A couple of days ago I asked you to give Heroes a chance. Since then, one of my more adept contemporaries – you know who you are – has landed me with a much needed slap to the consciousness. Aside from his sage “where is your head?’ wake-up call, another thing has happened to get me back on the side of putting the pressure on the Heroes crew. I watched “The Line.”
The moment I saw Claire back in cheerleader duds when the first season 2 promos began to circulate, I began to worry. Good character-driven stories result in changes and growth. For Claire, in particular, the first season represented her growth away from the shallow high school cliques and onto a journey of purpose. Her descent back into high school girl envy and me-tooism, not to mention mean spirited revenge, is sad evidence that Heroes writing team is not dedicated to attaining the character dimensions of season one.
Even Peter’s rebirth has moved away from it’s enigmatic and possibility-loaded genesis and has become an ambling sequence of plot conveniences that seem to be less about Peter’s journey of self discovery, and more about getting him into the center of the plot, shoe horned mystery woman and all.
The subplot with Hiro has been predictable since him being the one to facilitate his own idol’s feats, up to his idol betraying him. Now all we need is the very predictable reveal that Hiro brought the virus back and gave it to Kensei after coming in contact with Sylar’s blood. I wonder what kind of mutations the virus will take after a couple of thousands of years.
The fact is, Heroes is too young to be drawing from its own clichés, and in the world of graphic novels and comic books the series has become, with its second season at least, proof positive that television can corrupt the most indelible art forms.
Have I lost hopes like the millions that seem to be bailing on the show every week? No way. But the Heroes producers could learn a thing or two from their ailing follow-up, Journeyman, about how to mix extraordinary circumstances with intricately drawn characters.
Now is the time for fans to draw “The Line” for Heroes writers. For starters, how about telling us stories about Heroes for a change. Heroes overcome the temptations of their power, they don’t fall back into the same old social traps like Claire, or play connect-the-dots with some Deus Ex Machina like Peter. They don’t revert back to their primal, torturous ways like HRG, whose growth should have more in the direction of finding a better way, particularly in times like these.
Heroes is simply not about Heroes anymore. The closest we get is the boy/man Hiro, the closest to an archetypal personage that Jung or Campbell would have approved of, but even they would have asked why Hiro has not begun to shed his childishness by the second season, particularly in the wake of crash Samurai training and running through the dragon after a Kurosawa-esque road trip through America’s great stereotypical stomping grounds left his virtues unbroken.
There is hope for Heroes in the grounds of its impetus, the comic world. There, writers have become experts at turning over the archetypal journeys of the hero in endless variations with a seemingly infinite capacity for originality. Aren’t those the same guys we have been told are working on Heroes? Or is the series now co-written by Nissan’s copyrighters?
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)