The bottom line – Brilliant. Good to see sci-fi isn’t dead on TV after all.
Hard to believe I almost let this show slip by. I got hold of a few episodes back in the day and couldn’t make it past episode 2. Mohinder’s Hollywood science intro seemed overly pretentious, Peter Petrelli was way too emo to have powers, I couldn’t make much sense of the Horn Rimmed Glasses guy (HRG), and despite the setup of the show nothing much seemed to be happening. So I decided to stay away, and left the rest of the episodes unwatched.
A few months later, looking for something to do, I started watching it again. Started off with some of the later episodes, which had a lot more going on than the earlier stuff. By this time most of the Heroes had discovered their powers, and were using them with various degrees of success. The plots had thickened, a main bad guy had been introduced, and a background storyline had been set.
The basic premise of the show is ordinary people gradually discovering they had superpowers. We then get to see how they use their powers in everyday life – but in the midst of all this there’s a superpowered serial killer on the loose, and he seems to be taking the powers of every hero he kills. There’s also the standard ‘mysterious organization’ tracking these heroes, and a bit of time travelling from one of the heroes, as well as prophetic visions from a couple of others, show New York being destroyed in what seems to be a nuclear blast in the very near future.
Not all the heroes are aware of each other, most don’t know the full limits of their own power, and they’re scattered all over the US, quite often working at cross purposes. Some are trying to catch the serial killer Sylar, some are trying to figure out what the mysterious organization is doing, and some are trying to stop the blast in New York from happening. What makes the show stand is the way in which all these plotlines are shown to interweave. The characters are well written and they all get enough screen time to reveal just how much depth they have. This couldn’t have been easy given the size of the cast. It is possible to draw similarities between Heroes and Marvel’s X-Men, but once you get into the show you realise that Heroes has the quality to stand on its own. This is no mere X-Men rip-off.
The action and special effects are superb for a TV show. These days I’m constantly amazed by just how good TV SFX have gotten – 10 years ago movie effects would have been struggling with this stuff. Ted Sprague’s radioactive powers, Peter and Nathan flying, Hiro stopping time, Sylar’s telekinesis, all briliantly realised. The only thing that’s a little unconvincing is Nikki/Jessica’s super strength – somehow when Clark Kent does it on Smallville it just seems a lot more plausible.
Heroes is currently having a bit of a break until the next episode airs in April (the 23rd if I remember right). Its left us with a good old fashioned cliff-hanger; Peter, one of the main good guys, facing off against Sylar, the main bad guy in New York, whilst far away in Texas, Peter’s brother Nathan stands poised to make a decision that could turn him to the dark side.
It sounds like its gonna be a pivotal episode in the series. Can’t wait to check it out.