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We Don’t Need Another Heroes

May 15th, 2010

The TV gods giveth, the TV gods taketh away. On the same day that V was renewed, it was announced that Heroes will not be coming back. Despite the latter’s weak ratings, it was widely anticipated that NBC would give the show a final, shortened season to wrap up any dangling plot threads.

It may be difficult to recall, but there was once a time when Heroes was the golden child of serialized drama. Its premiere season coincided with the period in which Lost was foundering. While Lost was relating the infamous tale of Jack’s tattoos, Heroes barreledĀ ahead with big revelations and jaw-dropping cliffhangers. (Remember cheerleader Claire waking up in the middle of her own autopsy?) Back then, I referred to Heroes as “the show on which shit actually happens.”

And then it all went downhill. Fast.

As brilliant as was most of that first season, it was hard not to feel disappointed by the finale. The long-promised showdown at Kirby Plaza fizzled. What should have been a Superman II-level donnybrook between two immensely powerful characters became a few perfunctory punches.

Yet I think if Heroes had stopped there, it would still be well-regarded overall. Unfortunately, there were three more seasons.

What happened? Well, for one, it turned out that the writers only had one story in them. The Company is bad! The Company is necessary! Everyone should have powers! No one should have powers! I’ve seen the future and New York City is destroyed!

Another major problem was that the series had three characters who were theoretically unstoppable. Hiro had total mastery over time and space. Syler had dozens of stolen abilities. And by the end of the first season, Peter could mimic the powers of virtually every hero and villain.

This, of course, could not stand. So Hiro was lost in time, Syler lost his powers and Peter lost his memory. Then they all got better. Then Hiro and Peter lost their own powers. Then they got them back…but not as good. Then Hiro got cancer. Then he got better. Then Syler was good. Then he was evil. And then good again.

By the conclusion of the fourth season, it was very difficult to care. Yet I stuck with the show to its bitter end. Vic says that it was because I’m a completist. I can’t disagree.

While I’m kinda sorry that Heroes didn’t get its victory lap, it’s not as if its cancellation wasn’t well-earned.

I’ve still got the first season on DVD. One of these days it’ll be fun to pop those discs into my player and relive the days when “Save the cheerleader, save the world” seemed like it meant something.

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