Not since the decline of Twin Peaks has a television series fallen from grace quite as quickly as Heroes has done. At least Peaks had the benefit of being cancelled before it could get any worse than it already was. Heroes has had no such luck.
Hard to think now but only a few years ago Heroes was a global phenomenon. It had everything; critical acclaim, high ratings, the cast splattered on numerous magazine covers, everyone was repeating the catchphrase “save the cheerleader, save the world”, overnight it had achieved near universal success. Then season two happened. “Meh” was the general response to this lukewarm season, mercifully cut short by that infamous writer’s strike. Creator Tim Kring promised that next season would be better. The writers had seen where they went wrong and wouldn’t make the same mistakes with season three.
I wasn’t there when Kring said all this but I’m willing to bet his pants were starting to overheat at the time. While season three is not as bad as season two that’s simple because it is much, much worse. This season is so bad you’d almost think Kring and his team were deliberately trying to scuttle the ship. Maybe they were. Must’ve come as a shock to them when NBC renewed the show for a forth season. Some might see this as a sign of network faith in the series. I see it as further evidence that 30 Rock is actually a documentary about how inept things really are at NBC.
The season is divided into two volumes; ‘Villains’ and ‘Fugitives’. The first volume had the potential to be brilliant and for a brief time it did seem as if the show was returning to previous form. But all our good faith was misplaced as one by one the episodes get increasingly worse. The characters we once loved and adored had all been replaced by pod people. They might look and sound the same but their thoughts and actions were radically differently from the people we knew in season one.
‘Villains’ was meant to make us loves Heroes all over again but instead turned everyone off even more. The second volume ‘Fugitives’ is a slight improvement featuring a much better adversary in the form of Zeljko Ivanek. Bryan Fuller briefly returns to the writing staff, injecting so much need fun back into the mix. But by this point the lasting damage has already been done and not even the mighty Fuller could salvage this shipwreck.
Throughout the season you struggle to care what happens to these characters anymore. That original sense of excitement and wonder that enticed everyone during the first season has been completely lost. The show’s fall from grace has been equally tragic and infuriating for those of us who were willing enough to stay with the show up to this point. As the season came to a close once again Tim Kring promised that the fourth season would be better. They’d learned all their mistakes from season three and wouldn’t make them again.
Tell it to someone who cares, mate.
Rating: * *
-The Super Powers of Heroes
-Genetics of a Scene
-The Prop Box
-Tim Sale Galleries of Screen Art
-Completing the Scene
-The Writer's Forum