Head to head with Jones
Heroes : What went wrong?
I can still remember when NBC's "Heroes" came onto our screens. When it
started out, it was clever, entertaining show with a clever premise: ordinary
people find out they have super-human powers. There was a indestructible
cheerleader, a Japanese office worker who could teleport, a single mom with
an Incredible Hulk-like alter-ego,and others. Two of the other notable
members were Jack Coleman's "HRG" a fascinating anti-hero, and Sendil Ramamurthy's Dr. Suresh.
The show was hugely successful, winning critical acclaim, awards and high ratings. It looked like NBC had a hit on its hands: " "The New "Lost"" some praised it, and others wondered if Tim Kring was going to join Joss Whedon,
Ronald D. Moore and J.J. Abrams amongst the heroes (sorry ) of Sci-fi and fantasy TV.
Then the second season aired, and everything went horribly wrong. Stories no longer made any sense, characters arbitarily switched from good to evil and vice versa (Sylar was the worst offender) , characters died and came back
from the dead pointlessly (Hello Nikki/Jessica/Tracy), interesting characters like
Adam Munro were killed off...
Ratings for the show sank. In the first season, the show had reached peaks of 16 million US viewers; by the fourth season, "Heroes" had haemorraged 10 million viewers! The show became the subject of extensive criticism and a punch-line for jokes. Kring further alienated fans by
calling viewers who didn't watch "Heroes" live "saps and dips***s".
It's notable that when the show was finally axed in 2010, there was
no significant campaign by the viewers to save the show-something highly
unusual for a genre series.
So where do you think "Heroes" went wrong? What are the "Cautionary Tales", to quote one of its episodes, TV producers, TV historians and fans should draw from its rise and fall?
Last edited by Residents Fan; 06-21-2011 at 12:25 PM.
Chasing Electro Guy
I was a huge fan of Heroes at first, but I think everything went wrong at season 2. The first season was too focused on the whole "save the cheerleader" plot, so, when they fixed that at the end of the 1st season they went for a more complicated plot. Too complicated and weird. Suddenly everyone had secrets, weird connections with other characters, and blah blah...
I think they tried TOO hard to make the show something bigger than it should have been. And, I grew tired of all the "now Claire´s dad is bad"... "now is good" ... "now he´s bad"... "now is good". Well, not only him... half of the characters went through the same time and time again. It got boring.
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Seraph of Flame
I agree, I think things fell apart with season 2. I really enjoyed the flow and direction of the first season, even some of the scenes and the way they were shot were very well thought-through and picturesque. One of the scenes that sticks out in my memory is the scene where there's a shadow draping down across a stair case, just before Peter confronts Sylar toward the end, to save "the cheerleader." I think the show had great vision for that first season, but for the rest, that vision was wacked over and over again with a meat tenderizer... Very unfortunate.
Head to head with Jones
I agree. I think it was the departure of Bryan Fuller from the show after
Originally Posted by Rekka
S1 that messed "Heroes" up- Kring had no idea how to write a sci-fi
mythology show,and he refused to delegate the writing to someone
who could. He admitted the show's writers didn't plan out episodes
in advance, and they several different writers writing pieces of each
episode, instead of one writer working on each ep. I know Fuller returned
to "Heroes" in s3, but the quality of the show didn't improve (there were
rumours of alleged behind-the-scenes disputes between Fuller and Kring as well).
I felt sorry for the actors in the show. There's an old interview with Stephen Tobolowsky (Bob Bishop, and also in "Glee") where he says he had no idea what was happening in Season 2:
"Think of Bob as a good guy who may actually be a bad guy who's pretending to be a good guy who in essence is a bad guy who makes a turn on the show to be a good guy."
"I tried to engage Dr. Suresh in finding a cure for the deadly virus. Then it was implied that I was using the virus as a weapon. Then it was implied I was trying to isolate the virus so it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. Then it was implied I was developing new strains of the virus in a secret lab...I couldn't keep up with it!"
"There was an article sent to me from "New York" magazine with my picture and a caption saying "Meet the new face of evil on "Heroes"".
Well that was news to me, cos' I didn't know what I'd done to be
Last edited by Residents Fan; 05-21-2011 at 09:19 AM.
Seraph of Flame
lol that quote is hilarious! And oh so true... =\
Head to head with Jones
For a show called "Heroes", it's ironic that the characters rarely did anything
"heroic" after season 1, and spent much of their time complaining about about
their amazing abilities.
For instance, I used to like Claire a lot (not just for her looks ) because she wasn't
the stereotypical cheerleader you see in US high school dramas-she was a good person instead of being vain and nasty. But by the third season, she spent all her time moaning and complaining about "being different" and wanting to be "normal", even
though most people would love to be able to magically heal any injury.
I think there a few steps to the problem, but I think it is the perfect example of a show being torn to pieces by over-analysis by its own fanbase. It was a comic book show, it didn't require the scientific depth that Fringe does.
First of all, Season Two: You forget, that Season Two was being set up for a full year of stories, and was interrupted by the writers strike. Thats the reason Season Two flopped around so much. The original storyline was for Peter and Hiro to fail miserably. This would have led to the darkening of Hiro's character and more plot development towards the good/evil flipflopping of Villains. Adam would have released the virus. Hiro goes home celebrating his "victory" (Adam in the coffin) and sees the virus outbreak on TV. Nathan and Parkman take control and have Peter quarantine Odessa. Meanwhile, a repowered Sylar was supposed to hunt invincible-skin guy and chameleon girl (instead of retreading RCR and shapeshifting) to give a totally new dynamic to the character. Elle would be hunting Sylar (probably being used as bait by her father, who, like the other Company elders, were fighting for the "greater good" by doing very morally grey things. Walter would have fit right in.) In the end, Maya would have stopped the spread of the virus in a heroic sacrifice, dying to save the world. Season Two was definately being primed for stories that it never got to tell, and the ending was changed at the last minute. I actually have a pretty epic plotline in my head that would bridge all of that together and make much more sense of everything.
Season Three, Volume 1 is definately where things started to go wrong, and really, the only place it truly went wrong. By Fugitives and last years arc, things were on the right track, but the aborted S2 and the mess that was V3 had already lost people's patience, and by the time V4 and V5 were improving, everyone was fed up.
V3 had no continuity. It started out telling one story (the earth splitting future, which was later vaguely explained - a world full of formula specials would have overpowered Samuel to the point where he would have been unstoppable.) It pretty much ignored anything from S2, used confusing time travel dynamics, vague explanations, weak character development... I was much more interseted in the way it started, the return of linderman, the bad ass escaped criminals (Jessie was made to be so scary, and was just Banshee, slaughtered by Sylar.) Then it seemed like Adam would be back, only to have the Arthru reveal, only for him to do almost nothing anyways, for someone supposed to be that powerful... then the stupid eclipse story.... i had no problem with Sylar's grey area, even in S1, he wanted to be the hero in a sick way, (when peter exploded), he never wanted to kill innocents and even tried to run back to his mom. The hunger was hinted at as far back as the S1 answering machine message. So for all the hate on the "character derailment" I honestly thought that it was more than passable.
As it is, in my opinion the cliffhanger ended up with an amazing story just waiting to be told, a total S1 throw back and parallel, with Claire on TV, and the Fugitives thread dangling of Samson Grey, once described as "evil incarnate" back on the hunt for the cheerleader, taking the indestructable skin and camoflauge abilities meant for Sylar in S2 (letting him be old and dying, while a formidable opponent, at the same time.) As the headslice murders pile up, everyone blames the reformed Gabriel, and an untrusting, vengeful Parkman goes darkside blaming Gabe for everything. Now that he has all of Nathan's memories and Peter as a friend, everything can change. I have a whole storyline plotted, i wish 9th wonders was still around, thats where all of my musings and notes on the topic were...
Last edited by psychopathicROC; 05-24-2011 at 11:53 PM.
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