Heroes fans – at least some of them – are on the fence this summer. The series that exploded with popularity like no other freshman series in recent memory seems to be losing in a war of attrition in its second season, it’s base of viewers eroding as once loyal fans begin to question if the series has lost its touch. Here’s the good news: there is every reason to be optimistic that Heroes will be back to its oh-my-god-I-can’t-wait-until-next-week best soon, and here are a few good reasons why.
First, I think it’s high time to understand just where the dissatisfaction stems from. It isn’t so much a change in the fabric of the show. Even at its best Heroes, like anything else, was imperfect and had it’s share of awkward – even dumb – moments. What made Heroes so excellent was the density of story material that accreted throughout the season. There were no bits of mystery that were forgotten, or just didn’t belong. Everything stitched together well to form an epic ensemble adventure.
Yes, I am amongst the complainers who said that the finale was inadequate, but I was also amongst the realists that understood that it would be hard to deliver a knock out punch worth of an entire seasons worth of build up. Heroes succeeded because of the vastness of its story. The exploding man was a story that reached into the corner of each and every one of it’s character’s lives, and pulled back the nuance, drama, fear, need, and compulsion that made those individual quests for heroism so unique, and individual.
Like a lot of Heroes fans, I came into season two looking for an extension of that build up. The fact is, though, that story is over. Hence our disappointment. It’s not that Heroes has failed to follow up, it’s that we have not given the show enough time to lacquer the mythic facets and themes of this new journey. Heroes season one was one story, the exploding man. The time for us to be at the emotional height of that tale has come and gone.
Complaining about the failure to follow up won’t help Heroes tell it’s story any faster. For that, the show simply needs time. We would best serve the show by trusting the creators to do what they did so well the first time around: take their time coloring in archetypal characters with enough nuance to make theme empathically real for us, then place the end game in site, in all of it’s apocalyptic glory.
If it helps, consider this: a lot of Heroes fans consider “Company Man” to be the tipping point into greatness for Heroes season one. “Company Man” was episode 17. Tomorrow, “The Line” will premiere, Episode six of the second season. In episode six of season one, we met future Hiro for the first time, Peter was just beginning to understand what his power was, and Zachary Quinto had yet to give guise to Sylar.
There’s still time for Heroes to keep on par with season one, but will you be one of the Heroes fans playing catch up when it hits its stride?
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)