Heroes s1:4 review

Heroes: getting better every week, or just a high-budget and more pretentious version of the X-Men?

“It just keeps getting better and better!” squeaks the overzealous BBC announcer just prior to tonight’s episode.

As the hype gets yet more ubiquitous and everyone (even the Goddamn announcer) harps on about how great it is, Heroes still fails to impress me in the slightest. I spent my youth reading the X-Men comics and I’ve seen this story before. I don’t particularly want or need it fed through a pretentious, po-faced Lost filter and turned into yet another ‘slow-burning’ TV show with an ensemble cast of irritants and inconsequentials. Loads of recurring symbols and motifs pop up and obviously mean loads, man. I sometimes wonder if people spend so much time trying to decipher the background that they miss just how dull and annoying everything else is.

Let’s see what we’ve got in the stock pot this week …

Peter Slidey-mouth Petrelli: Whining, self-obsessed tool whom we’reled to believe can fly. Bad hair. Annoying problem in that he talks out of only one side of his mouth. Makes me feel sick. In this episode, Peter sleeps with Simone (thus far insignificant non-super-powered background character) and they have an exchange so melodramatic, it could’ve been lifted line for line from The Young and the Restless (“I need to catch my breath before I let you take it away again!”). Cutting edge stuff here.

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Isaac: Still an angry artist. Still shooting smack. Still wearing aheadband. Still painting images of the future. Including one in whichhis girlfriend Simone sleeps with Slidey-mouth. That’s one way to find out I suppose. He isn’t angry though, because he’s too busy spouting self-aggrandising crap about being a hero and saving the world with his psychic ability. He gets given the gift of spooky eyes for his troubles.

Mohinder: shifty little creep with no superpowers. Still hanging outwith the Australian pixie girl whose name I still haven’t caught,whilst trying to solve the mystery of the Hatch. I mean, uh, theHeroes. Or whatever they are. He is still boring and unable to smile;in this episode he chats with Slidey-mouth ad nauseam about how/why the latter can fly. Two of the most annoying actors on TV engaged in dialogue. Ugh. My face was buried so deep in my hands that I almost missed the important bit where it seems that Peter can actually imitate anyone’s powers if he’s within close proximity. Bit like Rogue then, really. Haven’t seen that one before.

Niki: Continues to wander frowny-faced through her seedy world ofviolent lowlives without ever really getting seedy, violent or lowenough to be interesting. Her kid is twenty times smarter than anyone around him. Not, as far as we know at least, a hero though. She gets hired in this episode to seduce Nathan Petrelli. More obvious crap about her rather lively ‘dark half’ ensues.

Speaking of which, Nathan Petrelli: Is he good? Is he evil? Can hefly? Do we care? Not really. He’s probably significant later on in thestory but right now he’s the televisual equivalent of dull, brown wallpaper. Slowly peeling.

Claire: The cheerleader who can’t die. She wakes up on an autopsytable, all ribs and organs, and escapes in a faintly amusingpre-credits sequence. This descends into an irritatingly predictableteen subplot about a high school rapist.

Mark: The fat cop who can read minds gets kidnapped and probed by Claire’s dad, who seems to be in league with the singer Seal (or a vaguely convincing lookalike). I think they’re the supervillains butwe haven’t seen much of them yet. No great loss.

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Hiro: This time-turning happy-go-lucky goofball is the only vaguelylikeable character thus far, but he’s wasted on a storyline thatbecomes increasingly preposterous. He and his comedy sidekick (wow, a show in which even the comic relief has a lame sidekick is really scraping the barrel) go to Vegas and cheat at gambling.In one scene, Hiro explains how he’s tried to call Isaac to warn him about New York’s impending doom but doesn’t speak good enough English to get his point across. He asks his friend what the English for “you’re going to die” is. His friend, who speaks fluent English, tells him. Yet, inexplicably, doesn’t volunteer to make the phonecall for him. This kind of plothole and the subsequent time-wasting at the card tables just made my interest wane even further. I was virtually catatonic by the time they were being beaten up by a cowboy in an alley.

After all this mess, we get a Making Of The Episode documentary, as ever, because obviously this is the best thing to ever get put on TV and deserves such treatment. If nothing else, this proves that actors should never, ever be allowed to talk out of character.