Today Variety reported that top Heroes producers Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander were fired over “creative differences.” What that means is a mystery, but clearly NBC was unhappy with the direction of the show, and Loeb and Alexander are being held accountable.
Only time will tell if this is a good move, but it’s hard to believe that a sci-fi show like Heroes wouldn’t benefit from the input of these two. Loeb is a comic book writer who has also worked on Lost and Smallville, while Alexander worked on Alias and Lost. Those two were let go, and creator Tim Kring, whose previous works include Providence and Crossing Jordan, is staying.
To me, it seems like an obvious mistake that will make the show less focused on what makes it great (the superhero, comic book-inspired elements), and more focused on the relationship drama of the Petrelli family. Heroes has let go two talented, knowledgeable sci-fi, comic book guys and kept Kring, who has stated several times that he is unfamiliar with the X-Men franchise.
It’s always possible that Loeb and Alexander were the ones pushing for more of a departure from the sci-fi, comic book world, but I doubt that. The problem is that NBC and Heroes don’t seem to know what the problem is. It’s not that viewers don’t have enough of an emotional connection to the characters, it’s that we want to see cool comic book, sci-fi action, not the whining, preening faces of stars like Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere, who look more like CW stars than superheroes.
Heroes needs to lose some dead weight, and these two executive producers were not it. Characters like Nathan and Peter Petrelli have become stale and uninteresting, more obsessed with personal issues than saving the world. The same goes for Claire, who has been isolated from the main storyline from the beginning. She might be an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s hard to take her seriously as a part of the show when she’s never shared a scene with Hiro.
I have no personal ill will towards these actors, but the characters need to be killed off so the story can focus back onto the idea of superheroes. Maybe it’s true that Loeb and Alexander have been the ones pushing for more of these stories that deal with interpersonal relationships over the iconic world of comic books, but it seems unlikely.
All I have to go on is past performance, and the choice is clear. Should Heroes be led by guys with a background in sci-fi TV shows and comic books, or a man who proudly boasts about not knowing comic books who also created a procedural drama about a medical examiner investigating crimes? Based on the past, it seems Heroes fired the wrong executive producer.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)