Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday Moanin'

Heroes is a bit better than it's been, but a lot of it is a dead cat bounce.

The latest episode had everyone losing their powers during an eclipse (does that also mean they have no powers in a galaxy with a red sun?), which may not make too much sense, but at least offers something different, and requires the characters to use a bit of ingenuity.

On the other hand, the show continues to suffer from the disease of having characters do whatever fits at the moment, without regard to any past or future events. Daphne either loves or hates Parkman, and seemed to be mostly stuck in hate mode this week. Sylar and Elle looked like they were becoming good guys, but they were suddenly bad guys again. Nathan and Peter used to love each other, but started squabbling again. Arthur Petrelli, who seemed completely in control the past few weeks, suddenly had no idea what to do. Suresh continues to be unreadable. Noah figured he could teach Claire what would normally take months or years of training by having her swing a two-by-four for a couple hours. Tracy, the latest Ali Larter character, has turned, and seems ready to be killed, since she has another life left. Hiro is now 10 years old, and it's hard to tell the difference.

How do things look for the future? Well, showrunner Tim Kring has taken over again, but, if you're heard his latest statements, that may not be a good thing.

Speaking of Monday night sci fi TV, it looks like The Sarah Connor Chronicles isn't long for the world. Its second season's got half as many viewers as its first. Some of this is scheduling, but it's also about weak new characters, bad new plotlines, and dull stories.

I'll be sorry to see the show disappear. It's always had two things going for it--female leads Lena Headey and Summer Glau. Perhaps concentrating more on them would have worked better.


Blogger QueensGuy said...

Aw, man. Am I really the only one who loves Terminator? It's one of maybe three shows that are absolute must-watches for me.

8:07 AM, November 26, 2008  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I just got caught up on Heroes. I had watched S1 last year. In the past few weeks, I rewatched S1, watched S2, watched the webisodes, and watched S3 -- getting caught up on Sunday, then watching Eclipse Part One on Monday.

I also then went back and read your archived reviews of earlier Heroes episodes.

I must say that my overall impression of S3 is better than yours. By now, I am used to our characters behaving irrationally. And S3 can't hold a candle to S2, where Peter -- after his memories were restored -- chooses to fight for the girl he "loves" (i.e., just met) against his brother, who claims that Adam Monroe is evil. And never once does it occur to Peter than since he can READ MINDS, the answer is immediately accessible.

Also, S2 failed to explain (1) why Suresh switched sides; (2) why Noah killed the Russian guy ["to keep his actions secret" -- but the company knew instantly the full details of everything he did]; (3) why Angela was suddenly evil.

So when S3 fails to explain (1) why Angela is suddenly good; (2) why all the good guys, faced with a frightening but totally unknown Pinehurst Company, all suddenly decide that Primatech can be trusted; (3) why S2 Gabriel was wicked enough to exploit poor Maya who loves him, but the moment a total stranger claims to be his mother or father, he follows their every command even when they lock him in a dungeon -- well, I don't think it's any worse than S2.

Throughout the whole show there have been constant inconsistencies. In S2, Elle has never been let out of the Primatech compound; now we learn that she had and assignment and even a relationship with Gabriel. In late S2 it is said that Claire and Peter can only be killed by decapitation; later, Angela says that a bullet to the brain will suffice. (And how could she know this?) Even taking S1 by itself, Linderman's mobster activities in the early episodes seem very inconsistent with his cultured yet evil plans at the end.

They also drop characters like crazy: Caitlin, the two kids (okay, sure, the actors got too old, but surely they could give us a word about what happened to Molly and why Matt and Suresh don't care about her anymore), Matt's wife, the annoying New Orleans girl and Uhura, and now Maya. Sometimes even Claire's brother appears to be forgotten by the scriptwriters. Yes, some of these characters are annoying -- but the solution is to write them out of the show, not to pretend they don't exist.

I must give them credit for one consistency, however. In the very first episode of S1, Peter had the power of prophetic dreams. Once we learned that he could absorb powers, I wondered: who is the person from whom he has absorbed this power? I deduced it was his mom, and two years later we finally learn that this is the case.

12:08 PM, November 26, 2008  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

One other thing I give them credit for. When they swipe, they give credit. The Linderman plot in late S1 was stolen from Watchmen, so they gave credit by explicitly saying that the plan was to kill HALF OF NEW YORK: specific enough that we would know they were acknowledging their source.

Similarly, Suresh's story in early S3 (scientist nerd discovers girlfriend and human-mutating discovery at the same time, but then he mutates and becomes a monster and scares her) was swiped in concept and in detail from the Jeff Goldblum The Fly. Even to the point of him looking in a mirror and noticing weird growths on his back, while she lay peacefully sleeping in his bed.

12:12 PM, November 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with QG. Losing Lena sucks.

1:16 PM, November 26, 2008  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I ilked the first season of Heroes a lot. It had a breathless pace, interesting characters (some of them) with good origin stories, great curtains, and other good things along the way, such as the unveiling of Sylar, or the is-he-good-or-is-he-bad HRG. And to tie it all together, the Save The Cheerleader Save The World concept that tied it all together. But even then I criticized the show for some inconsistencies (sometimes they seemed to be making it up as the went along), paper-thin characters, some bad powers and, worst of all, a huge letdown of a finale. The real trouble is, the show has never recovered from that finale. It's been in a tailspin ever since, trying to recapture the fun and excitement of the first season. The truncated second season and what I've seen so far of the third season suggests strongly they haven't yet found their footing.

4:27 PM, November 26, 2008  

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