Oh, Heroes, what’s to be done with you? Why are you putting me through this? I loved you, but you’ve let me down lately and I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m at my wits end. I had thought, after the disastrous Season 2, that you would get back on track. You worked your way back to some of your former glory, but it took so much time for you to clean up your act. Now, I hear things. Worrisome news, really, and I’m at a loss.
For example, the recent confirmation that producer Bryan Fuller is leaving the show. For those of you who don’t know, Bryan was a producer during Season 1, arguably the best season of the show thus far (and I say “arguably”, because I know there are at least three people out there who will argue with me, because at least three people always argue with me). Then he left and I honestly can’t remember why, but I think we all remember Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3. If you don’t, it’s because you managed to drink enough alcohol to block the memory from your brain.
Towards the end of Season 3, Bryan returned as producer to the show and it really started to pick up again. While the whole Fugitives Volume wasn’t the best, it got a lot better towards the end when we learned more about Coyote Sands and Mama Petrelli’s past. The show was getting good again. Now, there’s word that Bryan is too busy working on other shows for NBC to focus on Heroes. Oh, they say he’ll still be a consulting producer, but come on, the dude is basically gone from the show.
Remember when the show held such promise? Remember when “save the cheerleader, save the world” was practically a freaking anthem? Remember when everyone was all “uh….those Petrelli brothers hug each other a little too much, don’t they?” Now people don’t even care enough to comment on the somewhat inappropriate brotherly love and it just makes me sad. Because I want my show back. In light of this, I’ve put together a little wish list for the producers. A list of my suggestions that might help improve the situation once and for all. Here goes:
(1) No more new characters. Remember Maya and that brother of hers? Ugh. Big mistake. Remember Peter’s Irish girlfriend who was basically left all alone in the future because people didn’t really give a crap whether she lived or died? What I really remember is the character-centric story-lines of Season 1. I want the show to focus on the old characters, the ones I actually care about: the Bennetts, the Petrellis, maybe even Tracy if they can figure out what to do with her.
Anyone will tell you that a show occasionally needs some new blood and that’s true, but introducing new characters and focusing on them at the expense of the old characters that we actually like is problematic. Because, to be honest with you, none of the new characters ever last. For example, where’s Maya, or Irish Girlfriend, or Elle (although, I kind of liked her) or any of the other new characters introduced in Seasons 2 and 3? You know where they are? They’re mostly dead and that’s a good thing in many cases.
I think the show started to realize this towards the end of last season and really started focusing on the original characters again (think back to the recent season finale….were any of the new characters even in it?). I want this to continue, but then I hear about all sorts of new characters being introduced in the next season: carnival people, a new love interest for Peter, a new roommate for Claire. Sigh. Really? How long will these people last and why should I care?
(2) Heroes is about characters, not superpowers. Let’s be honest, we all know that Heroes is a character-driven show. It’s not Transformers, right? It’s not just about CGI and special effects. Yes, we all love to see new and cool powers or see our heroes using their powers, but lately the writers have thrown way too many powers into the mix and things have gotten confusing. I’m still really confused about the status of Peter’s powers. I don’t need to see a new character who has the ability to imitate everything they see on TV (oops, they did that one already, didn’t they?).
My point is, I liked the show better when they focused more on character development and used the powers to aid that character development or explore issues with the characters. So, producers, writers….whoever….we don’t need you to keep coming up with new, crazy powers in order to keep our interest, alright? Just make me interested in the characters again.
(3) Stop traveling through time, you bloody time travelers. Some shows do amazing things with time travel. Case in point: the series finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (damn you, Fox, for canceling that show). When John Connor jumped into the future, thereby wiping out his past and essentially becoming a nobody in the future where he was supposed to be the bloody savior of humanity, I was shouting “awesome!” I have no doubt that had the show continued, it would have totally kicked ass with that time travel story.
Heroes, however, does not do time travel well. Like, ever. The few times that characters have gone into the future, nothing’s really happened. Oh, sure, one time the future managed to conveniently get rid of that Irish chick, but those episodes were really kind of pointless. So……Sylar’s living in the future Bennett house with a son and Mr. Muggles and….what? Why does that matter? Hiro traveled back in time and we had that whole situation that I’m not even going to mention because it just makes me angry.
I think the only time travel episode I liked was the glimpse five years into the future (episode 1.20 “Five Years Gone”), where Peter and Nikki were together and Nathan was actually Sylar and the president. That was all dark and moody but, really, the episode still kind of had no point even if it was awesome. Heroes is never really about changing the past or the future, no matter what it claims, because the time travel episodes are generally self-contained and one-off. There’s no point in wasting precious screen time in either of those locations anymore, so please stop.
(4) Robert Knepper may very well be the one exception to the “no more new characters” recommendation. Seriously, that guy was awesome as T-Bag in Prison Break and I have no doubt that he’ll be awesome in this show. If you absolutely insist on bringing in new actors, Knepper was a good choice. Let’s focus on him interacting with our original characters. And if there’s a way to make him a Southern, creepy pedophile, then roll with it. I’m telling you, he does that well.
(5) Stop trying to change the characters’ personalities. Listen, people don’t change, alright? Any girl who’s tried to change a boyfriend or husband will attest to this fact. So why is Heroes trying to change the fundamental personalities of characters? Nathan will always been ambitious, but still love his brother. Sylar is EVIL. Claire is a cheerleader with powers. So when did Sylar turn into a somewhat noble person? And why did Claire go on that huge “I want to be a hero” quest? And why is Hiro acting all serious all of a sudden? These changes in personality just bugs me, because it also relates to #1 and #2 above. When I say I want to see more focus on the original character-driven stories, I mean with original personalities of the original characters.
Sure, sure, people grow and adapt and circumstances change, but making the characters do all sorts of out-of-character things just drives me crazy. Like, for example, making Mohinder some sort of evil scientist. WTF?! Where the heck did that come from?
(6) Go back to basics. Listen, reinventing a show is all well and good, but only if the show sucks. Yes, the Season 1 finale of Heroes may have not been as good as the preceding episodes, but I think we can agree it was still better than a lot of stuff that followed it. The show didn’t need to go in a new direction. This suggestion is basically a summary of the others: go back to what made your show great. Go back to character-driven plots with the original characters that we liked. That’s it.
Well, that all doesn’t sound so hard, right? What do you guys think? Do you disagree? Agree? What are some of your suggestions?