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SciFriday: What’s Wrong With ‘Heroes’?

Last September, “Heroes” took the world by storm by becoming the surprise hit of the season. After only a few episodes, it earned praise from critics from all over the globe and became the new show to watch. This year, however, has more than a few fans worried over the recent directions the series has […]

Last September, “Heroes” took the world by storm by becoming the surprise hit of the season. After only a few episodes, it earned praise from critics from all over the globe and became the new show to watch.

This year, however, has more than a few fans worried over the recent directions the series has taken with some convinced that Heroes was a one-shot wonder.

Series creator Tim Kring has already spoken out about the negative response this current season has been receiving, promising that the complaints from the fans have not fallen on deaf ears and that changes are coming to fix the show. The main problem with Heroes is that with such a stellar first year, can anything top that in the eyes of the fans?

One of the examples Kring offered was Peters (Milo Ventimiglia) visit to the future where the virus has wiped out most the worlds population, a plot device that wasnt introduced until the seventh episode of show. The scenes, which were oddly reminiscent of 28 Days Later, are very similar in tone to the scenes of New Yorks destruction last season following the detonation of the exploding man : but they came into play far later in the game than they should have.

When the series made its debut last year, the images of a burning New York, the cryptic message to save the cheerleader and the dark visage of Sylar (Zachary Quinto) all began in the opening episodes and helped to build up an addictive serialized story that would continue to unraveled as the episodes went on. Even toward the end, the whole picture didnt come together until the final episode — it certainly kept me glued to the television and I know Im not the only one.

This year, we received hints of a larger threat looming on the horizon and also the next natural progression for each of the major characters. In essence, we saw the fallout and aftermath of the first seasons explosive climax. It wasnt until the six episodes in that the serialized story started to fall together and weve got a villain worse than Sylar, an apocalyptic prophecy on a larger scale than New York plus more absorbing additions to the cast.

We assumed the audience wanted Season 1 — a buildup of intrigue about these characters and the discovery of their powers,” Kring said, referring to the new cast members. “We taught [them] to expect a certain kind of storytelling. They wanted adrenaline. We made a mistake.”

But what exactly were those mistakes? It may have started a little slower than expected, but the threads put in place are now coming to fruition and the stories are more engaging, more compelling and more thrilling than ever before. Peter is finally out of the ridiculously stereotypical idea of Ireland, Hiro (Masi Oka) has accomplished his mission in Ancient Japan (sacrificing the love of his life in the process) and Sylar is slowly reaching the American border. The newcomers to the series all have their relative roles to play – Maya and Alejandro (Dania Ramirez and Shalim Ortiz) and their half-power are the most fascinating of them all. Will Sylar be able to manipulate Maya into the monster he is, or will the ever-vigilant Alejandro be able to prevent that outcome?

The main show-carrier so far however has been the life of Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), her high-flying boyfriend West (Nicholas DAgosto) and of course her secret agent father (Jack Coleman) who has become hell-bent on unraveling the legacy left behind by Isaac Mendez : a trail that leads to the death of H.R.G. himself. The eight lost paintings could have been a fantastic plot piece to extend the full season however may have already peaked before the halfway point of the year.

Were finally seeing the darker side to H.R.G. during his visit to his old comrade and what he is capable of. It is ironic that the character initially started as a recurring role because he has now become the most entertaining and complicated part of the series, and the climax to the eight paintings will most likely be on a similar level to the mid-season save the cheerleader, save the world event last year.

Back then, the series made a slight course change and it continued to get better and better. Based on the way the series is now progressing, if looks like well be seeing a similar conclusion at the end of Powerless.

The series has some fantastic formulas at its disposal (the time jumping episodes such as the recent Four Months Ago and the more character centric tales) that constantly prove that Heroes has not lost any of its charm and that the series has only taken a little longer to come to life. And now that its awake, the coming episodes will surely thrill even the most disgruntled fan.

So to Tim Kring, I say you have nothing to apologize for. When compared to the rest of those shows on television, Heroes is still the most addictive drama series out there. Even during those supposedly slower episodes that some fans had problems with, it never failed to entertain.

SyBits

With Michael Hinman on vacation, how about I take a crack at some letters?

It sounds like it this might be the end of the road for the Spider-Man movie franchise. Why? Several reasons. Because Sam Raimi even in his absence will still cast a long shadow over the franchise. He set the tone and the style and look of the the series and any new director coming in will bring their own take and style and I don’t think that that will set well with the audience.

Look at what happened with X-Men when Brian Singer left after the second movie, the franchise suffered in his absence, I think the same thing might happen with Spider-Man if another director comes on.

— Steven Poisson

In a way, I am glad Sam Raimi is bowing out of the Spider-Man franchise. The first movie was fantastic, the second was OK and the third one was the worst movie I’ve seen all year (and I’ve seen a couple of rubbish films this year – Smoking Aces, The Number 23 and Outlaw but to name a few). If the franchise is going to continue, maybe it will be better with someone else behind the wheel.

He does have a lot of passion for the characters, but looking at Spider-Man 3 there was a lot crammed into that one, agonisingly long, movie that just didnt need to be there.

I’m actually in the minority when it comes to X3 — it wasn’t the greatest movie (certainly nowhere near the level of X2) but I enjoyed it from start to finish. It may have butchered some of the existing mythology a little, but it delivered all of the ensemble mutant fun of the first two movies.

There’s still enough popularity for the movies out there – Spider-Man 3 topped the box office records for the best opening day so that proves that there is enough attention on the character to keep the studios at least thinking about sequels. The only question now is if Tobey Maguire will return for another web-slinging adventure.

I have been a big fan of the original “Bionic Woman” and I have been watching this new show closely and I have been enjoying it until this past couple of episodes. They really need to do something soon or the show will be cancelled. Plain and simple.

It is becoming boring. The love story sucks and they have completely forgotten about the dead doctor boyfriend and the big file she found at his home containing information about her personal life 2 years before he actually met her.

They still haven’t explained that well enough and the reason why he chose her. Sara Corvus is missing in action as well. Believe it or not, Sara made the show interesting.

Anyway, I hope they get their act straight and find a way to make this show last. Maybe a cameo by Lindsay Wagner or Lee Majors playing some other character would help. Who knows.

— Hermes Rivera

I’ve been enjoying Bionic Woman (particularly Katee Sackhoff), but the last episode didn’t do anything for me at all. The Jaime at college story had enough in it to keep me entertained but mostly because we didn’t know who Tom is and if he’s a baddie.

But now we know he’s part of the CIA and so the mystery that made him interesting is gone. You’re absolutely right about the dead doctor — I suspect that massive file was put in place at the last minute to take the attention away from his death and to try and make him a bit of a villain himself. Mark Sheppard is a fantastic actor and I sincerely hope we get a lot more of him as the series progresses. The way the show is going, I don’t think it can survive without Corvus.

The show has had some problem at home with producers leaving, so lets hope now that the house is in order we’ll be seeing smarter scripts and more exciting stories.

What do you think about the new Bionic Woman series? Does Michelle Ryan keep you coming back each week, or are you part of the 50% that has tuned out since the debut episode? Let me know youre opinions for next weeks SciFriday.

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Alan Stanley Blair is the assistant news editor for Airlock Alpha, contributing from his home country of Scotland. He is currently studying for his post-graduate diploma in freelance journalism and feature writing as a distance student at the London School of Journalism. He can be reached at any time at ablair@airlockalpha.com.

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