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How to Heal 'Heroes'


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#1 lqv2015

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 08:59 AM

Apparently the most recent episode of "Heroes," in addition to the whole season, has left a bad taste in a lot of critics' mouths.

Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune is kissing the series goodbye. And she's listed a number of other writers who are frustrated with the show.

I agree with the notion that the alternate futures seem more interesting than the real present, and the latest trip to one of them is probably a trip too many. Creator Tim Kring & Co. should do something about that.

In fact, there's probably a lot of things that they should look to do to make the series better. I was willing to cut them some slack before, either because they were a freshman show coming out of nowhere to be a sensation, or because they had a writers' strike looming. I still think the show's one of the most interesting on TV. But I do feel like there's too many plot holes and loose ends, and yes, questions that remain unanswered.

So here's my list of top 10 things I would do if I had the superpower to make Tim Kring and NBC do my bidding. In no particular order:

1. Neuter Hiro, Sylar and Peter

Realistically, there's not much that these characters can't do. Which opens up a question any time one of them is on-screen. For instance, in the Oct. 6 episode, it makes little sense that Peter and Sylar had trouble with a strong guy, a speedster and a woman who can regenerate. Peter can stop time. Sylar can use telekinesis to hold them all in place. They could teleport out of the area.

Similarly, any mistake Hiro makes could hypothetically be fixed by going back in time.

Now that Sylar has Claire's power, he is, according to the show, unkillable.

Where's the fun in seeing those kinds of characters interact? Which brings me to:

2. Develop Characters and Play to Actors' Strengths

One of the strengths of the show as originally conceived was that it was as much about the individuals as it was about them having cool powers. Yet somewhere along the line, that's gone by the wayside some.

There haven't been many scenes this season, for example, with Nathan and any members of his actual family. Somewhere amid all this action, it would be nice if Nathan and Angela or Peter got together and discussed all of what they've been through. Just take Nathan: "I learned I can fly. I almost signed on to a plot that would leave New York City a smoking crater. I almost died. I miraculously healed. I lost my family. I gave up my life's ambition to be a representative. I almost died again. I got miraculously healed again. I miraculously got appointed to the Senate. I'm talking to the version of Linderman that apparently no one else can see. And now I've found someone who's an identical twin of a woman I've had a fling with."

By contrast, I'm sorry, but Hayden Panettiere can't play a tough, embittered girl to save her life.

3. Idiot-Proof All Plots

Too often, I find myself asking, "Why would a reasonable person do this?"

For instance: Why would Mohinder inject himself with an untested serum when anything could go wrong? Particularly when he goes to some random dock to do it, instead of a controlled environment? The answer, of course, is to provide a convenient opportunity for random thugs to hassle him and then get taken down by his newfound Spider-man like powers. But there's no in-story reason.

Why would Future Peter shoot Nathan, rather than simply go back to some point in time prior to the big speech and explain to him, "If you out us superpowered people, bad things will happen"?

Why would he further go on to put Peter -- in all places -- in the body of a villain imprisoned in Level 5 and Parkman somewhere randomly in Africa? Obviously, the plot wants them to be there.

If someone were to try hard enough, you could "fanwank" an explanation for these and the various other elements of bizarre behavior on the show. But the point is that you shouldn't have to fanwank anything. The writers should not force you to actively suspend disbelief beyond certain basic concepts.

4. Mix in Standalone Episodes

One of the problems with season-long arcs is that it can seem incredibly slow getting from point A to point B, and it asks a lot for a viewer to stick with it all the way.

Few shows pull them off well over the course of 24-episode seasons. Those that do generally have individual episodes that have beginnings, middles and ends of their own.

I think it would behoove "Heroes" to go that route from time to time. Instead of gradually building up the threat level about the season's Big Bad (the exploding man, the virus, the power-granting serum), have an episode that provides a little more immediate gratification.

As Maureen said, probably the best episode of "Heroes" was "Company Man," which looked at the evolution of H.R.G. Part of the reason that worked so well is that it was focused and delivered a complete package.

In fact, I would consider for next season going arc-less.

5. Revisit Some Plots and Questions

I think the "Heroes" writers should rewatch the first two seasons of the show as objectively as they can and think of all the characters and ideas that have gone by the wayside. Just to name a few, we have lost Matt's wife and FBI partner, Peter's girlfriend Caitlin. We haven't delved into what the "S" symbol means or who exactly saved Sylar back at the end of Season 1 or what became of Matt's dad. There are probably dozens of others things that have been dropped unceremoniously.

6. Separate the Wheat From the Chaff

It's a noble experiment having an ensemble show with a whole host of characters. But the fact is that too often "Heroes" doesn't juggle them very well.

Most of the time, I think the show would be better off if it dramatically reduced the roles of about half the characters. In particular, I would love to see less of Niki/Tracy and Mohinder.

At the same time, there needs to be the flexibility to increase the prominence of characters who become interesting. The Haitian and Angela Petrelli, for example, are much more interesting to watch than many of the headliners. H.R.G. grew from a secondary character to someone central to the show.

7. Avoid Stereotypes

Call me PC, but it bugs me that the women on the show tend to be victims, insane or [expletive]es or some combination of the above. It bothers me that the weakest characters on the show tend to be the minority ones (Hiro and Ando excepted).

8. Explore the Moral and Social Dimension of People With Powers

It seemed like they were going to do this last season with the idea of Monica becoming St. Joan. Being able to read minds or run superfast or fly would bring with it a lot of temptations. Throw a few of them in the way of the characters.

9. Bring Back Some of the Humor and Joy

There have been, it seems to me, relatively few laughs on the show of late. Few moments where someone exults like Hiro, "I did it!" or remarks like H.R.G. that something is cool. The whole purpose of the show, as Kring originally explained it, was to counteract some of the gloom, cynicism and doom that came with Sept. 11. I think it should go back to that purpose again.

10. Chart Your Own Course

Each of the three seasons have had homages to classic comic book series. The first was patterned after "Watchmen," the second after the "X-Men" storyline about the Legacy Virus, and, although I didn't originally realize it, this current one mirrors "Kingdom Come," a graphic novel about the proliferation of superpowered people causing Armageddon.

It sort of defeats the purpose of showing what would happen if people had superpowers in the real world if you're just going to parrot comic book themes.


http://tv.msn.com/tv...roes/?GT1=28103

I've been saying this from the beginning. It's almost unwatchable for me now. Too confusing plot, plot holes, stupid decisions made by characters & "why the heck did/didn't you do this?" events. Hey, that's the stuff you get when you give characters certain powers. You can't expect the writers to write miracle scripts.

I've only seen episode 1 & 2 of season 3 so far & I just gave up trying to put everything together. Now I'll just turn my brain off & try to be entertain one way or another.

#2 daco_inc

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 11:21 AM

This sums up a lot of my complaints about this show, my biggest complaint being his first point. Indeed these 3, Peter, Hiro, and Sylar, are too powerful, and the writers' refusal to let them use their full power is just plain stupid. The writers obviously didn't think too far ahead in the future. Either kill them off or free them from these shackles. And some will argue "well if those guys do use their ability to its fullest potential, then the show would be stupid and it won't leave much room for plot." Yea, you're right. But the fact that the writers didn't take this into consideration and instead just let these guys use their powers whenever they, the writers, think it's convenient to the story is just evidence that they are bad writers.

#3 Savory Griddles

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 01:04 PM

This sums up a lot of my complaints about this show, my biggest complaint being his first point. Indeed these 3, Peter, Hiro, and Sylar, are too powerful, and the writers' refusal to let them use their full power is just plain stupid. The writers obviously didn't think too far ahead in the future. Either kill them off or free them from these shackles. And some will argue "well if those guys do use their ability to its fullest potential, then the show would be stupid and it won't leave much room for plot." Yea, you're right. But the fact that the writers didn't take this into consideration and instead just let these guys use their powers whenever they, the writers, think it's convenient to the story is just evidence that they are bad writers.



A perfect example of this is when Present Peter walks into future Sylar's house and puts his hands on fire as a weapon. how about instead he uses his power of invisibility he gained in Season 1. That seems like a very useful power.

#4 daco_inc

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 01:16 PM

Or how about Hiro, manipulator of space and time, didn't simply think of going back in time and stopping speed girl from stealing the formula. He had no problem using his powers to keep putting Adam back into the coffin (most recent episode), yet he never thought that his powers would be useful in stopping the theft from even occurring? Instead, he goes on some useless "quest" to find her and try to get it back, or in other words, he likes to waste his time.

This of course involves the fourth point of the above article, "idiot proof the plot". This is obviously too advanced of a concept for these so-called professional writers. Any given episode this season probably has at LEAST a half a dozen plot points that are definitely not idiot-proof. Conclusion? The writers are idiots.

Edited by daco_inc, October 15, 2008 - 01:27 PM.


#5 lqv2015

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 07:14 PM

The biggest problem is too many characters with too many crazy abilities. At least take away time travel. It causes too many paradoxes. Minimize the powers that the characters are able to use. Give them a weakness like kryptonite to Superman. Or a counter power that someone else has to be able to stop them. The writers are starting to get lazy. Season 1 was good. 2 started to suck. Now I gave up on 3.

Bottom line, it's getting messy. They should have the decency to end it this season.

#6 Jaime Quintanilla

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 07:59 PM

Waits on Lost...

#7 last stand 2.0

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Posted October 15, 2008 - 10:27 PM

it can be fixed and will be fixed

the only issue i've had is the formula as Daco Inc said why couldn't hiro simply go back in time and take the formula back

then again everytime they change something in the past the future never seems to change

oh well

i still watch the show because it still has some very entertaining moments

contrary to popular belief i do think this season is way better than season 2
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#8 daco_inc

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Posted October 16, 2008 - 12:43 AM

No it probably won't be fixed. The writers have already shown their incompetence, and there's no reason to believe they're going to change. In fact, they can't change really. In order to draw out a 20-something episode season, they're going to continue to do things like ignore powers for plot convenience.

I'm sure that's not the only thing you have an issue with too. How about with the whole Peter trying to assassinate Nathan thing. Why was killing his brother the first option? As the first post states, why couldn't he travel about 20 minutes before the speech and reason with his brother explaining that his revelation will lead to a terrible future? I bet I can think of several more things that you should have an issue with too.

#9 Savory Griddles

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Posted October 16, 2008 - 07:45 AM

No it probably won't be fixed. The writers have already shown their incompetence, and there's no reason to believe they're going to change. In fact, they can't change really. In order to draw out a 20-something episode season, they're going to continue to do things like ignore powers for plot convenience.

I'm sure that's not the only thing you have an issue with too. How about with the whole Peter trying to assassinate Nathan thing. Why was killing his brother the first option? As the first post states, why couldn't he travel about 20 minutes before the speech and reason with his brother explaining that his revelation will lead to a terrible future? I bet I can think of several more things that you should have an issue with too.


Because killing is always the first option. :lol: . I don't think they CAN fix it even if they wanted to short of killing all time travelers (Peter/Hiro), Speed Girl (because she essentially is so fast she is a teleporting nighmare who no one can stop) and Sylar. As long as there are time travelers, the show will continue to have huge continuity blunders. And as long as there is a character like Sylar (who I do like BTW) there will be someone too powerful to manage. The powers should be powerful, but not unstoppable. And where's Kristin Bell's character? She was in the first episode and hasn't been back since. I like her character.

#10 netlord

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Posted October 19, 2008 - 10:42 AM

More Maya scenes
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#11 last stand 2.0

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Posted October 19, 2008 - 11:15 PM

More Maya scenes


yeah shes always sweaty

nothing hotter than a sweaty latina

she can surpass hayden in some scenes she is fine
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#12 Synergy

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Posted October 19, 2008 - 11:18 PM

The biggest problem is too many characters with too many crazy abilities. At least take away time travel. It causes too many paradoxes. Minimize the powers that the characters are able to use. Give them a weakness like kryptonite to Superman. Or a counter power that someone else has to be able to stop them. The writers are starting to get lazy. Season 1 was good. 2 started to suck. Now I gave up on 3.

Bottom line, it's getting messy. They should have the decency to end it this season.


I definitely agree with that.
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#13 lyk13

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Posted October 20, 2008 - 01:43 AM

When Season 2 finale was shown on my local tv, I can't help but get my season 3 premiere file and play till her and him...LOL!!!! I'm on truth serum...=.="




#14 last stand 2.0

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Posted October 20, 2008 - 09:33 PM

so was heroes healed because according to this article

1,4,5-10 all were present

1. peter was literally neutered of his powers and people always complained well peter, sylar were too powerful so there needs to be a stronger villain. well aurthur petrelli is pretty damn powerful.
hiro neutered himself by saying he would never go back in time again answering Daco's questions of why he doesn't simply travel back to fix problems.

4. they have been mixing standalone episodes along with story telling all season the vortex guy, the puppet guy and probably more to come are all standalone stories. thats what i think HRG is for now his story will be capturing the other villains and creating standalone stories.

5. they answered a lot of plot questions today. why isn't hiro using his powers to go into the future to name one big one that had people upset.

6. there is still too many characters but i think they are beginning to organize them into pinehearst vs. the company

7. claire was no victim today and neither was tracy today the men of the show were victims peter, nathan

8. the whole hunger for power is enough temptation for the heroes if you ask me. claire and hiro always wanting to be heroes and mohinder wanting to make discoveries of a cure

9. i thought there was a lot of lightheartedness with hiro getting hit in the head with a shovel it was joyful in a way

10. well thats a stupid criticism anyone can connect dots if they look for the dots they want to see
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#15 daco_inc

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Posted October 20, 2008 - 11:20 PM

The problem was not that there was a strong enough villain. The problem was that these characters were too strong period. And now they've introduced an even stronger character. And Peter was duped into losing his powers because he was an idiot. Using his powers there were several ways to stop what may have happened. Peter is a precog, a mind reader, complete control over space and time, among several others. You'd have to be a complete idiot to have fallen for what Peter fell for. And how will they defeat this super villain? I'm willing to bet it will involve another non-idiot-proof explanation.

And I must've missed the part hiro said he'll no longer go back in time. If true, it's just a poor cop out by the writers. All he needs to do is be smart about going back in time. His antics of trying to sneak up on the precog just exemplified his stupidity.

Their pattern of not idiot-proofing there plots is still the same as ever in this episode.

#16 Savory Griddles

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Posted October 21, 2008 - 09:33 AM

The problem was not that there was a strong enough villain. The problem was that these characters were too strong period. And now they've introduced an even stronger character. And Peter was duped into losing his powers because he was an idiot. Using his powers there were several ways to stop what may have happened. Peter is a precog, a mind reader, complete control over space and time, among several others. You'd have to be a complete idiot to have fallen for what Peter fell for. And how will they defeat this super villain? I'm willing to bet it will involve another non-idiot-proof explanation.

And I must've missed the part hiro said he'll no longer go back in time. If true, it's just a poor cop out by the writers. All he needs to do is be smart about going back in time. His antics of trying to sneak up on the precog just exemplified his stupidity.


He said he vowed to never go back in time, hence the argument with Ando that going back 1 minute wasn't that big a deal. Although he had gone back in time five minutes earlier in order to plant the blood pack on Ando.

And I totally agree with you regarding the neutering of Peter. The complaint of him having all those powers had little to do with who he was. It had to do with the fact that ONE individual had ALL that power. That hasn't changed at all. They just changed the face of all that power. Heck, they didn't even change the last name. :rock: The complaint now simply transfers to Mr. Petreli.

And you are absolutely right, Peter is a precog, a mind reader and a time traveler. How in the blue hell does he fall for that? His dad who everyone thought was dead, is standing there with some f---ed up villians and you decide to give him a hug? :clap: Good thinking retard. Why don't you use your time travel ability to go back and give Hitler a high five?




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