Goes My "Heroes"

Is the ability to jump sharks a super power? If so, NBC's "Heroes" may be able to chalk up a new one.

When the show premiered, I was enthralled. I half-expected to see a gussied up version of "Mutant X" after hearing about plans to produce a show about regular people with extraordinary abilities. My cynicism spoke up first to decry it as a ploy to capitalize on Marvel Comics' rise to cinematic fame. But after watching the first couple of episodes, I was hooked along with a lot of other people. The approach felt like a breath of fresh air compared to so much of what network TV offers.

In 2009, however, the show is beginning to feel like something that's been hijacked from it's original destination. Perhaps it's simply how television shows work with their ceaseless storylines, going from season to season in an attempt to ring as much viewership from the show before casting it aside for a cheap reality show. "Heroes" doesn't feel like the same kind of show I enjoyed so much during that first season. Heck, the show seemed to take a notable decline in direction and quality as early as the middle of the second season.

I suppose things could be worse. While I may gripe about the show's current bout of mediocrity, I still have managed to see every episode this season. It's one of a select few shows that I watch with regularity, and I'd still try and make time to see it over the vast majority of shows presented by the major networks--you'd have to pay me handsomely to waste my time with the likes of "Grey's Anatomy" or "Prison Break" (do they even air that anymore) or any show that has a title such as, "Law Enforcement Drama: Insert Random City Name Here."

After a half dozen or so episodes, "Heroes" looks like it may finally be picking up steam this season. But I only say that because last week's episode was the first one I found genuinely interesting. The Carnival has started to show it's true colors, though we're still in the dark (I am at least) as to what their motives are for seeking out Sylar and the others. And the writers wisely focused on the two most interesting and relevant storylines of all the characters: Sylar's resurgence; Hiro's mission of atonement.

Everything else on the show feels like fluff, and up until right now the multiple story arcs have felt muddled and incoherent. Surprisingly, I could get by never seeing Ali Larter's or Hayden Pennetierre's characters again this season. As a matter of fact, does the Claire character have anything to do with this season's major storyline at all? Or is she there simply to appeal to younger viewers? Her hijinx on campus feels like a tacked-on excuse to keep a young, pretty blond girl on the show. If the character has something to do this season, I sincerely hope the "Hell Week" episode gets to the geezly point, finally.

"Heroes" has lost it's ability to hold my attention unwaveringly, though. I'm ready to abandon it altogether and afford myself an extra hour in life to read and write. Frankly, I should probably do that anyway. But, I'm going to give the show one more week. If I'm not wowed by the show, if I'm just as confused and disinterested in the supporting characters, if the show doesn't find a way to recapture the magic of the first season, then mark me down as one more lost viewer in the show's declining ratings.

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