Heroes S2 Premieres Monday Night
I’m not much of one for “appointment television.” And since, unlike James, I don’t have a TiVo (or much interest in getting one), I much prefer watching shows on DVD (no commercials, no waiting a week – or more – for cliffhangers to resolve). There have only been a handful of shows in recent years I’ve been willing to make an exception for: BSG and Dexter last year, for instance. Lost, when it returns, will be on the list. And, I regret (a little) to say, I’m now going to have to add one Mondays starting next week, even though it means switching away from MNF for an hour.
I’ve been pulling Heroes down from Netfix since it came out on DVD a couple of weeks ago and finished the finale with only a few days to spare before S2 begins. One of the truly striking things about the show is that S1 – unlike most shows that take a while to get their feet under them and for the actors and writers alike to come to grips with who the characters are – had the clarity and consistency of a show that had been a going concern for multiple years.
I credit this to the vision of the creative team behind the show. The attention to detail is outstanding. A really nice touch I noticed as I watched S1 in a foreshortened period was that when they do the “Previously On” segments, they occasionally show a slightly different version of an event than what was broadcast originally.
The first time I really noticed it was when the thugs in the alley knock out Ando. The change was subtle, just a different camera angle. So I didn’t think much of it. But as the season progressed, more striking changes cropped up, including differences in dialogue. Once or twice, you’d write off to editing errors. But it happened almost every time they did a recap to one degree or another. Which leads me to conclude that it was a subtle way of showing that neither the past nor the future is set, a very artful way of underscoring the arc of the story. I heartily approve.
Most of the commentators talk about how “grounded” in “reality” this “superhero” show is. And there’s something to that. Its premise certainly connects to an ordinary person’s wish fulfillment tendencies more than, say, a guy from another planet who gets his powers from the colour of the Sun. But for me, that’s merely an aspect of the really important thing: The strength of the story. Heroes is cut from the classic Hero’s Journey mold, to be sure. Only instead of one farmboy from a backwater planet with a secret destiny, it’s the journey of over a dozen, not all of whom are “special.” And every element matters, every character contributes something meaningful to the whole; just another example of the attention to detail and a major contributor to the overall impression of a show that’s been around longer than just one season. That, and the finale’s epilogue, suggest that the show will stay as strong and compelling going forward.
UPDATE (8:24 PM): Sadly, the revelation that Hiro is a Cowboys fan forces me to question every positive thing I’ve said here about the show.