Stephen Speicher

Heroes (2006)

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I love this new TV show. It has drama, intrigue, mystery and humor. It is the continuing story of various people discovering and dealing with their extraordinary powers. The mystery and intrigue lies in how they are all connected. Heroes is sort of a combination of elements of Lost and 24, but with a fresh perspective and interesting, unique characters.

My only fear in recommending this show is that without seeing the beginning episodes the show's full flavor and intrigue might be missed. NBC does have a website where, at least for now, it looks as if you can watch the last episode. But, unless I am missing it, the earlier episodes are not available. (Perhaps on ITunes?)

Heroes is my favorite new show of the season.

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This show is on the list of those new shows I'm watching. It is compelling and suspenseful, wondering how they will get together, will they survive the malevolent forces assembled against them, how will their abilities develop?

It's an interesting show for discussion on this list, because it has a very unusual slant, right from the get-go: What if ordinary people discovered they were not ordinary? How would they cope? How would they learn about, master, and hide or reveal these abilities and how would friends, family, and strangers respond? And what would they do with these abilities?

I have found the show both fascinating and off-puttiing because it is profoundly malevolent in its world view. As benevolent as the cheerleader and the Chinese time-bender are, for 2 good examples, the forces arrayed against them are not just an obstacle, but a massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut. Usually, in a show of this kind, one gets to spend a little quality time with the characters, enjoying, revelling in their abilities, playing, essentially, before Going to War With Evil. In this telling, Evil is trying to destroy them before they even "hatch." That's a reasonable and potentially exciting premise, but it seems that any action they take, they are immediately slapped down by malevolent forces or misunderstanding. It is not what I would call a "happy," feel-good show.

Even with 24, a malevolent universe if ever there was one, gives us opportunities to appreciate Jack Bauer, even as he is battling evil against impossible odds and often against those who should be assisting him. Heroes doesn't allow its "heroes" more than a minute of the buddings of pride or satisfaction before it disembowls them, figuratively or literally. Another comparison would be Harry Potter, who is certainly battling a powerful foe, but is fortified by strong friendships and mentorship before he's thrust into the buzz saw. There is a countervailing balance of benevolence, of Good, that I don't see here. "Good," here, is in lower case and "Evil" is all caps.

That's my preliminary take. But, it's early. I'm hoping, as they develop, these budding heroes will become actual heroes and will seem more equal to the Evil that opposes their every move.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this TV show in this post.

I have found the show both fascinating and off-puttiing because it is profoundly malevolent in its world view. As benevolent as the cheerleader and the Chinese time-bender are, for 2 good examples, the forces arrayed against them are not just an obstacle, but a massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut.

An evil that is a "massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut?" Sounds like a line right out of Buffy. ;)

At this point in the series I myself do not even know who the 'other side' is, much less how evil they are. Someone or something apparently killed Mohinder's father, but we don't even know exatly what his father's role was (is?) in the intrigue. I just haven't seen this "implaccable juggernaut" come to life, at least not yet.

Anyway, I really don't want to analyze this show to death. I'll continue watching the show and I hope it gives me the same level of enjoyment that I have experienced so far. It will be really interesting to me to see how the characters develop.

p.s. I see on the Heroes website that, on Oct. 22nd, NBC will be broadcasting three episodes back-to-back starting at 8PM (7PM central).

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I see that iTunes is carrying the show, so I am going to pony up and hope Stephen and I agree again. ;)

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I like the show, especially for the attention to detail and the creativity therein. When was the last primetime broadcast TV show to feature a major character speaking something other than English, let alone Japanese? I find the characters interesting and compelling thus far, but -- and this is my biggest complaint -- where's the main thread? So far it seems like a collection of related stories -- starting in parallel and converging in the future. It gives me a feeling of being out of focus, but ever so slightly.

Other than that, I'm enjoying the show. I hadn't intended to watch it, but I had the TV on while surfing the web and waiting for Studio 60, and ended up watching the whole thing.

I really like Hiro -- he's such an enthusiastic guy!

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Warning: There are spoilers about this TV show in this post.

An evil that is a "massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut?" Sounds like a line right out of Buffy. :)

At this point in the series I myself do not even know who the 'other side' is, much less how evil they are. Someone or something apparently killed Mohinder's father, but we don't even know exatly what his father's role was (is?) in the intrigue. I just haven't seen this "implaccable juggernaut" come to life, at least not yet.

Anyway, I really don't want to analyze this show to death. I'll continue watching the show and I hope it gives me the same level of enjoyment that I have experienced so far. It will be really interesting to me to see how the characters develop.

Ok. Granted :) I'll give it some time. And maybe 'm, l, i j" is a little over-the-top for the 3rd week of the show. But what I meant was just that the "Heroes" are only just finding out that they're "heroes" and, already, the choice of the writers seems to be to emphasize rejection, despair, denial, death, mayhem... you know, the costs. It's their selection of focus, tone, and events that I was commenting on.

A notable exception is "Hiro," the Japanese [Thanks, Ed* for correcting my mis-attribution of his nationality] time-bender, whose segments are really pretty damned funny. He's an excellent actor, the writing is sharp, and the comic-book device (which I won't spoil here) is as enjoyable to me as it obviously was to the writers.

There is good potential in this show. I'd just like to get more of the sense we do in 'Buffy' that Good has a chance in hell against Evil.

But I'll call off my "implacable juggernaut" until we see a few more episodes. ;)

* by "Ed", I mean Ed, not Ed. as in Editor. Ed, how do you indicate "Editor" when you add editorial comments? Doesn't this get horribly recursive? [Ed. "Ed" - Ed)

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* by "Ed", I mean Ed, not Ed. as in Editor. Ed, how do you indicate "Editor" when you add editorial comments? Doesn't this get horribly recursive? [Ed. "Ed" - Ed)

And don't forget it varies with "ed"ition as well. And what if the topic is tied to "ed"ucation? ;)

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And don't forget it varies with "ed"ition as well. And what if the topic is tied to "ed"ucation? ;)

Or a famous talking horse.

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I too, love this show. The first episode had some nuggets in the script. (All the episdodes so far do, but I particularly enjoyed the pilot). I don't think it's 'malevolent universe' being put forth. When someone says 'malevolent universe', I think of the movie Saw (in which the anti-hero serial murderer always wins). The characters are predominantly good, and those with imperfections attempt to better themselves. (Peter, for example, wanted to "stop living for others" in pursuing his potential. By the way, I think his power is to adopt the powers of those around him - which is why he could only fly in his brother's presence). Looking forward to the coming weeks, the damn episodes always end with cliffhangers. The last one had me scratching my head. Was Claire in an autopsy?

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A notable exception is "Hiro," the Japanese [Thanks, Ed* for correcting my mis-attribution of his nationality] time-bender, whose segments are really pretty damned funny.

I LOVE Hiro's character. He is so innocent, sort of like a grown-up Ewok without the hair. ;) He accepts the whole thing so easily and completely, and is determined to seek out and play his role. THIS is the world he expected, the world he wants to live in.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this TV show in this post.

By the way, I think his power is to adopt the powers of those around him - which is why he could only fly in his brother's presence).

Wow! What a great idea (insight?). Your notion never occurred to me. YOU should be a writer on the show. ;)

p.s. I agree completely with your comments about a malevolent universe. Malevolence has more to do with expectations of a bad world, not simply being confronted with many challenges and problems to solve.

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My only fear in recommending this show is that without seeing the beginning episodes the show's full flavor and intrigue might be missed.

Then I'll wait for the DVD before checking it out :) I love getting a DVD of a really great show, enjoying the full blast of the awesomeness, and being overwhelmed by so many good hours of enjoyment ahead of me. In that sense, all you guys who are already hooked have to suffer from a weekly withdrawal syndrome, while for me the next episode will be right there. And the next one, and the next! ;)

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Warning: There are spoilers about this TV show in this post.

I have found the show both fascinating and off-puttiing because it is profoundly malevolent in its world view. As benevolent as the cheerleader and the Chinese time-bender are, for 2 good examples, the forces arrayed against them are not just an obstacle, but a massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut.

An evil that is a "massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut?" Sounds like a line right out of Buffy. :)

I must admit that last night's episode ("Collision," 10/16/04), though still not a ""massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut," was a lot darker and a bit more ominous than previous episodes. I hope Alan has not presaged things to come, as this is otherwise still a very interesting show.

Speaking of which ... Nikki Sanders (played by Ali Larter, was looking particularly sensuous when she was all dressed up in last night's episode, and even more so when, as her alter ego, she was not so dressed. ;)

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I must admit that last night's episode ("Collision," 10/16/04), though still not a ""massive, lethal, implacable juggernaut," was a lot darker and a bit more ominous than previous episodes. I hope Alan has not presaged things to come, as this is otherwise still a very interesting show.

Although, without giving anything away, I think the end of the episode suggests that the Forces of Good are about to become a lot more coordinated and self-aware in the near future. Bear in mind that we've only seen 4 episodes of what I assume is a 22 episode season. Dramatically, they're still in the process of setting up the pieces -- the real playing is still to come.

I also have to agree with you about Ali Larter. Yummy.

(One of the pleasures of this show is noticing the resonances and nods to classical comic book history. I'm sure I'm not the only person to see parallels between Hiro Nakamura and Peter Parker with regards to the responsible use of extraordinary powers, for example. And the brief scene in the first episode when Nikki looks into the fish tank at the school and says "Stop following me" was a subtle yet hilarious reference to the widespread popular derision directed at the comic book hero Aquaman, whose main power is the ability to communicate telepathically with fish.)

Have I revealed myself as a hopeless geek yet?

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Warning: There are spoilers about this TV show in this post.

Dramatically, they're still in the process of setting up the pieces -- the real playing is still to come.

Oh, absolutely. I'm still optimistic about this show. Though, the guy from the future who showed up on the train in the Oct. 16th episode, makes me wonder if the plot will get too complicated.

(One of the pleasures of this show is noticing the resonances and nods to classical comic book history. I'm sure I'm not the only person to see parallels between Hiro Nakamura and Peter Parker with regards to the responsible use of extraordinary powers, for example.

In this last episode Hiro and Ando even discuss what Peter Parker would do when they are arguing about whether to use Hiro's powers for betting in Las Vegas.

Have I revealed myself as a hopeless geek yet?

Probably. But, if it will make you feel any better, Masi Oka, who plays Hiro, has degrees in mathematics and computer science from Brown University. After school he went to work for Lucas' ILM, and "he continues to provide ILM with technology for groundbreaking effects for more than 30 films." (From Oka's bio.)

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Warning: There are spoilers about this TV show in this post.

Oh, absolutely. I'm still optimistic about this show. Though, the guy from the future who showed up on the train in the Oct. 16th episode, makes me wonder if the plot will get too complicated.

I'm not too concerned about that. I have yet to find a show on network TV whose plot was too complicated. (I'd be more worried about the writers losing control of the plot, which is a related but distinct kind of dramatic failure. The X-Files is a good example of that flaw; by the end even the writers didn't know what was supposed to be going on. I get the sense that the plot of Heroes is more completely thought through, though.)

In this last episode Hiro and Ando even discuss what Peter Parker would do when they are arguing about whether to use Hiro's powers for betting in Las Vegas.

That's right! I'd forgotten about that. Hiro is rapidly becoming my favorite character on the show, probably because his attitude towards his abilities most closely mirrors the way I would react myself were I in his position.

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'The guy' from the future was Hiro; it hasn't been stated explicitly in this thread, just in case it was missed. Sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious. Any plot involving time travel will have paradoxes, so it may become complicated in that sense. Considering Mr Glasses (I should really learn the characters' names) and his accomplice haven't been fully explored, bringing in a character from the future might be a little early. But until we hear what Samuai-Hiro has to say, I'll reserve judgement on that. At least all of the heroes' quests are now related (in one way or another), bringing some unity to it all.

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'The guy' from the future was Hiro; it hasn't been stated explicitly in this thread, just in case it was missed. Sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious. Any plot involving time travel will have paradoxes, so it may become complicated in that sense. Considering Mr Glasses (I should really learn the characters' names) and his accomplice haven't been fully explored, bringing in a character from the future might be a little early. But until we hear what Samuai-Hiro has to say, I'll reserve judgement on that. At least all of the heroes' quests are now related (in one way or another), bringing some unity to it all.

What we're seeing is a classical comic book 'team origin' story, in which we learn the origins of all the heroes and the initial conflict that leads them to band together. As much as anything, this show reminds me of Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen. (Which is a very good thing indeed.)

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Well I'm still not sure they'll "band together" as such. That seems a little predictable, doesn't it? I think they'll encounter each other, certainly (they already have), but each being individuals with their own traits, I'd find it more interesting if they each worked to overcome their personal struggles. Not to say they should avoid one another; but "band together" makes me think of Power Rangers (even if that is not the sense of the phrase you implied). Time will tell :)

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Just an FYI for those who prefer their TV uninterrupted: The reported issue with making the season opener ('Genesis') on iTunes has been resolved. All episodes are available there for $1.99; in fact, you can pre-order the whole season for $40-something and they'll notify you when each episode is available. 2 bucks wasn't much to pay to get up to speed. I missed the opener and, with a complex show like this, with so many moving parts, it was a significant problem.

For those 3 people in the Western hemisphere who never heard of iTunes, you can download the viewer for free off the iTunes (Apple) website. It's not particularly invasive and you watch virtually full-screen on the pc, or drop it down on that silly little iPod screen and test your close-up vision.

Oh, and about the "juggernaut," it looks like Hiro may be able to solve any loss of a character by backing things up and pulling them out (hope that doesn't become a deus ex machina :) ).

I agree with the earlier objections to premature "malevolent universe" labeling. For fiction, that would require either knowledge of the final outcome of the story, or a pattern of defeat of the good, with indication from the writers that this was the way the cookie crumbles, and, in fact, all good cookies will crumble and rot before you can get them to your mouth. Something like that. Formidable opposition and setbacks are just good fiction. I think I reacted to the earliness of the onset of a powerful, coordinated attack on these barely fledgling "heroes" before they even knew what they were capable of. It was looking like we'd lose heroes early (they got me!). Origin stories in the past have had a bit more sunlight, play, mentor support, and discovery up front, before The Test (e.g. Harry Potter). But this is Mr. Tim Kring's creation and he has my attention.

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[Episode 105: Save the Cheerleader ... Save the World, 10/23/06]

I usually record my TV shows to watch while I work out in the morning. I was just too curious about the next episode to wait, so I just watched it live (very, very, unusual for me). With this episode all I can say is ... this show is SO great. I can't wait till next week!

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What do you guys think of the characters so far? I can't help smiling when Hiro is onscreen. He's just so enthusiastic, it's infectious! And the "up, up and away" bit the politician brother did... way cool. I just know he's going to make a big impact sometime soon!

I agree. This show is awesome. But I have to say, Battlestar Galactica is my "must see" show. Last week's episode... wow!

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What do you guys think of the characters so far? I can't help smiling when Hiro is onscreen. He's just so enthusiastic, it's infectious!

Yes, Hiro is like a little kid who innocently just accepts life as if it were being written in some spectacular cosmic comic book. But, so far, Hiro is mostly being carried along by circumstances, whereas the Hiro from the future who we saw on the train was serious and determined. It appears then that this funny, innocent Hiro will be transitioning as he matures, so we had better just enjoy his child-like nature while it is still here.

With each episode we are learning about different facets of each of the characters, so that they, as well as the story, seem to be evolving. Can't wait till next week!

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