Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TV series Heroes

I said I was going to post more on natural history and ecology, and I had entirely intended to, but life intervenes. (Although on an ecology note, I heard on NPR this morning that the guest was estimating a 80%-90% chance Obama will succumb to the Keystone pipeline bill during his second term, despite his political base. Say it isn't so!) Well, my pre-wife bought me the box-set DVD collection of Heroes Season One. I finished it last night, and it was quite the thrill ride, but I am glad it is over. It was fun, but I am glad. Why? It was not a series that was convenient. It was not kind to it's audience (or at least the part represented by me). Here's why: there were very few story frameworks. It was not appropriately episodic. There were very few reliable endings. Now, cliffhangers during a two-parter are acceptable. Unresolved endings are acceptable. Hints that "the villian lived and will come back for revenge later" or somesuch are acceptable. Heroes was a continuous flow of story lines that felt like a 26-parter (I forget how many episodes the season had.) It was not until the season ended that I felt a little relief in the form of something resembling an ending. A TV series needs to be episodic, I think. It felt more like a made-for-tv movie. I guess that is a matter of taste, but I think I have precedent on my side. A talented creative team can form a wonderfully rich story taken as a whole, but with each installment being readable or watchable in and of itself. This may be been a matter of taste, and certainly makes good business sense for the TV series, but I wa unhappy with it. Storywise, I was especially disappointed that the whole series did not diverge much from the X-Men archetype. Wrapped up with that, I was also disappointed the eclipse (despite the series logo and pilot) wasn't much of a factor in the plot. Perpahs the solar eclipse was explained and incorporated later, but it was such promise as an alternative to the tired old mutation concept. Like the X-Men movies, heroes even featured a mutant conspiracy and government-sponsered genocide. And the concept of a villian-stealing-super-powers was one of their biggest innovations, but even that was taken from LXG (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Can you please point me to any example of innovation? I generally applaud the series, but I am very glad I caught it on DVD rather than immersed in the broadcast episodes. One of my largest applauds most go to the casting of Malcolm McDowell as a great, multi-faceted villian. I have caught his performances on other occasions, and this was one of the best roles. A role befitting him. I am still annoyed that Star Trek Generations so wasted his potential. Although the same happened with F. Murray Abraham in Star Trek: Insurrection, so I guess it's a sad habit of the franchise. Speaking of Trek, seeing the reboot Spock (Quinto) as Sylar was interesting, and very good casting also. George Takei had a good "peice of the action." Oh, and do you recognize this guy? I knew he looked familiar! Erick Avari was Daniel's Abados father-in-law on Stargate, plus a million other things, including bit roles in Star Trek: Enterprise, Babylon 5, Independace Day, and Lois and Clark, among others. And he was in The 13th Warrior, too! Speaking on Insurrection earlier, I did a quick search on YouTube, and although it says little to nothing about Abraham, it's well done:

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