Heroes on the Right Track, Will the Audience Follow?

Yesterday I lamented the fact that people don't watch NBC, even when NBC airs something good.  I sat there last night watching Heroes and marveled at how a show that had fallen off a cliff so badly in its second season seemed to be doing everything right in season three.  Then, this morning, I looked at the ratings and realized that the show is still doing one thing wrong – losing viewers.  Maybe people are just still hugely disappointed with the wretchedly bad stories the show put forth in its abbreviated second season, or maybe… nope, I can't imagine what else the problem could be and it's a real shame, because people who liked it in season one and then stopped watching are missing out.

Gone this season are the ridiculous romantic plots from last year, the lack of a clear overarching narrative, and the snail's pace progression of what little plot there was.  This season has featured twists, turns, some great new villains and heroes, and what has to be one of the biggest character shifts in history – Sylar's apparent about face on evil.  I'm still a little up in the air on exactly where that is headed.

Sylar, the Big Bad from season one, and minor villain of season two, is apparently now trying to walk the straight and narrow.  He's had some slips (like killing folks at the bank heist a couple of episodes back), but he's trying to control his hunger.  Or, at least that's what he claims.

That, my friends, is really where the questions lie.  We got a glimpse into a possible future where Sylar apparently does learn to control his hunger for power, but he ended up going nuclear in that future and things have already changed in the present which might negate the possibility of the future.  Of course, it could just be that Sylar was just pretending both in the present and in that future.  It could be that Sylar was still evil and was merely hiding it in order to advance some greater evil agenda. 

Currently, I'm still on the fence about whether I'd rather have Sylar be good or evil.  Having him be good makes it far easier for the producers to keep him on the show (evil, being bad, must be destroyed and the show also likes to throw out new Big Bads on a regular basis).  However, I like his character the way he was, his being bad made him so good to watch.  If he's actually good now he may be far less fun to watch.  Sure, the show could always go down the Angel/Angelus path, having Sylar go bad for a couple of Sweeps episodes every now and then, but that tactic feels awfully overused by series. 

As for this new Big Bad, Papa Petrelli, I just can't wait to find out more of the history there.  He seems like he may be one of the best villains yet, and kudos to him for killing – permanently, I hope – Adam.  We certainly don't need that season two mistake darkening our doorstep ever again.

Well, there you have it, Heroes is back, as good as its ever been, and you should be watching it.  When you don't, NBC does stuff like put in a full season order for Knight Rider.  Do you really want that on your conscience? 

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2 replies

  1. Great post; I’ve wondered the same thing…(quick aside: I’m very happy to have discovered this blog – as a fellow TV head, I’ve had some bad luck trying to follow TV blogs, which seem to devolve into “omigod did you see ‘Gossip Girl’?”, so I appreciate your style and the fact that you seem to follow many of my shows)Anyway, I, too think that ‘Heroes’ has gotten much stronger this season. I’m having a tough time with Sylar’s apparent transformation but, as is my motto with this show, I’m sure it’s more complicated than we know now. Two true complaints, though, which I’d be interested to read your thoughts on: Mohinder has always had such strong moral compass – even when confused and/or mislead, he’s always seemed desperate to do “the right thing” – so it’s tough for me to believe that he’d abandon his idealism for the opportunity to have powers. I like what’s being done with his ‘The Fly’-esque transformation now, but the initial decision seemed out of character. Secondly, I wish season 3 had spent a little more time in general wrapping up the loose threads of season 2. I realize that s2 was stunted for many reasons, most of them outside of the creative team’s control, but rather than simple pushing it under the rugs and moving on to better-quality storylines, I wish the show had tried to salvage s2 a bit. A lot of its weaknesses were simply due to lack of time wrap up storylines, and taking the time to do so might have made s2 a more cohesive part of the entire ‘Heroes’ narrative, rather than a half season we’d rather forget. And hey, isn’t Caitlin still trapped in the future?

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  2. I actually don’t really have a problem with Mohinder’s character change. He’s always been driven to find out the mysteries of the world, and his now evil actions are a result of the drug and nothing else. It was his idealistic pursuit that led him to inject himself (which I thought was in character), not anything more nefarious.And, thanks for reading!

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