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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
TV Round-Up
Heroes: The Kindness of Strangers
Did the writers for House infilitrate the writers' room over at Heroes? If you watch House, you know his mantra is "Everybody lies" and that sure seemed to be what everyone was doing this week on Heroes.

HRG is lying to the family, Claire is lying to HRG about the new guy in her life and Mama Patrelli is lying, claiming she committed the murder of Hiro's dad in the season-premiere. And I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that Claire's new boyfriend isn't all he seems. He's pushing too hard to get her to trust him and it seems fairly obvious he's got some other agenda.

I could jump on the band-wagon and say this show is in a sophomore slump. But really, it's been limping since the big episode focusing on HRG last year.

At this point, I could care less if we ever see the Wonder Twins ever again. Are they travelling across the entire South and Central American contintent to come to America. And why is nothing new happening with them? In case you missed it the first three weeks, Maya goes all Andromeda Strain and her brother is some kind of cure. And they're coming to America to find the deceased Dr. Soresh. And now they've picked up Sylar, who is probably licking his chops to absord that power to go Andromeda Strain. The sheer level of coincidence to this storyline just strained my already stretched thin willing suspension of disbelief. A couple of questions here. I'm guessing Sylar figured that one or both of the Wonder Twins have some ability based on their interest in Dr. Soresh. I'll buy that. But did Sylar kill everyone at the road side gas station? I clearly saw an older woman sitting in a chair in an establishing shot. But we only saw Sylar take out the American car owner. I'm guessing Sylar had to go on a killing rampage otherwise the police would soon be on their trail.

Meanwhile, we meet Nikki's cousin who also has a power. Apparently anything she sees done on TV she can imitate. If I were the government, I'd have her watching repeats of Star Trek right now to get on that transporter thing. We saw Scotty, Geordi and a host of other engineers repair it...maybe she can figure it out and build us one. I will give this storyline a bit of credit. When the manager asked the girl to lock up early, I figured she'd be using her cool new wrestling moves to fight him off. Thankfully, the show didn't go there.

The problem with this season of Heroes continues to be--too many characters, not enough focus. I'm guessing the writers think we all love Claire and can't get enough of her. She's an interesting enough character, I suppose, but it feels like she and HRG are getting more than their fair share of screen time. They're the only two characters who have been in all four episodes this year apart from the Wonder Twins. And it feels like this storyline is just going back over ground we covered last year. Claire doesn't trust HRG and he is hiding things from the family. Been there, done that, go the t-shirt.

I read somewhere that the big problem with Heroes this year is coming up with something to top the save the world plot of last year. And looking at it, I kind of have to agree. After you save the world, what's next? OK, sure Buffy did it a lot, but that show was also more grounded in compelling characters and crisp writing. Heroes is entirely plot driven and about building toward a goal...though what the goal is this year, I'm not sure. The mystery of who is behind the murders of the original Heroes isn't really seizing my interest. Up until now, Mama Patrelli has been a witch and the only intriguing figure in the original crew that held my interest was killed off in the season premiere. There may be some interest in the fact that Parkman's dad ay be the big bad, this this plotline needs to get moving if you're going to sell me on the fact that it's anywhere nearly as good a driving force as the whole "save the cheerleader, save the world" thing from last year.

Reaper: All Mine, Magic
Four episodes in and my biggest concern about Reaper is coming to fruition--it's become formulaic.

So far, here's what we can count on. Sam get an assignment from the Devil, including a vessel. Sam has to figure out how to use the vessel, who the soul is and then capture the soul and send it back to hell. Along the way, something will go wonky with the vessel and Sam's initial encounter with the soul won't go well. He'll figure it all out in the nick of time, but his whole life as the personal assistant for Satan will ruin his life--both social and otherwise.

Now, the good news is that at least Reaper is trying to cover this by having the character interaction be fun and entertaining. You could bump up the interaction between Sam and the Devil to half the show and I wouldn't mind.

And it's interesting to see the tensions between Andi and Sam. The last two weeks, Andi has basically thrown herself at Sam and he's pretty much spurned her advances. Not because he's not interested but because his life as the Reaper is getting in the way. And since he won't confess his secret identity to Andy, that's getting in the way. For those of you keeping score at home, that's just about every season of Smallville rolled into one. Which it's OK now but this could get old very fast. Either Reaper has to have Sam confess who he is to Andi or watch her move on to someone else and see Sam suffer for it.

Wait, we sort of got that last week..but it was all easily resolved by episode's end.

And we've seen just how far the Devil will go to help or hurt Sam. Last week he shut down the college Andi wanted to attend to keep her close to Sam. This week, he lured her to the magic show to trap Sam into going after the soul. Andi as a pawn in the game between Sam and the Devil could be interesting. That said, if the Devil keeps showing up in Andi's life and she doesn't get a clue that he's more than he seems, I could be annoyed.

So, while I'm frustrated by the formula nature of the monster of the week stories, I still like the characters. Watching Sam try to find a loophole in the contract was nicely done and the scene where the Devil sent the semi to keep Sam in line was also a treat.

Reaper has a lot of potential to it. I just hope it can break the mold and start breaking some new ground.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/17/2007 10:03:00 AM | |
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