Heroes: Season One in Review

Well, Season One of _Heroes_ is now complete, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll even bother tuning in for Season Two. Tim Kring has me _that_ upset with his piss-poor writing. _I_ could have written a better show here, and I’ve been tempted to draft a couple of sample scripts for episodes myself just to prove that I can. Mind you, I don’t want an _X-Men_ knock-off here. That’s been done already, and by much better writers than Kring. But Kring’s premise for the show was fabulous. In the _X-Men_ series, you have mutants who effectively become larger than life. In _Heroes_ you have regular people coming into their abilities who just want to continue being regular people. Kring tried to tackle this subject – and failed. Miserably. What he ended up with were weak, pathetic people who were never really able to get a handle on who they were now. His characters all felt watered-down and washed out.

The moral of the show came out in the final monologue – the hero’s true values are not the powers he possesses but the people he comes into contact with and loves – but I suspect that moral will have gotten lost in the absolutely terrible way the show ended. I can even see how Kring _tried_ to demonstrate this moral in each of his characters’ development throughout the season, but I think it could have been done _much_ better.

Kring can write drama (albeit, not well), and he can certainly handle suspense (he had me on the edge of my seat more often than not this season) – but I’m convinced that Kring has no clue how to write conflict. Every single instance of conflict in every episode was like a flashbang – loud and noisy but ultimately causing no real damage. For instance, the first fight with Peter and Sylar was over before it even began. Peter hardly put up a real fight and then somehow (conveniently) ended up with his back to Sylar. Likewise, the final battle with Sylar was sloppy and chaotic. Niki had one solid strike in, and Peter, who supposedly has all this power and great ability, opts to use his frickin’ fists on Sylar’s face? Remember? The guy with the great telekinetic ability? And of course Hiro’s little jab was cheesy and completely unbelievable. But there are others, as well. Niki’s physical attacks were always one strike, and then it was either the victim was rendered unconscious or Kring decided it was to cut to another scene. See? Even he realized he had no grasp on writing conflict. Turns out, it was just easier for him to change the subject rather than let us see that too soon. But he couldn’t avoid that in the final battle, and there we got to see what a hack he truly is.

I’m disappointed in the lack of real character development in this season. It’s my opinion that Kring set too high a goal by creating so many characters for himself. Some TV writers could have developed whole, well-rounded characters that only got richer and fuller as the season went on (see: Joss Whedon). Kring’s characters, if anything, seemed to become more shallow and faded the closer to the finale we got. I don’t feel like any of them really grew or developed all that much, mostly because they simply continued to react to events around them rather than becoming stronger and taking a more proactive stance. Sure, there were many feints and attempts at action – Hiro’s first attempt to destroy Sylar, Peter and Claire searching New York, Parkman and Bennett going after Molly – but mostly everyone seemed to be trying to run away.

Conspiracies were revealed, and only some of the answers were given. This part I’m fine with – I like a little suspense. But the pacing was all wrong. I could deal with the first half dozen episodes kind of dragging out answers for us, but they never really seemed to gather any steam from there. Kring knew he had a good thing with the cliffhanger, but then couldn’t seem to find the courage to move behind the cliffhanger and give us some real action. All these characters had such great potential to become true superheroes, to develop and become true forces for good. Sadly, I think he mostly ended up with superflops, and this is why this former fan may not be able to stomach tuning in for Season Two next fall.

I loved the principle of this show. I think it had merit. Frankly, I think it still does. But I think Kring needs to concede control of the writing to someone else, someone who can actually write for TV and do these characters justice. They have the potential to be inspiring, engaging, and interesting. Right now, they’re… not. I think I’m almost sorry now I even got hooked on this show. It certainly didn’t meet my expectations in the end.

3 thoughts on “Heroes: Season One in Review”

  1. Yeah, Kring is going to have to do much better next season if he wants to live up the the potential with which I tagged him earlier this season – u know… he could challenge Joss Whedon…. No.. Ever since I said that the show has gone down hill.

    I’m still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt though – I still think he’s holding cards he has yet to show. I remember seasons 3 and 6 of Buffy going “What are you doing Joss”???? but when 4, 5 and especially 7 came around, I repented of my lack of faith. Who knows.. Maybe Kring is still setting up – maybe he has no idea what he’s doing.

    Though I would have to question the wisdom of using the first season of a show as that elaborate of a set up. Joss at least waited till season 3 – after he had established a pretty heavy following with the popular, fun, witty, and sometimes dark first 2 seasons – before he started in on the really dark stuff and the setups… And I very much agree that this episode reeked of this aroma of ‘nothing’s happening’ it was dripping with awkwardness… And I haven’t been truly surprised by anything for at least 6 eps… And I haven’t been held in suspense, scratching my head and wondering what’s going to happen since Sylar and Mohinder joined up.

  2. PS. One thing Kring displayed is that he loves developing a character at first, but he gets bored with them after a bit. Here’s Fred and we spend about 2 eps learning about who Fred is and where he came from and what he can do, and then Kring gets bored with him and Sylar steals his ability – or he gets captured by the company – or he gets scared and runs away….

    That whole 6 week break you’ve been complaining about… the show hasn’t been that good since then – I mark that as the downslide.

  3. I don’t know if it’s that Kring gets bored with his characters or simply doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Honestly, to me his writing feels like he gets himself lost in his own story and isn’t really quite sure where to go with it. He has this big picture in mind of how things will play out in general, but when it comes to the specifics, he stumbles.

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