Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Heroes - 'One Giant Leap' (1x03)

This show continues to impress with another strong hour. Three episodes in, we seem to have all the major players set, and their seperate plot strands are gradually moving together. I get the sense that this show will be different from your usual series in that there's not going to be a set status quo. At this point, all the characters are seperate, but if they meet up, which seems like it'll happen fairly quickly, possibly by the November nuclear event or at least by the end of the first season, and once they're together the show will have to radically alter its structure and provide a more concerete objective for the heroes.

As I've mentioned before, this reminds me of Carnivale. That was a show with a split structure that slowly brought its characters together. Carnivale made a big point of its slow pace, which became frustrating by the middle of the second season. That's why it bothers me to see people complain that the plot here is moving too slow, it's in the third episode! We have to understand the characters in their own context or their meeting won't have much meaning. Carnivale never got a third season, so it's unclear how the show would have proceeded from the meeting of all the characters at the end of the second season. Supposedly, there would be a leap forward in time, an idea that would be interesting for this series to do. After a couple of seasons, they could jump forward to a world where more people are super powered and it's gradually restructuring society.

I was glad to see that the show got a full season pick up, and is getting generally good ratings. This show has so much potential, I hope the creators get to tell the whole story they have in mind. I haven't read much on the behind the scenes aspects, but I do hope that they have a definitive ending in mind, and are willing to cut off the show when they reach that point.

The issue with this split story format is that some are better than others. Niki's stuff is still weak and Nathan doesn't have much going on. However, the rest are all interesting. And, even in the lesser storylines we still get the occasional fantastic moment, like the cut from Peter and Simone kissing to the artist looking at the drawing of the two of them, a really well done visual and emotional moment.

Hiro is still the highlight and I love the dynamic with him and his friend. The setpiece with him saving the girl was really well done. Also, the idea that they're following this comic from the future as a guideline for how to live in the present is fantastic, very Morrison. It's also a great metaphor for the idea that these people have a special destiny. For him, it was literally written, and how he will deal with his powers now that he's reached the end of the book.

Greg Grunberg's Matt also has some good stuff. I like the lack of sensationalism about his powers, it's just something that he's developed. The scene where Sylar forces Clea Duvall to almost shoot herself was fantastic. I do hope that Clea sticks around, since she's a great actress and will perhaps justify my endless comparison of the show to Carnivale.

Claire is the other standout character so far. It's a bit contrived that she continually suffers mortal injuries, but my fanwank is that her bones are more malleable due to the healing process, so this spike might go through her head whereas it would only bump a normal person. The rape attempt was pretty intense, though, as with Veronica Mars, I take issue with using rape as a way to raise the stakes in the story. Though, it fits better with this show's tone than with Veronica's. And that final scene with her was great.

So, the show continues to roll along. Other than Battlestar, this is the show I'm most interested in right now. It's surprising that a network would commission a show like this, and it's great that it's been so successful. But that's a great example of how TV has changed, we're in the medium's golden age right now.


Keith said...

I really enjoyed the third episode and while Niki is, in a way, less dynamic than the other characters - I think that story is compelling simply because we don't quite know what's going on yet. The other super powers are faily well defined already.

I'm really enjoying it.

Patrick said...

I don't really dislike the Niki story, it just feels like more of a cliche than some of the others. But, the fact that she's a mother could have an interesting impact on what happens when she gets caught up in whatever big conflict this is building towards. I'm really glad this has caught on, since I'd hate to see the story get cut off in the middle of stuff, a la Carnivale.