So, Heroes is getting a quasi-reboot thanks to Mark Verhei-can’tspellhislastname from the Battlestar writing staff around the 2nd ep of the “Fugitives” arc, and original creator Bryan Fuller returning toward the end, the latter being the only reason I’m hopeful, but that late in, it may already be cancelled.
is a show that began to mirror comics so much that it gained all of their pitfalls rapidly and has gotten lost in a haze of X-men
storylines that miss the point of the original metaphor. As fun as crossovers like X-Cutioner’s Song
were in the late 80s and early 90s at the height of my comic mania, that was, to be honest, because I didn’t know any better (much like how kids growing up during the Creed and Nickelback Clearchannel Wasteland don’t know that music isn’t supposed to sound this generic until they get exposed to older stuff). The truth is that those stories were fun action romps, but the original point of X-men
was that of the opressed minority, and the expanded Claremont stuff
that made X-men
what they are made it not just about minorities, but the far more universal theme of being an outcast at all. The stories remain relevant and poignant when they keep this in mind. Heroes
lost its way when it stopped being a character piece and became a superhero show, which is not what it is. The soap operatic interfamilial drama, the ridiculous plot twists and interconnectivity without the meaning behind it of a show like Lost
— and worst of all, without any semblance of a plan, like Lost
Verheiden or what have you coming on in ep 2 does not help in my opinion because the last thing Heroes needs is the Battlestar treatment. Already, Galactica is becoming an somewhat outdated metaphor that should have been allowed to complete when it was supposed to — before the election. The last thing we need now is an extremely dark, cynical Heroes where everyone is on the run, dying, and turning on one another. Those were extremely relevant in the Bush days, but now, not so much. Not to be overly optimistic about the Obama reign — I don’t actually believe its own hype. There’s only so much he’ll be allowed to change, but it’s actually the idea that my fellow countrymen elected him that makes the world more hopeful anyway. And that is what Heroes provided — it was the anti-Battlestar in season 1. Everything was about hope and sacrifice in both shows, but Hiro defines Heroes. There was an idealism, the one thing Battlestar has never been. If Battlestar was the guy pointing out why Bush sucked, Heroes was the guy telling us why Obama ruled. (Lost is, of course, the guy voting for Ron Paul in their heart but refusing to actually participate in elections between “puppets.”)
The return of Fuller does not make my hope spring eternal either, first and foremost because his return happens so late in the season that it will most likely remind Angel fans of the last ep of the dreadful season 4, that revived hope in the show but came a little too late to save a season that probably got the show cancelled prematurely despite an excellent season 5. I also don’t think it works because just like Verheiden, he’ll be coming in on the tail end of an arc that I think is an inherently bad idea anyway. The “Fugitives” storyline is already another X-men ripoff not true to the show’s central conceits, one that at best will result in the Battlestarring of Heroes, which is I’m assuming why you hire Verheiden to come in.
This all started with outside forces. Networks rarely understand what they’re buying, and quickly make show creators turn what they made into something they get, because network execs are basically marketing people — creative to a degree, but they see everything in terms of demographics, which is a nice way of saying you put everyone into broad stereotypes regarding TV habits, and then make shows for those stereotypes. Heroes was supposed to be Magnolia with superpowers, and the original pilot conveys that feeling. The reshot pilot didn’t quite get there, but season 1 still had elements. Then they were cancelled, so they ended the show, planning a spinoff with Hiro. Then internet ratings came in, and they were uncancelled, but rather than the original idea to start over every season with new characters, the network told them to keep their cast, because audiences would lose interest if the cast changed. So now the discovery aspect of the show and the regular people aspect can never be reclaimed, and the Lost-like bizarre sense of destiny and interconnectivity was basically ruined before it even aired.
This is also true of everything Joss Whedon has ever created for TV, but the difference is Joss is a genius at execution and at giving the network what they want and still doing it in an awesome, creatively viable way. The guys at Heroes, when forced to deviate from their core idea, couldn’t figure out how to make a new track to the same destination, and so the show meanders aimlessly into the caverns of repetitive arcs that don’t understand their characters, won’t let them grow or change, and don’t understand why nothing’s working anymore. This is probably because those left after Fuller’s departure wrote the show through instinct and didn’t know what made it good in the first place.
But what really makes it like a comic book is that it turns all of its “fans” into comic book fans. We literally hate the show now, yet we’ve invested so much time and energy into it, we keep watching, if only to complain about it.