Editor's note: This issue was originally published in late January of 2008, thus the reviews of way-outdated stuff. My apologies for being so slack in getting these most recent three issues online.
Heroes Episodes 24-34
Written by Tim Kring, Jeph Loeb, and many other WGA members
Starring Masi Oka, Hayden Panetierre, Milo Ventimiglia, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Jack Coleman, Zachary Quinto and many more.
It’s rather amazing how closely Heroes mirrors its closest competitor (in terms of story, fandom, characterization and hype), Lost—even going so far as to have a muddled, half-decent/half-ugly “huh?” of a second season full of unwanted, less-than-likeable new characters and very right-field plot twists.
And thanks to the WGA strike, they didn’t even get to finish!
Guys—or girls, for that matter—imagine being at a party and finally sweet-talking that special person you’ve had a crush on for months, being lead into a dark and empty room, making out… and then they put their hand in your pants, and it’s like a Moray eel without teeth (or worse, with just one or two teeth. Some ladies need to learn to take off their rings before starting the no-pants dance). All fumbling and catching their fingernails on something that fingernails were never supposed to catch on, and yanking like it’s a microphone and they need to make an important speech or something, or just kind of feeling around randomly like they lost a contact down there… and you think, “Really? I wanted to do you?” And then because you’re drunk you say it out loud, and they hear you, and they walk away—so not only did you get a crappy handjob, you didn’t even finish.
To their credit, the writers did fairly well at wrapping up most of the annoying plot threads they’d come up with in the past season. The Shanti virus, Adam Monroe, Sylar and Maya, HRG and Claire, et cetera. But I'd hoped for a lot more, as the list below will make painfully clear:
-I hoped that Sylar would beguile Maya and, to use an old standby, “turn her evil.” Whenever the strike’s over, the third volume of the series is apparently titled “Villains,” and I was hoping that with her fucked-up power to cry black tears that spread a deadly airborne virus (seriously, if you could buy genetic superpowers at the mall, wouldn’t that one be the best-seller at Hot Topic? The answer to that question is yes. I can see at least one of my ex-girlfriends being first in line for the chance to be able to do that.), that Maya, who I didn’t want in the first place, would at least become a passable villain since she is a uniquely terrible Hero.
-Speaking of terrible Heroes, I hope to all the gods that are and ever were that Nikki is really, really dead in that stupid fucking explosion. Oh yeah. Spoiler warning. If you actually cared about that character, though—I don’t know. Just put this ‘zine down and walk out of the store and go open some veins in the tub. You are terrible. (I’m sorry, maybe I’m going a bit overboard because of the scotch, but I didn’t think she could be a more awfully contrived character without Jessica, but Ali Larter and the writers proved me wrong.) Really? DL died, and we had to put up with a whole second season of her whiny ass patronizing her super-intelligent son, and then she finally dies? Maybe? God hates me.
-I hoped that West, the slightly creepy flying boy, with his distaste for humans, would become a kind of young Magneto, a Heroes supremacist, and that Claire would still fall for him.
-I hoped that Noah Bennet would stay “dead” and work in the shadows for awhile.
-I hoped that DL would still be alive, and that Niki would eventually die.
-I hoped that the man Nathan saw in the mirror was an “evil” Nathan just like Jessica was an “evil” Niki; that there was a Hero with no body who just became the shadow of another person, like Malice from X-Men.
-I hoped that Hiro’s father was revealed as Kensei.
-After he wasn’t, I hoped that Kensei would marry the Princess and be revealed as the ancestor of Hiro, the Petrellis and Claire.
-I also hoped that Mohinder would make an honest man of Matt. They’re such a cute couple.
-I also hoped that Peter would either be dead or not in Ireland or the future.
-I also hoped that the older generation would tell us what their damn powers are! I mean, Matt’s dad was kind of an evil, chubby Xavier—the fight between the two of them was one of my favorite moments in the whole series, by the way—and Mr. Deveaux evidently had some sort of weird dream-walking powers, which was cool, but what about Angela Petrelli and Kaito Nakamura? They must have had awesome powers! But now we’ll probably never know.
Actually, there was Bob Bishop, who would look more at home among the supporting actors on The Office on Thursdays than three nights earlier with Hiro and Claire, but he’s got a badass ability—everyone on Wikipedia calls it chrysopoeia, the ability to turn anything to gold, but I’m positive he’s actually just an across-the-periodic-table molecule-transmuting guy. Then again, that could be another one of my expectations about the show that’s destined to be wrong. There were certainly a lot of those in the above list of hopes and dreams that just refused to happen because they would have been too fun.
If Daniel Knauf or even J.J. Abrams was producing or directing this series for cable instead of a network, they might have gone more in my direction—at least, I’d like to think. Instead, this season fell short of my own personal (re: completely irrational) hopes and expectations, as well as those of the critics and the viewing public. But, for once, I’m not angry. Not at Jeph Loeb or Tim Kring or any of the writers or creators, anyway. They crafted a great serial that beat the ass off of every other show except BSG (so I’m told) last year, in their first season to boot. I think it comes down to the strike. By the time they were midway through writing what became the entire second season, they figured out they probably only had five or six more episodes to wrap up what otherwise may have been a much longer, more thought-out story. I mean, I do some of my best writing in the throes of last-minute panic (or I did in school anyway), but that still had to be one bastard of a deadline they were up against.
With that in mind, I can’t be too down on Heroes, because I believe they really tried to continue making a show as good as they made in season one, and it wasn’t all bad. I grew to really like Claire. I actually rather liked the new character Adam “Kensei” Monroe, and I look forward to seeing him break out of his new prison somehow. I managed not to mind the miraculous recoveries of Peter and Nathan. And while most of the other new characters were pretty lame, Bob and his daughter Elle were okay, and Monica didn’t make me want the Earth to open up and swallow her, which was how I felt every second that Maya and her fugly twin brother were on.
Seriously, when I first saw them I had this terrible feeling that they were both going to have super-speed, leading to a slew of terrible “Speedy Gonzales” jokes and the like, but black tears and a deadly virus? How does a human being even generate a virus? I know this is a show where people fly and travel through time, but saying “virus” and leaving it at that just sounds lazy. Especially when there’s another virus, which is the crux of several major plot points, on the same show. Couldn’t she just emit some kind of poisonous gas? No, because anything biologically threatening has to be a virus or it doesn’t sound dangerous. People aren’t even afraid of E. coli anymore. I blame CNN.
All in all, as I said, I can’t be mad at the show’s creators for having to prematurely ground an ultimately promising endeavor. I’m glad we got at least some good episodes before the WGA strike started.
That said, all of you goddamned Commies in Hollywood better get your panties untwisted in time to finish writing season 4 of Lost, because if I don’t get my full 16-episode fix I might start stalking J.J. Abrams. I’ll leave little anonymous notes and drawings in his car and his mailbox, I’ll send naked pictures of myself from the neck down to his office, I’ll email coded messages to him and then part of the key to see if he can solve it… WHO’S MYSTERIOUS NOW, YOU COCKTEASE? WHO’S A GENIUS OF MISDIRECTION NOW, YOU FUCKING HIPSTER AMATEUR!
I’m just nervous about this strike continuing. TV was in the middle of a Renaissance. If that ends now… well, if any of you have seen The New American Gladiators… obviously the results will be troubling.
Rating: Three Tom Collins.