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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Question - How Would You Fix Heroes?

Topless Robot points out that Heroes has gotten to the state where commercials for the show point out it's been sagging - and I have to admit that I haven't watched the show since Sylar put on a suit and started acting like a bad Men in Black impersonation.

So I don't even know if I could answer my own question, but I know one thing - at this point it would be painful. Just a few personal notes:

- Some of the ensemble has to go. Take an existing character and revamping them just to fit the plot better is plain stupid and gets rather insulting to the viewers after a while. Kill some people, bring in fresh blood.

- Along with that ... remaining characters need to become internally consistent. Hiro should use his powers in one episode similar to how he does in an another, and not conveniently forgetting he can control time simply because he has a inconvenient power.

- On the inconvenient note, it should be added that in general ubercharacters are pretty dull (and generally inconvenient to your plot). The entire "power sucking" concept got out of hand quickly in the show and only got worse. Characters who can't be killed and can kill everything are just problematic.

- Plotwise, the show has always been hackneyed for me. It has decent themes, but relies way to much on nascent subplots that never really go anywhere and character development which seems like it can turn on a dime. I haven't watched lately so I don't know where the whole "creating superpowers conspiracy" core plot went, but the show needs to find themes which can work season to season, and not feel like it is picking up the pieces each time.

So basically: Kill some people off. Add some new ones. Be consistent. Get a trailer which convinces me you have a story worth saving.


sterno said...

the big problem with Heroes is that they burned themselves out after one season. They took a story arc that could have played out over say five seasons and ran through it in one. Then they had to come up with a second season and it all went down hill from there.

I think last season they briefly scratched the surface of a plot that could have sustained it. But in essence they just need to steal from the X-men. I'd say move the story maybe 20 years into the future and have it be a world where mutants have been revealed and are hunted.

One group of mutants, the Petrelli camp, would be trying to work with non-mutants and trying to find some reasonable way of settling things. One group of mutants, the Sylar camp, would be seeking out ways to turn non-mutants into mutants, exterminate them, and generally take over.

In that setup you can have relatively powerful mutants because they offset eachother. Hell, have Peter get his original power back and then have him go toe to toe with Sylar in a major city and wipe out large swaths of it. Ultimately it turns into a stalemate, but it feeds energy into the anti-mutant cause.

You could sustain that battle for years and have it be interesting. Each season concluding some major plot, some turn in the war, etc. Plan out a 3-5 year story arc where all of these lead to a final conclusion. Do the mutants take over the planet? Are they exterminated? Will they save the cheerleader? Tune in and find out!

Josh said...

Yeah, I think season two got trapped by the whole "we have to stop fate" concept from the first season and it ended up burying nearly every plotline that tried to crop up after.

So right - the show either needed an internal conflict which could be sustained over multiple seasons - or be a more generic superhero vehicle in general. The latter would probably have sucked in the first season, of course :)

sterno said...

The latter would probably have sucked in the first season, of course

Right, and that's the big problem with network TV right now. Because audiences have been fragmented so much, the tolerance for weak ratings on a show is pretty thin. So shows are pushed to come out of the door very strong and potentially risk their long term survival.

It can be done properly (Lost and BSG come to mind), but it's easy to much it up (Heroes).