Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's like Deja Vu on "Heroes"

First, to get this out of the way, the best show on TV last night wasn't "Chuck" or "Life" and it certainly wasn't the "Volume Finale" of "Heroes."

It was the Patriots-Ravens football game, which kept my stomach in knots for nearly three hours. I love that the Ravens players are now whining like thuggy bitches about how the NFL wanted the Patriots to win and conspired. Sure, there were some spotty calls down the stretch, particularly when it became clear that the Pats weren't so eager to win the game by themselves. But the NFL didn't screw over the Ravens' defense by calling a time-out and nullifying a 4th down stop with two minutes left. The NFL wasn't mugging Moss, Stallworth and Welker all game in the secondary. The NFL didn't throw a temper tantrum and get 30 yards of penalties tacked on to the final kickoff. And the NFL didn't provide the wind that knocked down Kyle Boller's last ditch Hail Mary two yards short of the end zone.

The NFL also didn't cause Tony Kornheiser to spend nearly four quarters talking about what a huge upset this would be, as if there were no other subplots to discuss in the game or the wide world of sports. I love "PTI" and I admire Kornheiser, but he comes into every game with one or two talking points and then he has difficulties transitioning and adapting to the requirements of the game.

Meanwhile, if the Patriots can't get back to their previously impenetrable offensive line play soon, they'll get tough games from both the Steelers and Giants down the stretch.

Anyway, "Heroes" wrapped up the first pod of the new season with a series of anti-climaxes, a bunch of mighty familiar plot twists and one appealingly demented twist.

More on that after the bump.

Click through...

[Spoilers to follow.]

The one thing I want to give the "Heroes" episode credit for is the ultimate fate of David Anders' Sark... er... Adam. We don't usually think of Hiro as being a sadistic mofo, but burying an immortal guy alive in a tight coffin? that's pretty messed up.

It seems like just last May when "Heroes" left viewers disappointed by a season finale that included...

Nathan Petrelli's life in doubt after using his previously untapped brotherly bond to help contain Peter Petrelli's potentially unruly powers.

Poor technopath Micah having to deal with the death of a parent.

Claire the Cheerleader about to go into hiding to protect her identity.

So imagine my double-disappointment that Monday (Dec. 3) night's "Heroes" had to rely on the exact same plot triggers and that the shocking segue into the hypothetical next Volume -- Sylar's alive and he has all his powers back -- seemed plenty familiar as well.

As chagrinned as many fans may have been to see this latest lot of "Heroes" episodes, imagine being Ali Larter and sitting down with the writers last summer.

"So what do I get to do this season?"


"Oh. That's disappointing."

"It gets better."

"Well that's a relief."

"Not only will you be a non-factor for most of the episodes, but you'll lose your powers."

"I'm actually not sure what my powers are."

"Neither are we. But we've come up with a great finishing arc."


"Well, it's not so much as an arc as a great way to finish you."

"Ummm... Do I save the world? Do I defeat a super-villain?"

"No. But you pistol-whip a teenaged hoodlum and appear to die saving a newly introduced character in a subplot that only barely ties in with the main narrative."

"Screw you guys."

Poor Ali Larter. Her arc this season was more demeaning than trying to seduce Dawson Leary in a whipped cream bikini. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sorry to be all over the map, but can I go back to Sylar for a second. Do you want a microcosm of why this season has been so very, very underwhelming? Last year, everything built to him attempting to destroy the world using every power imaginable. On Monday's episode, he was able to carry out his master plan by holding a 10-year-old girl hostage and waving a gun around. Ah, budget cuts.

And this sets up an upcoming Volume in which Sylar has lots of powers and tries to take over/destroy/manipulate the world? Maybe it's time to start watching "Two and a Half Men" instead.

A few other random thoughts:

  • Are we just going to leave Peter's Oirish girlfriend in the bizarro alternate future? Or when that future ceases to be viable, does she magically bounce back to her own present? Does anybody care?

  • And Peter eliminated the virus by squeezing it really hard? That's how Superman makes diamonds. The twist I was hoping for was that the evaporated virus might have negated Peter, Nathan and Matt's powers. That would have been hilarious, if at the press conference Nathan had been all "I have the ability... to fly" and then he'd try flying away from the stage and fallen into the front row of hastily assembled press. Tee-hee.

  • I loved the picture of Veronica Mars' dad Ned Ryerson proudly smiling with his fish. I didn't understand why Ned's computer had the only security system in the world where you can actually read the password as it's being typed. Yes. "Midas." Very clever. Ned Ryerson's power didn't really come into play very much, did it?

  • Tell me that we're done with Obnoxious Flying West forever. Please?

    Anyway, I've got some Zap2it work to review. At some point I'll also try to go through my weekend Netflix haul, which was massive.

    1. But IS Adam immortal if he doesn't eat? I mean, he's just going to starve/dehydrate to death. Right? Probably not, knowing this show.

      I am so over Heroes. I wish Kristen Bell would leave so I could be done with it for good. I keep thinking of how much more interesting she could have been on Lost, where they have writers who can actually form character arcs that make sense. (Well, most of the time.) And this is coming from someone who isn't all that much of a Lost fan!

      Bell is just giving her character so much more nuance than is on the page, but it's frustrating as a viewer because you know those shades of gray will never be fully explored by the writing team.

    2. We were discussing your first point at work yesterday, Carrie. Being immortal doesn't necessarily mean Adam doesn't require certain necessities, but maybe it does. Can his body regenerate fat and muscle even as it begins devouring itself? That might make his demise even more messed up, wouldn't it?

      I suspect that Bell would have been better off going to Broadway and doing "Legally Blonde" than she would have been on *either* Heroes or Lost. She's gonna be a tough actress for people to write for...