vrijdag 31 oktober 2008

Hooked on Heroes

(This blog contains minor spoilers)

I have recently started watching Season 3 of Heroes on BBC 2. The Beeb usually airs things earlier than Belgian TV AND the big bonus is that there are no annoying commercial breaks: TV as it should be.

I have not really been all that impressed with most new series for the last few years. Sure, I like the occasional 24 or Prison Break, but I can pretty much live without it.
Heroes is one of the few series I was truly excited about, alongside the new Doctor Who, which I really started liking after it was revamped by Russell T. Davies.

First and foremost Heroes is a geek feast. It has many references to other comics/series/movies that we adore, yet it makes sure not to be plagiarism. The most obvious parallel, of course, is with Marvel’s X-Men.
I think the character of Hiro Nakamura(who is a comic book geek himself), actually even calls Shadowcat/Kitty Pryde by name once.
And then of course there is the comic book within the series, 9th Wonders, that is clearly appealing to the comic book fans.
But there are smaller, more subtle references to other oeuvres, such as calling the man who has the ability to become invisible Claude Rains.
Season 3 has some clear references to The Fly, but I’ll let you figure out for yourself where that is.

References aside, I loved the show from the start because it’s visually very dynamic and does interesting things with characters. Besides having these great super powers, the characters are fundamentally human, and fundamentally flawed.
I like how some people have powers contradictory to their nature. Such as Claire being the unbreakable yet petite teenage girl, Linderman being the crime boss who has the power to heal, or Hiro, who can control time and space, while still being geeky and clumsy.
The storytelling is sound, and even manages to weave in time travel fairly well. It also tends to have a bunch of twists that make things more interesting.

I think Heroes, alongside with other series/films about people with superpowers, calls out to something deep within us. It raises questions like: Is this really all that we are, as a species, or can we become more? Where is humanity going? What’s the next step in our evolution?
While decades of sci-fi have been about the “what if” of scientific evolution – cyborgs, spaceships, futuristic weapons – the new generation of sci-fi is more often playing on the “what if” of human evolution. This is in a way even more disconcerting – and exciting – because we are, literally, going further than skin-deep. It’s being taken to our very core: our DNA.

In any case, I'm not the only person loving it, because after 3 seasons Heroes is still going strong.
While I didn’t find Season 2 to be as stunning as Season 1, there is in fact much to be liked about Season 3: Villains.
True to its name, it sheds more light on the role of the “bad guy”, and shows that all is not black and white. Moralities are explored, and glimpses of the future show us that today’s hero might be tomorrow’s villain, and vice versa.

Without being too spoilerific: Season 3 tells us much more about the character of Sylar. We learn that his “hunger” for other people’s powers is in fact part of his ability. Claire is going through a personality change that is both interesting and scary to see, and Mohinder…well, let’s just say Mohinder stops being goody two-shoes quite dramatically.

See, my hands are itching to write spoilers, but I won’t – I rather hate it when I read them myself.

I want to see more! Is it Wednesday yet?

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