Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hero for a day

Good, well, actually morning folks, here's a rarity I'm actually starting a session before noon-time, so soak up the goodness, soak it up, SOAK IT UP!!! Any who, I first heard the Metallica song which is the title of this session in an Otakon video which meshed it with scenes from some sort of special edition Dragonball thing. Why am I sharing that? No particular reason, so let's move on. While I probably would have picked this title name no matter what the circumstance for this topic (I probably should tell you what the topic is, it is the show "Heroes") seeing as it has the word 'hero' in it, the phrase "Hero for a day" seems particularly appropriate due to how lavishly praised Heroes has been and how much it's recent season finale has been massively slammed. But the point of the matter is that I'm doing a review of Heroes.

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm looking at you Bob, and you too Smithee, Heroes has random people gaining superpowers and dealing with the changes it inflicts upon their life and the world, a secret organization and a coming disaster (at least the first season was about the coming disaster), good stuff, no? Actually I wasn't that intrigued with the concept at first because I thought it would be done in a really crappy way, but it's done well, so I'm good with that. It's part of the wave of dramas that have been coming out lately and being one of the most successful it is often compared to one of the other most successful of the major dramas, Lost. It shares with Lost the supernatural sci-fi-fantasy drama label, but in many ways it is, as the respected TV columnist Alan Sepinwall calls it, "the anti-Lost."

How, may you ask, well Sepinwall would point to the fact that Lost has long complex, twisting, conveluted mysteries that never really seem to get resolved and even when they do get part resolved the writers throw in some more craziness to crazy it up a whole lot more. With Heroes, yes there are conspiracies and surprises but they tend to resolve mysteries relatively quickly, adding new mysteries but in a way that moves the plot forward instead of just tangling it up and such. But I think there is more to that comparision, something that goes to the tendencies of the mediums the creators of these series had previously majored in. Lost was created by J. J. Abrams, a long time tv guy, and Heroes was created by Jeph Loeb a long time comic guy, get where I going with this. Basically the thing is that while Lost concentrates on character (I mean half of every episode is usually in a character's head giving glimpses to deepen up the characters), the usual measure of tv shows, Heroes concentrates on plot, the usual measure of comic books. The result is this, Lost has deep, many, many dimensional chacacters, but a nonsensical plot, and Heroes has a complex but sensical nicely moving plot, it's chacacters often lack full depth (there are exceptions, most notably the awesome, awesome Hiro and Horn-Rimmed Glasses Man (Noah Bennet)), often they are simply archetypes, which while nice at times are not used to their fullest and are sometimes tiresome.

The comic book heritage also may factor into the final episode of Heroes. Comic book fans are notoriously detail oriented, memorizing every tiny, tiny detail and then ranting and raving insanely when one of those details are contradicted by another detail. The final episode was criticized for many factors but for most notably the last scene when one of the main character who is exploding do his powers becoming uncontrollable needs to be flown out by his brother (at the expense of his brother's life) despite the fact that the main character had flying powers. Now the reasoning that came me is that his powers had become uncontrollabe and so, well he couldn't control his powers. To back it up a fan noted (on Sepinwall's website) that in a flash-foward to this, the main character says he's frozen. That's the sort of detail that would come easy for comic book fans or which comic book fans wouldn't mind searching for, but it doesn't nearly as well for tv. Why? Because with tv, especially at an intense climax scene, you're put in the moment, and going back and thinking about how this makes sense needs some level of detachment that the tv view should not need to have. So while I understand what the Heroes writers were getting at, I still have to be critical of it.

Still, I love the show and I'm going to be watching every episode next season. It's got a lot of cool moments, a couple really cool characters (although not as deep as Lost's per se), and a really interesting plot line. It also, as comic books tend to, has created a huge, complex and fascinating universe (Lost also does this so here there's less of the anti-Lost comparison), and so I got to say I still think despite all it's flaws it's awesome. But I can't help but think, well, what if it didn't have those flaws, what if those things were fixed, then it could be great, heck it could be legendary, it could be a 10 out of 10 but it doesn't reach that. Now it's always hard to judge a tv show while it's still on the air and especially given the possibilities for the next season, but as things sit now the best I can give it is a 7 out of 10.

So that's my Heroes review. Since the series is still coming out maybe next season I might actually throw some reviews of individual episodes...or maybe not, depends what I feel like, because I the Rand, I the Rand indeed. So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

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