Can “Heroes” lighten up?

Heroes_117Though I haven’t gotten much enjoyment from the show this season, I’m still surprised by how many mea culpasHeroes” showrunner Tim Kring offered in this interview with Entertainment Weekly. He falls on his 17th-century Japanese sword about the pace of the show, the way some new characters were introduced and choices of storyline, even suggesting that the show can’t really do romance. I think this is what they call “a funk.”

In one sense, I think Kring is over-apologizing. Not all the faults he mentions were such a big deal. In another, I think he’s under-apologizing, because he doesn’t mention what seems to be the longest-running problem with “Heroes”: How bland the characters (and in turn the acting) can be.

Even when exciting things happen, they happen to unexciting people. Brows furrow, threats get spat out in “this time we really mean it” fashion. But there’s very little emotional complexity and even less joy.

Saving the world has consumed the characters. On the surface, that makes sense — wouldn’t you drop everything if life itself were in jeopardy? Yet with few exceptions, this has robotized the characters (Is there a line one would say that another wouldn’t deliver the exact same way?) and leaves the show entirely dependent on the quality of the save-the-world stories, and as Kring admits, those have been hit-and-miss.

Heroes_2_117In contrast, even though “Lost” has its own set of major stakes, it has rarely failed to nurture the personal sides of its characters.  Even when it’s life-or-death out there, life goes on.

Compounding the problem is that the primary “Heroes” characters who do get a semblance of a personal life, such as Hiro and Claire, haven’t had very interesting ones. Even Peter and Caitlin have shown little connection in their budding romance outside of their shared life-or-death stakes. As for Noah, Matt, Nathan, Niki, Mohinder: Can’t these kids have any fun at all?

In its efforts to ramp up the show’s pace (putting the WGA strike aside for a moment), I would hate to see “Heroes” get even more intense. What’s the point of saving the world if you can’t smell its roses?

— Jon Weisman

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  1. Ryan Jerz says:

    You’re right, Jon. I think I’m mostly worried that the more energy that’s put into the development of characters, the less that will be put into the action/story development. I have a tendency to see them separately, which might be incorrect. This season is starting to bore me, and I’d hate to see energy put into relationships instead of saving the world, which brought me to the show in the first place.

  2. Jon says:

    In other words, blaming Heroes’ problems on Claire’s dating seems off-target. First, their actual dating got about 2 minutes of screen time, every other episode. Second, like every other storyline, it’s all serving the action plot. There was no character development. It was the same old “will I get exposed” stuff, throughout.

  3. Jon says:

    But Ryan, the slower pace has almost nothing to do with office romance. Claire-West, Hiro and the princess, Ryan-Caitlin – those are all relationships that were tied up almost completely in the hero storyline, and that’s partly why they’re all so problematic. Now all three of those relationships may be gone. *No one* on the show has a personal life anymore. So how can you hope for less?

  4. thebiggrabowski says:

    Interesting comparison to Lost, I’ve always enjoyed the personal moments, as long as they don’t end up taking over the show.

  5. Ryan Jerz says:

    I’m not sure I agree, Jon. I seem to always complain to people that getting too personal on the show ruins it. I was a big fan of Alias in the first two seasons, but it turned into way too much office romance and not enough spy thriller action. The same thing is starting to happen with Claire, particularly, on Heroes. The pace has slowed down this season and I think it be really tough for me to keep going if it slowed down more due to more character development. Let’s get back to actually figuring out what the problem is with the world this season and start fighting against evil, already.

  6. fireboy says:

    I’m in complete agreement. The only problem is that in order to develop some depth of character, one would need to spend time with said character. And that is the one thing Heroes multiple story lines defeats. We hop, skip, and jump from place to place so frequently that any expansion is impossible. Therefore, we’re left with bullet point dialogue and an acting style that telegraphs everything, just in case you lost track.

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