SYNOPSIS: The first half of the season was devoted to the Villains arc which meant every character had to use the word “villain(s)” at least one time. A bunch of new character were introduced and then all were promptly killed by the arc’s end, other than the speedster Daphne. Sylar went from bad to good to bad again. Hiro lost his powers. Peter lost his powers, then got them back. Nathan turned evil in the last episode. Peter and Nathan’s father turned out to be alive; now he’s dead again courtesy of Sylar. Parkman and Daphne were/are fated to be together. Ando developed the ability to strengthen others abilities (which had to be disappointing for him). Suresh offered more over the top narration while he broke out in scales. Claire yearned to be more than a punching bag. And we learned artist Isaac Mendez managed to release more work after his death than Tupac.
WHAT WORKED: Sylar’s journey was fun. I enjoyed the Elle/Sylar Bonnie and Clyde dynamic for the short time it lasted. The character of Daphne (played by Brea Grant) was a breath of fresh air and was smartly introduced as part of Hiro’s story. The Hiro/Daphne arch-nemesis relationship was hilarious in the early episodes of the season, but sadly not explored enough for my liking. Adrian Pasdar (Nathan) and Jack Coleman (HRG) made the best of the material they were given.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: Let’s start with a quote from showrunner Tim Kring:
“I was primarily fascinated by the origin story. Once the original story is over, and the character has no more questions about what’s happening or existential drama, then the questions become just about plot, and then it becomes harder for me personally to connect to.”
That’s not exactly encouraging if you’re a fan of Heroes or, I imagine, if you work on the show. The showrunner admits he’s bored with the story he’s telling, it’s hard to provide much harsher criticism than that, but here are a few things that bugged me. Over the top dialogue was given to actors who simply couldn’t pull it off. Zachary Quinto (Sylar) can deliver any cheesy line you give him, but others in the cast will make you laugh or cringe with similiar material. The romantic relationships all felt very forced and weren’t given enough time to develop properly. You should never tell your audience two characters are fated to fall in love. It almost guarantees a backlash from fans. The writers just lucked out that the Daphne/Matt relationship wasn’t a total disaster (largely due to talent and likeability of the actors involved). Interesting newer characters were killed while played-out characters from the original cast lived and continued to bore.
HOW TO FIX IT: Get rid of Kring and put Bryan Fuller (creator of the brilliant but canceled “Pushing Daisies”) in charge. He was one of the main reason season one was so good. And his absence was one of the main reason season two was so awful. Recently, Fuller rejoined the Heroes staff as a consultant.
Focus more on Peter Parker and less on Spider-man. The human element of the heroes is what the audience really connects to.
Don’t be afraid to kill some of the original cast. I know some characters are probably untouchable (Claire, Peter), but there are others who could get the ax in favor of some new blood. Is there really much left of Suresh’s story to be told? And while I love Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman on the show), wouldn’t it be all poetic and twisted if he died in Daphne’s arms after he had that vision of Daphne dying in his arms?