Saturday, November 24, 2007

HEROES: A break for Pop Culture

Breaking from the PhD, Heroes supplies a nice twist to life, therefore, for those who are watchers, here is my review of episode 9 and reaction to some of the "complaints" viewers have launched against the writers of this quite extra-ordinary NBC TV show.
Cautionary Tales...
.....Smart titling "Cautionary Tale”: or rather, tales, as there are so many potential fable-lines in this simple, 42 minute popular sci-fi American TV episode. The "best twist" of this season so far: the passing via blood of an extraordinary capacity to someone who has not had that "skill" in their DNA before. The potentials this introduces into the season and the series as a whole are extraordinary--bravo!
.....In fact, the writers of this series should be commended for their hard work and constant attention to ways in which one can complicate a story such as this, maintaining and adapting what we know of characters, being patient enough to "slowly" (for an action show at least) show us who those characters are and where they are coming from and (always potentially) going to go to next. Furthermore, this show is wonderfully multilingual--sections in Japanese, Spanish, English, etc.--demanding more of the general writer than an all-English, all-American series.
.....Those who want Heroes 2 to grip them faster and have been hard on this series should perhaps re-examine how season one also developped--quite slowly, really--but the intricate layerings of plotline, character interweavings and potential outcomes got most of the world hooked on the show by December/January. Again this fall, the writing is smarter than many critics have given it credit for. Certainly, there was perhaps a drop in interest merely because the viewers knew the general capacities of these characters and had already seen a year of a "saving-the-world" scenario, but the writers are starting to move past that, to get viewers engaged differently in the show's characters and turns.
.....Taking it to the next level, which it appears Heroes is and will be doing, is a difficult, arduous task. But the writers are already managing it--for who we trust is always shifting, what we thought we knew last year also begins to develop differently, and therefore how we become engaged in the stories the authors are telling us about the series is starting at this stage--which is, if one re-examines last year's series, pretty parallel in time frame--to engross and "hook us".
.....Additionally, as in this particular episode, moral reflections the show might supply viewers with which may make them reflect on their "real" outside-the-realm-of-the-show world, are adding a nice depth to Heroes. For example, this episode may evoke questions we have about our own accepting or not of death as portrayed in Hiro's tale today, how one perceives ideas of "fate"/what one takes of "superstition" or "predictions" as seen in the tale of Claire's father, professional and personal interaction loyalties as shown in Suresh's tale, potential abuses of power by a "good person" as are being developped in the mind-reading to mind-control character's tale (how/where does a "good person" go bad?), and finally how one interacts and sees the importance of family--certainly an American obsession since the 50s as a topic to look at via TV, cinema and books. Fabelesque, multi-lingual, action sci fi in a second season: it's a lot to manage! Give the authors credit where it is do--great work!!!

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