Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My thoughts on Heroes, revisited (vague spoilers)

As of last week, the first major plot-arc of Heroes completed and I have to say that I've enjoyed it a lot. I genuinely think this is a very good show and I absolutely adore what they've done with most of the characters. I've collected my thoughts on the series thus far, below. (Some spoilers below)

Peter Petrelli: In the first few episodes, he annoyed the heck out of me. I've never really been drawn to the whiny, emo, over-sensitive characters and he has those qualities in spades. If you would have told me that by the end of the first story arc, he would have shot up to become my favorite of the cast, I would have laughed in your face. And yet...he did.

Really, the turn-around for me started when he got the future visitation in the subway. Up until that point, the character had seemed to be floundering, grasping at any sort of purpose to his life beyond the job that, while noble and altruistic, wasn't making him happy. However, once he had that purpose, I really started to like him. He didn't just sit around and angst, he got up off his ass and did stuff. I may not be much for whiny characters, but I tend to adore the characters that coordinate and keep everything together. His scenes with Isaac were definitely some of his best. And of course, facing certain death to try to save some girl he didn't know, without any sort of *useful* powers...that's pretty much THE definition of heroism in my book.

Besides, I like his power. It's neat.

Claire Bennett: The last episode of the arc pretty much cemented Claire as my second favorite character. Who didn't cheer when she punched that little bitch? I like her a lot as a young character, still growing and learning.

I never hated the attempted-rape as much as some. Claire is not a character that can be hurt in the standard manner, there needs to be a psychological element. Also, her revenge against the football player went a long way in redeeming it. Because as much as revenge for herself played a big part in her motivation, so did revenge for his other victim and the desire to prevent him from attacking someone else. Female characters tend to become heroes as a reaction to their own traumas, rape being commonly used. In contrast, male characters tend to become heroes to protect/avenge others. In this case, I found Claire's motivation to be refreshingly more "male" than stereotypically female. (I do think that both female characters being assaulted is a bit much, but Niki's assault seemed much more gratuitous and unnecessary to me than Claire's)

I don't even mind the "Save the Cheerleader...Save the World" theme, as I'm pretty sure that she's going to have a very active role in the world-saving part now that she's out of danger. With her powers, how can she not?

And I love Zack. He's a great sidekick.

Nathan Petrelli: He's an ass, but such fun! And I do think a lot of what he does is part of a misguided attempt to protect his family. He's never struck me as particularly villainous. Besides, who *didn't* cheer when he took over in the air?

Hiro Nakamura: I have to shamefully admit, Hiro does absolutely nothing for me as a character by now. He's cute and geeky, but honestly he's like cotton candy. There's no real substance there, yet. I do enjoy his enthusiasm and earnest desire to help, but he needs more direction right now. I'm hoping when he finally joins up with Peter and the others, that'll help with that. Right now, though, his schtick is getting old. I hope they are letting him evolve into something new.

I am liking Ando though, he's gotten a lot of growth lately.

Matt (whose last name I can't remember): He's a bit of a sad-sack, but I like him. I wonder if he and the blond lady will be called in to deal with the fallout from the end of the story-arc. I hope so. Right now, he's kind of like Mohinder for me: a character I find very appealing trapped in a godawful rut of a storyline.

However I do like that the pre-requisite fainting psychic is a man. :-)

Mohinder Suresh: Egads! Will you let his storyline start moving again soon, NBC?!?! I know intellectually his actions make sense. A lot of stuff happened in a very short time for him, with a lot of setbacks and humiliations and he's got the hapless exposition role anyway. But damnit. I really like him as a character. I like his wry humor and his flirtation with Eden (spy chick) and even his jumpy paranoia. And it doesn't hurt that he's damn pretty to look at. It's just since he got to India, his storyline's been a black hole of boredom. Bring him back to the states please.

I also think it might help if he developed powers of his own too. I keep anticipating that he might. Especially since the role I'd initially expected for him (coordinator/keeps-things-together man) has gone more to Peter instead. Besides, there should be more international/global heroes.

Niki: I hate to say it, but I find Niki incredibly tedious. Stripper with a heart of gold? Beleaguered single mother? Victim of her own (or someone else's) dark side? Whatever. Honestly, the woman wreaks of all the traits I find really annoying in standard female characters. She's such a standard, cliched heroine. Which is a shame because Jessica/Evil Niki is such a blast. The actress really seems to be having fun with that role.

I honestly think it's the Niki character's fault the show has a bad wrap for treatment of female characters. Claire is such a good character. Her assault, though still a little cliche had a point. Niki's really didn't. The mobsters could have easily just threatened to beat her (no bed involved) or threatened the kid and Evil Niki would have had their asses anyway. And the stripping really didn't add any sort of point to the character aside from a pointless interlude with Ando.

So down with Niki, up with Evil!Niki! Micah is cute though and DL has promise.

Bennett: Okay, I love sinister glasses-wearing guys. He's no exception. I love how he manages to be both vaguely or not so vaguely evil while still being a genuinely concerned father. He loves his daughter and, like any good dad, wants to protect her. And somehow that doesn't humanize him at all. I love it!

Eden's pretty interesting too and I want to know more about their operation.

Isaac: I want to like him. He's certainly nice to look at, but he's been terribly stagnant so far. I did like his interactions with Peter though, when he actively started getting involved with helping save the world.

So there we go. In general, I'm happy with the show. My favorite character was the one who annoyed me the most in the beginning, and that's very rare for me. I usually know who I like best from episode one. I like the plots, most of the episodes manage to surprise me somewhere along the way. The acting's decent.

But I still want them to let Mohinder do SOMETHING DAMNIT.

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  • At November 28, 2006 7:32 AM, Blogger Filby said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At November 28, 2006 7:33 AM, Blogger Filby said…

    Hiro Nakamura is my hero. I love him as much now as I did at the beginning, if not more.

    I do agree that Ando has been getting more interesting. I liked his comment to Peter in last week's episode where he said he's nothing without Hiro -- their roles have reversed, and Ando's realized that he's Hiro's Jimmy Olsen, and he's having to deal with that.

    I don't think Mohinder needs powers to be a hero -- if they all end up getting together, he could be the Oracle of the team.

    Regarding Daddy Bennett, he reminds me a little of Elliot S! Maggin's Lex Luthor... he's totally self-serving and ruthless, but there's a bit of good in there somewhere (however small), and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up joining forces with the heroes by the end -- as long as it suits his purposes, of course.

    By the way, what do you think the chances are Radioactive Dude has something to do with the prophesied nuclear explosion?

  • At November 28, 2006 10:28 AM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    I think Mohinder saying, "Alls y'all are crazy, I'm goin' back to India" were when I started liking the show. Yes, it's ground his story to a halt, but I've seen so many times when a character sticks around when he has no intellectual reason to, that this was refreshing. And his interactions with his ex were moving.

    My favorite character is Mr. Bennet, because Jack Coleman is able to invest his villainy with a very human side. He genuinely cares about his family, unfortunately he uses that justification for some pretty nasty actions. He has a merciful side, too: I don't have kids, but I'm not sure I could just give the guy who attempted to rape my daughter amnesia.

    Claire is a good character too. When she popped that bitchy cheerleader in the face it was totally unexpected and hilarious.

    Hiro and Ando are terrific, I hope Ando sticks around for a while. I liked how last night Hiro went through his first real trial as a superpowered being.

  • At November 28, 2006 11:33 AM, Anonymous Loren said…

    I thought that the last episode was a great one for Hiro and was a defining moment for him. The fact that he could not save Charlie was like a Ben Parker/Gwen Stacy kind of thing for him in which, I think, he goes from totally happy-go-lucky to a more serious hero. I think he'll still have the geek quality to him, but I definitely see him moving more toward the future Hiro that we see. I also think it helps explain how he can speak fluent English in the future when he only knew bits and pieces. I love him!

  • At November 28, 2006 1:09 PM, Blogger Racy Li said…

    I'm with you when it comes to the Petrelli brothers. They annoyed the hell out of me in the beginning, but I find Peter starting to grow on me.

    I still like Hiro alot. If they kill him off, I'm going to be really pissed.

    Did anyone else see that serial-killer stealing-power storyline coming a mile away?

  • At November 28, 2006 1:14 PM, Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said…

    I'm still trying to grasp just why Hiro couldn't save Charlie unless it was because his powers totally cut out.

    But yeah... very Gwen Stacy moment.

    As for me, I think I may write my thoughts on the show after the episode next week... but in brief, here's my thought on all the development.

    Peter - I somehow guessed Peter would become the center of "the team" even before Tim Kring said something about how all the character names had a point to them. Now Peter means "the rock" as in a solid base, so that could be foreshadowing. But what had me thinking that Peter would be the one to unite everyone was the fact that he was the only character actively working to make the world a better place BEFORE he found out he had powers. The epitome of the quote "All that is neccesary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

    Nathan - Text-book Lawful Evil, in D&D terms - the guy who is going to do whatever he can to make the world a better, more orderly place, regardless of what he has to do to get there. Also, it's worth noting that Nathan is the only person (apart from Nikki) who has actually threatened to kill anyone.

    Claire - they've developed her into a total 180 from what I thought she was based on the first few episodes. She seemed like a total "oh god, I'm too popular for this" cheerleader but knowing that she's new to "the life" explains a lot.

    Hiro - still a favorite, even if the last episode depressed the hell out of me and I'm confused as to why he can't save Charlie, other than his powers cutting out.

    Andro - the most well-developed secondary character on the show. He's used to being the sensible one in the friendship and now he's just realizing how out of his element he is.

    Matt: Forget Peter as the loveable loser - here's the real hard-luck kid of the show. He can't control his powers, he can't get a break at work, everyone thinks he's either a loser or crazy and he finally found a way to use his powers to make his life better (planning the perfect day for his wife) only to have it all blow up in his face once he thinks he has at least one part of his life under control. Despite this, I still like the guy - not out of sympathy - but because, like Peter, he's one of the only characters who would be doing that they are doing without powers.

    Mohinder - they need to bring him back and fast. And for the record (i've seen too many people harp o this point), the reason he turned so quickly from wanting to finish his dad's work to quitting was because he saw that raving lunatic on the street as he was acosting Nathan and he wondered "Dear god... is that what I look like?" That's a bit of a slap in the face when you're 50/50 about your work anyway. Still, I did like the scenes in the last few episodes where he is seduced with a chance at normalcy.

    Nikki/Jessica: I'm with you on how Nikki has turned out to be just another Rose/Thorn or Typhoid Mary figure. I'm a little more heartened to think that what we're seeing with her (as of last night) may put her in more of a Captain Triumph situation. I don't think any of the sex stuff with her has been overly gratitous - the thugs in the pilot knew what her job was and... well, if it comes down to a choice of beating a beautiful woman up and making her not pretty or getting a free show, guess what I think your average thug is going to pick unless they're specifically told to beat her up? The lap dance for Nathan was a little over the top, though. I just hope that their storyline doesn't in death in this next episode, though. I'm thinking Micha still has a big part to play.

    DL: I like him, even if Micah has been having to goad him into acting in a more heroic fashion and look past the concerns of "save myself, save my son."

    Micha: I usually hate child actors on dramas like this, but I actually like Micha. If nothing else, his power is one of the more unique.

    Mr. Bennet: I know everyone likes to think he's a villain but so far, we don't have any hard evidence of him being an evil type other than he's been operating in secret and has an "ends justify the means" attitude. Consider how...
    - he had a gun when he was chasing Nathan but didn't shoot when Nathan ran.
    - he opted to give his daughter's attempted rapist a second chance as a new person rather than kill him outright
    - he adopted Claire after her parents died - granted, we don't know what role he played in their deaths and that he and his wife were having trouble concieving, but that still says a lot that he'd try to fix the mistake. And as of last night's episode, it seems he never thought about Claire being "special" until Prof. Suresch came to him. I think he has been humanized, but that's just me.

    Issac - another one of my favorites. Missed him the last few episodes. My favorite moment on him had to have been his watching Peter painting... and for the subtle revelation coming across his face as he realizes 1) I am not alone in this after all and 2) if he can't do this without the heroin, that means I can too..

    Chalk that up as another reason I like Peter. He's been the one to confirm to all the other "specials" so far that they aren't alone in what they are.

    Charlie - I am geuninely pissed that she is being killed off. I mean, what's the point of Hiro having the power to move through time if he can't use it to go back and change things?

    Eden - another character who has grown into something interesting. I think that what Mr. Bennet did to her is probably the closest thing we've seen to an evil act on his part so far - the Clockwork Orange argument in action - but it's arguable that she was too dangerous to leave unchecked. I mean, no prison could hold her unless you built a special wing and only had deaf guards working around her.

    But yeah. I'm officially hooked on the show.

  • At November 28, 2006 2:31 PM, Anonymous Lyle said…

    For the most part, I think what's worked so well about the show is that it's been good at telling us our initial presumptions are wrong and we should re-examine what we've seen so far. The original pilot kinda bored me until the Nathan/Peter twist at the end, which suddenly brought that effect to the show (after thinking about it, I realized it wasn't such an original twist, but it still surprised me greatly when I saw it.... and then it got me rethinking all the Peter moments in the show).

    Similarly that seems to be going on with the characters where there's a lot more going on with them than we originally realized.

    Again, I blame Bryan Fuller who used a similar dynamic on Wonderfalls.

  • At November 28, 2006 6:40 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    I agree 100% regarding Peter's becoming more likeable and proactive post-subway. I also liked the curveball re: his powers. Does he drain the others' powers like Rogue or Parasite, or does he copy them like Duplicate Boy? Either way, he's at a powers disadvantage if he's alone and fighting a non-super.

    You picked up on Nathan's family-centered motivations for some of his actions. That was clear in his ruining the painting; he simply didn't want his brother to die. The flashback ep explains his negative attitude toward his powers, although it apparently hasn't stopped him from practicing with them (you can't make that kind of clean getaway he did without practice). Also, how can you hate Adrian Pasdar?

    I think Mr. Bennett, like Nathan, resides in a gray area as opposed to being evil. He sincerely cares for his family and is passionate about his goals, but is not above using certain means to achieve them. He's kind of like Vril Dox from L.E.G.I.O.N. with more people skills. Was it just the Haitian blocking out Eve's powers on him or do his glasses serve some kind of special function?

    Niki/Jessica is kind of like the pre-Simone Rose and the Thorn, where the "normal" identity is kind of a cipher and the alter ego is the one everyone wants to see. What will happen when Peter meets Niki? Will he just get the super-strength, or will he start channelling Jessica as well (or in Niki's place)?

    I like how Micah's powers resemble Mayor Hundred's from EX MACHINA. Does he communicate with machines like Mitch?

    Will Mohinder end up being like Giles on "Buffy"?

  • At November 28, 2006 6:45 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    Whoops, I meant EDEN'S powers.

  • At November 29, 2006 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Foreshadowing: when Matt's Radioactive Man was in custody, he mentioned that if he got shot he might blow up like an atomic bomb.

    Why couldn't Hiro save Charlie? She was going to die anyway, whether it was because of Sylar or the brain anyeurism.

    My take on Peter's powers is that he can copy another's powers as long as he is in close physical proximity or touching, and they last for a short period of time. I expected him to have gotten Claire's powers from their meeting on the street, not from her fleeing Sylar, but in any case, he should have a bit of Sylar's powers for a while.

    Sylar's powers: he knows how things work and how they're put together. But somehow this gives him the power to borrow or steal other people's power, maybe from something in their brains (which is why he likes to slice heads open).

    Mica's power: something electronics-related, but I'm not sure what. He made a dead phone work and took apart a computer.

  • At November 29, 2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    Agreed all arond.:)

    Matt's name is Parkman.

    Mohinder, Nathan and Hiro all got serious evolution monday:) Hiro's father is George Taki who shows up after the TV-wide holiday hiatus:)


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