Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TELEVISION: Heroes: Company Man to Cold Wars

“People are fragile like teacups. All around them the world is changing but they simply don’t want to deal with it. “
Noah Bennett – “Heroes”

The Matrix Trilogy, M. Night Shyamalan’s career, and NBC’s Heroes.

What do these three things have in common?

They are all disappointments.

Heroes has been a series on the decline since the season one finale. It has gone from a smart and entertaining super hero yarn to a convoluted and incoherent soap opera. I thought now was a good time as any to look back on a show that started with a bang and is now gasping for a whimper.

To illustrate this sliding scale we must start at the top of the curve. Company Mai is in my opinion the best episode of Heroes. It premiered almost two years ago to the day on February 26th, 2007.

Company Man was the payoff of a season long mystery. Who is the man with horn-rimmed glasses? The mystery was unraveled through a series of flashbacks that told the history of the man who we’d come to know as Noah Bennett. The story was engaging; the structure tight, and most importantly there was something at stake.

Lets fast-forward two years to Cold Wars. Let’s forget the fact that there is an extra two years of baggage weighing the series down lets just look at the facts of the episode…

No new information. No interesting developments. No character development.

Speaking of character lets take a tour around our merry band of men:

Since when is Peter this skulking anger filled man? What happened to the days where he was the emotional core of the show? And why does he just go where Matt tells him?

Mohinder continues his course being a new character every episode. One day he is remorseless bad ass another he is a whimpering and meek sycophant.

Matt has turned into a man who has no motivation above the death of Daphne a character we don’t care about and who, in true Heroes fashion, is not really dead.

The Bennett flashbacks didn’t show us anything we didn’t know before. We knew Primatech had closed, that Claire was threatened and that Bennett and the hunter didn’t get along,

They had a real opportunity to enhance this plot. To really show Nathan’s motivation, the hunter’s past, or even some new levels to Noah’s character. Instead they just filled an episode with information we already knew.

I guess it’s better than the usual time travel, multiple reality and paradox filled stories we have been getting this year.

It’s all just a waiting game till Brian Fuller return for episode 3.19.

Fuller brought us Company Man. An episode that told us a wealth of information we didn’t know. One that enriched all the characters it dealt with. It reinforced Matt’s humanity, Sprague’s desperate need for absolution, Claire’s bravery and Noah’s developing love for his family.

Cold Wars did nothing but keep the story treading water.

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