30 Days of TV – Day 11

Day 11 – A show that disappointed you

Back in the day, there was a new TV show. It was incredibly popular, especially with the nerd crowd, and was hailed as one of the best, must-see television programs of the year. I had Monday-night classes, so I couldn’t watch the first season, but Tenandys picked it up on DVD and we plowed through it over a couple of nights.

It was, indeed, that good: great character development, smooth pacing which went from gradual immersion to a fast-paced finale. It was realistic for dealing with such unrealistic material, a great science-fiction adventure that was still a drama at heart. Watching the characters develop and mature, learning to understand themselves, made this first season spectacular. We were hooked so badly that we demanded my roommate pause his Shadowrun game so for an hour so we could watch it. Which got the rest of the gaming group hooked on this show. It was great, and only looking to go up.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this show was NBC’s Heroes. Unlike most superhero shows, this one followed the emerging breed of superhumans as they gained (and struggled to understand) their powers, and joining to counter the rise of the first super-villain. The concept: sublime. The pacing: masterful. The characters: solid, for the most part, though Matt Parkman was a surprisingly dumb cop, and besides looking hot, Niki Sanders was pretty vanilla.

 Alas, the second season was a letdown. It had a great deal of potential, and I blame the writer’s strike (and thus shortened season) for a lot of the mis-steps: new characters were introduced, and long, drawn out plotlines were established. Hiro in Japan could have been an epic plotline, but instead came across as wasting the talents of everyone’s favorite hero. Peter in Ireland was a pain—the Irish characters were all dumber than a sack of nails; our running joke was that the only smart person in Ireland was Peter’s prospective girlfriend, but she was abandoned in the alternate future, one of many unresolved plot-threads.

But when the season only ran for half-length, these long-term plots felt sluggish (Hiro in Japan;), and the new characters mostly died before redeeming themselves (Alejandro and Maya), or weren’t really developed (Elle). Some characters had outlived their usefulness yet are kept on, such as Niki and Mohinder—I like Mohinder, but at the start of season 2, he no longer has a suitable role. Others who could be pretty cool—e.g., Micah—aren’t given the time of day. And Isaac Mendez, with the awesome Tim Sale art, is killed off in season 1, resulting in the constant “there’s another secret Mendez painting out there” plots… a character too powerful to let live, yet one too interesting to leave buried. Sigh. When one of the major draws to a show are the cameos… still, they were awesome, and included Christopher Eccleston and a bajillion people related to Star Trek.

And then… we had season 3, which made the previous season look good; I stopped caring in the middle of the season and gave up. The magic of the first season was gone; what made the show originally work was mangled by the writers’ strike and killed in the following two seasons.

The end result is filled with plot holes, dangling threads, stupid developments, and wasted effort. For me, Heroes starts and ends with the first season… everything after that sticks messily together like a ball of yarn which accidentally rolled through an oil slick. And then through a field of manure. You can just barely see the original elements of what made the show good, the tangled-up core, under a thick coat of cow shit, dying flies, and lost dreams.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Spoiler/Preview/Recap:
Day 01 – A show that should have never been canceled – Jericho
Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching – Fringe
Day 03 – Your favorite new show (aired this TV-season) – Game of Thrones
Day 04 – Your favorite show ever – Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Day 05 – A show you hate – various micro-rants
Day 06 – Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show – The Oath/Blood on the Scales
Day 07 – Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show – Black Market
Day 08 – A show everyone should watch – Better Off Ted
Day 09 – Best scene/episode ever – Out of Gas
Day 10 – A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving – NCIS
Day 11 – A show that disappointed you – Heroes
Day 12 – A TV show you’ve watched more than 4 times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood show
Day 14 – Favorite male character
Day 15 – Favorite female character
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show
Day 17 – Favorite mini series
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence
Day 19 – Best t.v show cast
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
Day 21 – Favorite relationship
Day 22 – Best pilot episode
Day 23 – Most annoying character
Day 24 – Best quote
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)
Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale
Day 27 – Favorite series finale
Day 28 – First t.v show obsession
Day 29 – Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death


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