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Heroes is a drama about individuals across the globe suddenly discovering that they have super powers. NBC 2006-2010


Episode 1 - Genesis

30 March 2012

Synopsis: New York carer Peter Petrelli is having dreams of flying with his brother, politician Nathan. Peter helps one of his patient’s daughters (Simone) with her addict boyfriend Isaac Mendez. He has been unknowingly painting the future including the destruction of New York in a nuclear explosion. Indian geneticist Mohinder Suresh learns of his father’s death and suspects foul play. He heads to New York to continue his father’s work, looking for people carrying the genes which will carry the next step of human evolution. He is being followed by a man in spectacles who turns out to be the father of Texan cheerleader Claire Bennet. She has discovered she can regenerate her cells no matter what the injury. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, Niki Sanders is trying to avoid the mob who she borrowed money from to educate child prodigy Micah. She thinks she is losing her mind as her reflection seems to be coming to life and when it does she wakes up to find she has killed two men. Finally Japanese office worker Hiro tries to convince friend Ando that he can bend space and time. His experiments lead him to teleport to New York, just as Peter leaps off a building and discovers that he and Nathan can fly.

The Good: Watching the pilot of Heroes feels like watching the start of something epic. The use of the eclipse as either a real or simply coincidental event to link all the characters together makes the events seem part of a huge change for the human race. The use of Mohinder’s speech about genetics at the beginning and his speech to Peter in the taxi both provide a nice explanation for the changes which the characters are going through. By linking their development to the parts of the brain we never use it becomes clearer why Peter is dreaming of what will happen and why the characters all seem to feel a change even before they understand its physical development.

The comic book style of the show helps set the scene nicely. By telling us where each scene is taking place we can quickly fill in details for ourselves about the characters lives.

The characters are a nice blend and their reaction gives us a nice patchwork of situations to absorb. While Niki is desperate and scared, Hiro is excited and sure of himself. Claire is lonely and confused while Peter feels closer to his brother and begins to develop a sense of destiny. Niki’s story is particularly interesting as it is not clear exactly what her powers are. The sight of her reflection is an intense and creepy image.

The show also introduces you to the wider arc plot and the battles that are to come. Isaac’s chilling portrait of a nuclear New York and Mr Bennet’s icy words to Mohinder effectively demonstrate the threat our heroes will be under.

The vast web of characters and their stories again gives a sense of the epic. You want to learn more about each of them and what they can do. Commercially speaking the number of characters is a strong selling point because it gives the viewer many people to be interested in and offsets the turn-off of a character who viewers don’t like.

The Bad: Heroes creator Tim Kring admittedly consulted with Lost creator Damon Lindelof on aspects of the show. Certainly the similarities are obvious. A science fiction show with a serialised story, a large cast of characters, a sense of destiny, mysterious events going on which connect everything together, right down to the subtitled Asian characters. One of the major differences between the two pilot episodes though is action. While Lost centred on two hikes which led to big dramatic reveals, Heroes is slightly lacking in action. Heroes chooses a comic book stlye of short, sharp dramatic scenes rather than larger scale ones. It does make the pilot a lengthy exercise in characters talking to each other and looking very serious all the time. A small complaint, but there is little to get the heart racing here.

Mohinder’s accent is a strange point of criticism for the show. He adopts a traditional Indian speaking English accent in his opening speech. But during his chat with Peter he begins to slip into his natural American accent. As the show goes on he will give up on the Indian accent almost entirely.

The part of our brain that we don’t use is given an extraordinary potential list of abilities. Flight and teleportation are amazing things for a human to potentially do. But the ability to stop time seems a step to far. While I can not claim any knowledge of genetics it seems far fetched for evolution to allow Hiro to freeze time or Isaac to see it. Perhaps there is extra-terrestrial work at play in the show, but if not it seems quite the stretch for logic. It’s an especially suspicious development because time travel is a thoroughly tempting tool of the sci-fi writer.

The Unknown: Does the eclipse have a supernatural role in unleashing the powers in our heroes? Time will tell.

Best Moment: Peter is riding in Mohinder’s cab. He asks him if he ever felt like he was meant to do something extraordinary. Mohinder says that some individuals appear normal but they carry the genetic code which will take their species to the next level and that is their destiny. We then get a montage showing the characters all feeling very alone, just as we discover that they are not.

Epilogue: Despite the slow pace, this is a fine opening episode. It draws its universe very well. We get a real sense of who the characters are and what they will have to deal with. We are given lots to be interested in and intrigued by.



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