Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Superhiro

I really like that new show, Heroes. When I saw the promos over the summer I thought it would be stupid, but I gave it a chance because it's on the same network (NBC) that brought me Conan, Seinfeld, and West Wing and I'd really like to see NBC pull itself out of the ratings gutter, and now I'm glad I did. Heroes and Studio 60 make me look forward to Mondays.

But even when I like something, I'm a hard man to please. My enjoyment of Heroes is no exception. First off, last night's episode really disappointed me. The scene where Syler starts telekinetically throwing lockers at Peter...if Peter really can leech off other's abilities, I thought for sure he would suddenly realize he had telekinetic abilities too and they'd duel it out Yoda v. Count Dooku style. But no. He ran away like a little girl.

A more general complaint: Heroes suffers from the same ailment as Lost and 24. The storyline moves WAY too slow. This, really, is why I dislike season-long story arcs in general: the writers don't have enough plot to go around, so they have to drag it out. Hence the great flaw of the election story arc of the seventh season of West Wing. Or Lost (this week on Lost: Sawyer gets glasses!). Or any season of 24. Especially the last season. Jack spent, what, six hours trying to recover the Logan recording, just to have it deleted five minutes after he brought it into CTU. Well, that was worth it.

But here's my real complaint with Heroes. It just isn't true to its own premise. The "heroes" are supposed to be getting their powers because of evolutionary leaps. But some of their powers don't follow that reasoning. It's like X-men. I loved the X-men, back when I read them. But many of them don't make sense. Wolverine's mutation, really, was the only realistic one: super healing and heightened senses. Maybe I'll swallow Professor X's telepathy and Jean Grey's telekinesis. But come on. The ability to contorl magnetism? The ability to absorb the sun's energy and transform it into laser beams you shoot from your eyes? The ability to transform your skin into an impervious organic metal? The ability to turn into a blue demon with a prehensile tail and teleport into an alternative dimension? Are these powers really grounded within the evolutionary chain?

Same with Heroes. So far I can swallow some of their powers. Tissue regeneration. Levitation. Precognition. Good ole telepathy and telekinesis. But what's up with walking through walls? Or Micah's newfound ability to repair any piece of electronic equipment? Unless it's a limtied manifestation of more telekinesis, I really don't see how that's related to evolution. I'm still waiting for the most obvious superhero: the guy who can run really fast and jump really high*.

* His superhero name would be Black Man.

My bigger problem is, if their powers are evolutionary, shouldn't relatives have the same powers? Meet the Petrelli brothers. One can fly, the other leechs off others powers. WTF. Or how about when a woman with split personalities (Niki) and a guy who can phase through walls (DL) mate and produce a kid who can repair telephones (Micah)? The writers are outthinking themselves.

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