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Shark, meet Heroes. Heroes, Shark. Ready? Jump!

I’ve been watching Heroes since the first episode, more or less enjoying it, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll bother. The most recent episode, a two-parter, really jumped the shark.

The show has been an interesting rip off of X-Men, but has had problems from the beginning. They introduced so many characters with so many powers there wasn’t much time to concentrate on any of them. They relied too much on time travel to solve their problems. And while everything was building up to killing Sylar, in the end he crawled away and got all better in time for the new season.

Now there are even more characters, and the good guys are the bad guys and the bad guys are the good guys and it’s getting more contrived and annoying with each episode. Sylar is still a bad guy. No wait! We travel to the future and see him as the good daddy, even wearing an apron while doing housework. Then back to the present, and he’s still a bad guy, but he really wants to be a good guy. Ok, now he’s working on being a good guy. But wait, he’s still a bad guy. No, now he’s a good guy. Ooops, not so fast, at the end of the last show he’s once again slicing skulls open again with his magic powers. A personal struggle between good and evil shouldn’t be this predictable and dull.

I’m perfectly willing to suspend belief for 44 minutes and pretend that people blessed with DNA changes can magically defy the laws of physics. But don’t insult my intelligence with a “world-wide eclipse.” Any fifth grader can tell you that an eclipse travels in a narrow band and only affects a small part of the planet at any one time, for about six minutes. It’s not physically possible for an eclipse to happen simultaneously in Kansas, New Jersey (the location of Pinehurst) and Haiti, or to last for an hour. Perhaps the show should contact Jeff Foxworthy and ask to borrow one of his fifth graders.

There are also major continuity errors. The first episode of the eclipse story ended with Noah Benet watching Sylar and Elle kissing through the scope of a sniper rifle. In the next episode we see them finishing up making love on the floor, and after a long conversation a laser dot appears on Sylar’s face, giving them enough warning to roll out of the way. Why didn’t Noah take the shot when he first had it? Is he just a dirty old man who would rather watch them bump uglies for a while before shooting? And what happened to the police when Clare came back to life? Did they just lose interest? Arthur Petrelli gains power by sucking other people’s powers away, leaving them powerless. But when he did it to Hiro, Hiro retained his powers and just lost his memory. Huh?

Sometimes good writers kill a major character part way into the story. It tells the reader (or viewer) that the dangers are real, and when the next character is in jeopardy the reader is much more engaged, knowing death is a real possibility. Bad writers take the easy, cheesy way out, killing their characters, but them magically bringing them back to life. ST:TNG killed off one of their annoying minor characters, Tasha Yar, in a rather pointless way, but couldn’t resist bringing her back (sort of) in a twisted time traveling tale. That, for me, was the official shark jumping moment, although the phrase didn’t exist back then. I used to watch Dallas with my wife, and was impressed when they killed off Bobby. At the end of the following season they appeared to kill of half the characters, but then Bobby appeared magically in the shower. We had to wait until the following season to learn that the previous season was all a dream. Arrrrgh! That trick worked once, in the Wizard of Oz, and should never, ever be used again. I felt ripped off and lied to and never watched another minute of the show.  That was more than twenty years ago, and I still remember it vividly.

None of the major characters in Heroes die and stay dead. Arthur Petrelli was supposedly dead, but then we find he’s really immobilized in a hospital somewhere. He steals Adams immortality, killing him, but we’ll probably see him resurrected later. In the last episode Noah kills a powerless Sylar, who is, of course, resurrected as soon as the eclipse is over. I’ve lost track of the number of times Clare has been killed. In this episode it looked like they finally killed her for real. Fat chance. She came back to life as soon as the eclipse was over. Of course. The result of these endless resurrections is that death has no dramatic impact in the series. Another character killed? Ho hum, what’s for dinner?

The show has been entertaining, but spotty, and I’d been hoping it would improve. Instead it’s gone the other way, and now has officially Jumped The Shark.

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3 Comment(s)

  1. I felt that they jumped in the first season. I haven’t been able to find the time to watch it since. I really thought they had something going for it but they killed it with too much character building. I lost interest before the first season ended.
    I thought it had a lot of potential but from your explanations of the second season I might have been right in my original assumption.

    Tom | Dec 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. I too, stopped after season 1.

    Johnny Virgil | Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. Like Lost, since the first season they find new ways to jump the shark more originally annoying than any other shark jumpers, I’m afraid Supernatural is headed that way, if there’s any Supernatural fans out there, let’s hope not..

    Diego | Oct 4, 2009 | Reply

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