Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Heroes: A Look Back [Season 1, Part 1]


This might be strange to anyone reads this blog, but I never watched the mega-hit TV show Heroes when it originally aired. At the time I was so burnt out and tired of television that even hearing about a "LOST-killer" didn't really satiate my interest. So I never watched beyond the premiere episode.

To take you back to 2006, you'd have to remember that I like my shows more bright and hopeful-- sitcoms were dying due to aping Friends endlessly and dramas were all about grim and gritty. Neither of those has changed much, not to mention the reality show glut remains and single camera sitcoms are still basically all the same show of neurotic characters giving interviews for some inexplicable reason for easy punchlines, but there has been more of variety out there than there was in 2006 when Heroes premiered.

Since the superhero boom has been such a success for those of us who missed stories about people trying to be heroic and not moping around in pointless despair, I decided to go back to the show that first tried to make a drama about them. Now, I know a little bit about the show and how it slid far downhill, but I still wanted to give it a chance. Since it is having a revival mini-series this year, I thought that now would be the perfect chance to do so.

With a friend of mine, we watched the first half of season 1, which I had never seen before and which he had not seen since it first aired.

Early impressions? Pretty good, actually.

The characters all have good starting points and motivations. Claire Bennett is a cheerleader that is indestructible, Peter Petrelli and his brother, Nathan, have a combative relationship despite discovering they have unique powers that could change it. Hiro Nakamura believes he can save the world and be somebody special. Matt Parkman is able to read people's minds. Niki Sanders is a mystery even to herself. Mohinder Suresh is determined to find these people and learn more about his deceased father. Then there's the mysterious Mr. Bennett and the Haitian searching for those with powers for some strange reason and the villainous Sylar, who enjoys killing and taking powers for his own. All of this happens in the first half of the season, and there is quite a lot of build up in it that makes it easy to see why it was a hit.

The special effects are nothing much to write home about, being as the budget wasn't that great for the time. Some of the show can get way too graphic with the violence regardless, and some of the plotlines can get a bit soap opera at times. It's also hard to empathize or really wrap your head around some characters at this point like Niki Sanders who is more confusing than anything or Matt Parkman whose life is really unnecessarily overbearing for a normal police officer.

Where Heroes succeeds at this point is in the mystery, We don't know where any of this is going, or where the power came from, or what it's all for, and that makes it an interesting watch. The pacing, reveals, and character turns are all so carefully plotted that you just know someone had this planned out far in advance. There's a lot of good craft at play here.

Still, this is only the first half of the first season. There are still more seasons to go and still half a season left in this one. It could turn at any moment.

But at this point I can safely say I understand the hype and success it had. Now to see if the rest of it's reputation is just as well deserved.

More next time!

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