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08 September 2006 @ 10:53 am
Two entries in a day! I'm on a roll!  
Because I said I would, here's a brief rundown of my take on the pilot episode for Heroes, "Genesis".  I'm just c/p-ing what I posted at Wicked-Insanity, but I'll also place it under the cut here:

Heroes is a new show premiering Monday, Sept. 25th on NBC. Its premise revolves around ordinary people gradually discovering emerging special 'abilities' in themselves, and how they will both deal with them and 'be dealt with' themselves.

I actually managed to see the first part of the two-part pilot, "Genesis" over last weekend. Saturday night, when I went to the last big theater in Orlando still playing Superman Returns - to see it for the 21st time - I was given an iTunes promo card for a free Heroes download. So of course I snagged it as soon as I could.

I must say that I have somewhat elevated personal expectations/hype for this type of series, as the idea of superheroes with latent abilities and comic-type lore is right up my alley of interest. I'll include some brief thoughts on "Genesis", so if you want to stay completely unspoiled, you've been warned.

After an initial viewing, I can say that the show has some potential, but really kinda stumbles a bit out of the gate, with respect to the dialogue and the overall pacing of the introductions to the characters. There's almost a rushed immediacy, with the viewer being dropped in the middle of a story that's seemingly already started. The characters already seem to have a grasp that there is something going on inside them that's making them feel and act differently - and a few of them are already using/testing their new respective abilities. The story opens on the eve of a solar eclipse, and it's as yet unclear as to how big of a catalyst or part of the story that phenomenon may or ay not be.

The reactions the characters have to these changes vary. Some are happy and ecstatic over being unique, while others see it as a burden, placing them in an outcast territory if their secret gets revealed, and still others are still trying to understand what's happening, hoping they aren't going crazy in the process. These are the primary individuals with emerging abilities we get to see in the first episode:

Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) - A high school teen cheerleader; she's cute, popular, and part of the "in" crowd. She's developed spontaneous tissue/cellular regeneration. If she injures herself, she heals almost immediately, and seems to have a high threshold for pain. We gather that she's known about her 'uniqueness' for a while, as she's been testing herself through trial and error, and is somewhat disturbed that she's now so different, fearing being shunned as a freak. She's hiding her abilities from her family.

Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) - Seems to be an in-home nurse or aide/caregiver for terminally ill patients. He has medical training, and his older brother Nathan (Adrian Pastar) is running for Senate in New York. He's been having vivid dreams where he's flying, floating, or falling - and has an instinctive urge to levitate or fly himself when he wakes. His brother also appears in the dreams quite frequently, but he doesn't know why.

Niki Sanders (Ali Larter) - A financially struggling single mom to Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) - a gifted 8 yr old prodigy - she's on the outs with some bookies/loan sharks, against whom she borrowed money to pay for her genius son's private school admission. She has a nagging feeling that someone whom she can't see is always watching her, adding to her constant fear for her's and her son's safety as they struggle to get by.

Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera) - An artist living in NYC, whose apparently also a heroin addict. We find out that for weeks he's been blacking out and then waking to find he's painted portraits and images that he can't remember doing. And - they are clairvoyant, as they depict events that come to pass at a future date. He's at the end of his rope, and is struggling with the weight of what he's able to 'see' when he paints, and the addiction he deals with.

Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) - A Japanese office worker in Tokyo, who is a self-professed comic-nerd, always the 'geek' in school, as described to his friend and colleague (all of these scenes are in Japanese, with subtitles). He's concentrated and developed the ability to manipulate the time-space continuum - first by stopping, reversing, and advancing seconds, minutes, and hours (he's the only one aware/affected by his manipulations), and eventually wants to control teleportation - manipulating his own presence in space as well as time.

Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is introduced as the son of a recently killed Indian scientist and geneticist, whose well-published work dealt with human evolutionary theory. The primary focus of his recent work was on possibilities of the spontaneous genetic mutation of a few individuals in a given generation, who find themselves thrust up a rung on the evolutionary ladder. We learn that some covert agency may be behind his death, and is onto the same path of discovering these individuals around the globe who may have these mutations.

There are a few other characters tied to the 'leads', and Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) and D.L. Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) are two other latent-ability possessors who've yet to be introduced in the first hour.

Like I said above, the idea for a unique and interesting story development is there, but the execution so far is mediocre at best. And a few characters come across as more annoying than interesting. There's lots of talk about "destiny" and "fate" - mainly from Mohinder, a character with almost too much exposition to give, who's curiosity is picking up where his father's research left off. There are a few plot twists at the end that set up a nice 'to be continued' vibe, so I'll definitely stick around to see if positive steps can be made to improve how the story is being told.
schrutefan: kate hopefulschrutefan on September 12th, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
You make some good points, but I was so giddy about the premise, I missed most of them during the first viewing. I've always had a fondness for the story of X-men, and now we get it all from the beginning in a relatively realistic way.

Mohinder did bother me - it's like they've decided he's the pseudo-narrator of the story, as he'll be the one who digs around and figures out the origin of everything that's happening and interweave himself in everyone's lives.

Hiro is by far my favourite, now since he is Asian, I am technically obligated to root for him, but his comical enthusiasm is just great in contrast to how everyone else is reacting to their new-found gifts.

Still looking forward to more Heroes.
Jeff: buffy - dressed to killj_mac179 on September 13th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
Of course you have Asian-bias - I would expect no less. The main issue I have with Hiro is how far he's come along in his progress in one installment of the story. By the end of the ep he's already able to teleport.

I guess I was just expecting a slow and steady progression for all of them, as we the viewers see it from the very beginning. But I suppose for the sake of drawing a larger, repeating audience right away, the abilities and "wow" factors need to be established rather sooner than later.

I'll still be keeping up with it, of course, and hoping the character development/dialogue presentation establishes a more even pace.