Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heroes Season 3 Premiere


Well, they sure dove right back into it. I'd barely changed the channel from Sarah Connor Chronicles, and already future-Peter is coming back in time to shoot Nathan in the shocking scene from the Season 2 finale. The two episode premiere cut hurriedly between its many characters and plot lines, seemingly checking off a laundry list of New Mysteries:

-Whom is this speedy Daphne working for?
-What is Parkman doing in Africa? Who is this guy who found him in the desert?
-Why can't Clair feel pain anymore?
-Why is Ali Larter Tracy now, and why can she ice cube* people?
-How is present-Peter stuck inside one of the scary escaped Heroes? I mean, obviously future-Peter put him there, but where is his real body and what happened to the other guy's mind? This is definitely an odd situation.
-How is Linderman back? Why can only Nathan see him? Does he have any relation to Number Six?
-Just what is the deal with Mrs. Petrelli? What are her motives?

Unfortunately, the episode raised a few skeptic's questions as well. Obviously, I'm a big fan of this genre and am willing to suspend a lot of disbelief, but there are some things that make me either roll my eyes or purse my lips. In most cases I'm willing to put up with them, but inconsistencies, weak explanations, and dumb character actions can erode the quality of a show and its wide fan base. And occasionally, a weak, nonsensical plot device will influence the story in an unfavorable way (say, when a villain survives a situation that he never should have survived and lives on for multiple seasons to continue to kill), and that really ticks me off. Here are some questions I had for the premiere:

-When Hiro took a peek into his future, how did he manage to find such a crucial point in the future (i.e. Ando killing him with Sith powers) and--correct me if I'm wrong about this, but--how did it happen to be on the same block that he had been standing on in the present?
-If they're emphasizing the profound butterfly effect future-Peter has had by coming back, how did Hiro's previous forays into the past avoid screwing up the world so much?
-How has genius scientist Mohinder gone from dumb to dumber?
-If the type of power someone has is determined by their unique blood chemistry, why are there so many repeats in powers?
-Is Maya ever going to be able to justify her existence on this show? (The season opener did not give me much hope.)
-What, exactly, is the stuff that the speedster leaves behind when she runs? We know that it takes on her colors and it's something that Hiro can run his fingers through when he "freezes" time. That seems a little weird to me.

Well, in spite of all this, I really enjoyed most of the show. My favorite moment was when Elle kicked Sylar's a%s. As I have already implied, I am not a huge fan of Sylar--or at least the Sylar of the present. First season, he was an awesome, creepy love-to-hate-him bad guy, but the only reason he's still alive is the disappointingly clumsy, botched Season 1 finale. While he was one of the highlights of Season 1, since his should-have-been death, he has, like Maya, yet to justify his presence. Still, it looks like he is poised to get interesting again.

I have high hopes that the Heroes team can bring the show back to its former glory. Sadly, it looks like it may not be able to recover its first season audience. It was one of the biggest freshman shows of the 2006-07 season, with frequent "Save the Network, Save the TV Season" jokes, but like many serials it has had trouble gaining new viewers, and the relatively weak Season 2 lost a significant number of followers; the Season 3 premiere had 20% fewer viewers than the Season 2 premiere. While the numbers are still solid and the show is not in danger of cancellation, it may be falling from the water cooler gossip status it enjoyed two years ago. But I can hope. As a strong proponent for mainstream geekdom, I'm sure rooting for Heroes.

*I have deemed "ice cube" a legitimate transitive verb since my days as a Diablo II sorceress enthusiast.

No comments: