Heroes no more

by Maria on November 7, 2007

Just as Heroes Season II is finally hitting its stride, the Hollywood writers strike may cut it short. The producers are shooting an alternative ending that could air in early December, finishing the series half way through. That would be a shame, because this series is pacing itself pretty much like the last one. Both started slowly, with disparate characters wandering around doing lots of exposition but not much plot. Then the first narrative arc took off, feinted left in the middle of the season and revealed the real drama which peaked in the season finale. You really need the full dose for the plot to culminate. And the hotness. Twenty-odd episodes of hotness.

The stories in Season I took a while to get moving, but the buddy pairs of Hiro and Ando, and Nathan and Peter were the beating fraternal hearts of the whole enterprise. Season II started off with these couples broken up, possibly forever. The Gay Dads, Mohinder and Parker should have been played for gags, but their creepy little daughter made that tricky. If Interview with a Vampire taught us anything, it’s that a little girl with a head full of adult teeth are downright sinister.

Meanwhile, Hiro was poncing around under cherry trees in medieval Japan while Ando minded the keiretsu. Peter was blown into a million pieces over New York and Nathan grew an unflattering beard to show how unhappy he was about that. The writers forgot the golden rule of buddydom; the hotness of two guys is far greater than the sum of their individual hotness.

That said, I don’t think a single episode in Season II has gone by without a completely gratuitous shot of a shirtless Peter. For which I am extremely grateful, albeit a bit concerned that Milo Ventimiglia has clearly spent the whole summer lifting weights to the point where he no longer has a discernible neck. He was absent for the first couple of episodes before turning up in the studio backlot known as “Cork”.

Henry’s already pointed out how lame the actors’ Irish accents were, but the lack of research and the bogus plot details were just as jarring. Like the security goons who chase robbers while firing guns at them. Anyone who’s being paying even a little attention to international news in the last 10 years knows that getting the guns out of paramilitaries’ hands has been a bit of a big deal. Do they think we let rent-a-cops run around with pop guns? Even the police in Ireland don’t carry guns, except for a few in the Special Branch. And then there was the rain. Apparently, someone told the props people that it rains a lot in Ireland. It does, just not the tropical torrents they kept pouring down the windows. Anyway, in this week’s episode, Peter mislaid the whiny ‘Irish’ Caitlin in a plague-ridden 2008. I hope she catches it.

My other hopes for this series; Claire ditches her sinister little boytoy, West; Nikki does us all a favour and permanently joins DL (though not before getting it on with Nathan one more time), the ineffectual Mohinder properly joins the dark side because he’s got nothing better to do, Sylar cuts his losses with the tedious Mexicans, that silly blonde girl becomes a real villain and not just a brat, and Adam; lots more of Adam. He was a pleasant distraction while riffing on Paul Bettany’s role in A Knight’s Tale, but he is deliciously hard done by as a 500 year old villain. (“Villayn!”) Oh, and I’d like Nathan to get a haircut and grab back his mojo.

In short; more plot, less characters, less shirts.



Sage Ross 11.07.07 at 10:49 pm

I’m all for labor rights, and I can stand a few weeks of no cabs or more expensive cars and clothing or whatever for the cause of solidarity. But when they start cutting into Heroes Season II and put the spin-off on hiatus (not to mention Jon Stewart re-runs), that’s where my support for labor ends.


nick s 11.07.07 at 11:05 pm

Even the police in Ireland don’t carry guns, except for a few in the Special Branch.

Really? That must be a recent thing, then.

But yes, more David Anders please. Sark was one of the things that kept Alias more or less watchable in its decline.

(And I mentioned it in the previous thread, but hearing his natural Oregon accent is even more jarring than James Marsters’ surfer-dude.)


Maria 11.07.07 at 11:09 pm

Eh, no. The ‘no gun’ thing has been an absolute since the foundation of the state – it was considered essential to get the guns out of politics after the Civil War and the army and police at that time weren’t entirely trusted.

I had no idea ‘Adam’ was actually from Oregon – truly impressive accent.


P O'Neill 11.08.07 at 1:19 am

In completely unrelated news, but speaking of heroes (at least for Maria), I believe that it’s PPDA in the other chair of this French TV interview with George Bush. So a chance to see how far he gets with the Bush talking points.



Mac 11.08.07 at 1:51 am

Creator Tim Kring (who has a lot of time on his hands what with the strike) has apologized in (to?) Entertainment Weekly for basically everything — the Dominican (not Mexican) twins, the length of Hiro’s stay in the past, Claire’s horrible boyfriend, etc.


alex 11.08.07 at 5:46 am

Is it just me or are Hiro, Dr. Suresh, and Horn Rimmed Glasses Man the only truly interesting characters in the show? I find myself yawning in all the subplots that do not involve them…


tatere 11.08.07 at 9:33 am

Suresh isn’t even a character anymore, he’s like a Plot Lego. even stupid people aren’t that stupid. why is it that only the bad guys seem to have a general idea of who they are, what they want, and how they’re going to get it? with Hiro being somewhat the exception to that.

btw, this is making me very glad that they had decided to put off Battlestar Galactica to 2008 – now it will only be delayed, not truncated.


nick s 11.08.07 at 3:10 pm

maria — I only ask because the first time I visited Dublin, back in ’96, I distinctly remember seeing an armed policeman on the Bank of Ireland side of College Green. It startled me enough to lock it in memory. But that may have been yer special branch type assignment.


neil 11.08.07 at 5:09 pm

They’re not Mexican.

It strikes me as strange that the election Nathan won hasn’t been so much as alluded to in this season.


Henry 11.08.07 at 7:49 pm

The garda’s special branch, which is armed, does sometimes escort big cash deliveries to banks – and this was especially true in the 1990s when there were a lot of bank robberies – but yer average plod is unarmed, as Maria says, and _Heroes_ suppositoin that a bookie’s rent-a-cops would be able to start shooting suggests that they didn’t do their homework.


stm177 11.08.07 at 9:06 pm

The show was treading water between the first and seventh episodes, and some of the characters slid backwards in their character development.


nick s 11.08.07 at 10:39 pm

Well, the whole betting shop setup was so completely bollocks from the start — scratch that, the whole Ireland setup — that it barely seems worth picking holes in the details.

It makes you wonder about the entire process. When you have bad ‘Irish’ settings and bad ‘Irish’ accents and bad ‘Irish’ plot elements, you’re not salvaging anything, because you could equally set it in the Netherlands or Scandinavia or wherever.


Pyre 11.09.07 at 6:17 am

The Irish thugs find Peter chained up inside a shipping container, figure he’s the one who stole the original contents, and beat him up to make him reveal what he did with the goods.

My disbelief loses all hope of suspension, and I stop watching.

Characters who fly, travel in time, or heal instantaneously, I can accept for the purposes of a plot.

Characters who act so blatantly in service to a formula (hero needs to get beaten by villains) despite the utter irrationality of those actions, I lose interest in.

As far as I’m concerned, this season should be scrapped — and rewritten from scratch once the strike is resolved. Preferably by different writers.


gmoke 11.09.07 at 10:02 pm

If you think the Cork accents were horrible, ask a Japanese speaker about Adam’s Japanese accent. Flatter than roadkill and a gaijin running around in feudal Japan without being causing a great commotion every time he showed his hakujin face? Please. Japanese schoolgirls were mobbing the odd American on the bullet train in the 1980s.

I like “Heroes” and think that it is an important step in the globalization of American TV (all those subtitles and foreign languages, all those characters from other countries) and an injection of comic book imagination into the moribund TV world but they gotta get better on the details.


SG 11.10.07 at 3:36 am

gmoke, Adam speaks just like a foreigner in Japan. I’m not sure that there is a problem with that. While it is true that he doesn’t get stared at as much as he should, this is hardly a big crime. The rest of the Japanese characters – particularly Ando – have been done with a sensitivity and attention to detail which is rare in Western TV. Ando and Hiro’s relationship is a joy to watch, and they behave exactly like the boys I see every day. Sure one could argue that this is because they are Japanese actors, but ask Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee about how easy it is for Asians to have their culture traduced while they act. I think the Heroes directors should get credit for this.

I think Cork has been chosen for a reason. Otherwise why didn’t Peter end up elsewhere in America? Sadly I think the reason is that the directors think “monroe” is an Irish surname…

And Clare is gonna dump her drippy boyfriend as soon as she finds out he is working for Adam Monroe. Or the company, or whoever.

pyre, the beating was a necessary plot device so that Peter could discover his powers even though he has no memory.


ffa 11.10.07 at 1:26 pm

You could point out a lot of details like that. The Japanese is very unnatural, Masi Oka is fluent but it’s definitely not native sounding, Ando is actually played by a Korean, etc. It’s a little silly to nitpick like that when the overarching plot is arbitrarily connected characters (they use the phrase “seemingly random”). It’s all a facade for some interesting character driven subplots and “what if” scenarios.

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