Friday, May 02, 2008

Buttered Too Thin

Hayden PanettiereThe second series of Heroes is like a fine whisky that’s been castrated by too much soda water. The first series had a kick and a potency to it that took your breath away but made you thirst for more. By the time the showdown with Silar was approaching I was a Heroes alcky, I was getting the DTs in between episodes...

But series 2 feels like going cold turkey.

Which isn’t to say I’m not enjoying it – I am; and God knows there’s eff all else on TV on a Thursday night and I’d be happy to watch Hayden Panettiere chop off her pinkies with a pair of scissors any time of the day but as a whole the show just ain’t grabbing me around the gonads like series 1.

The complaints and accusations of slowness from fans in the states have been well documented. That and the fact that the ratings plummeted like a damp squid at a cliff diving competition. I do wonder if my approach to the show has been somehow jaundiced by this knowledge; that I’m not giving it as fair a go as I normally would...

But no. It is slow. Heroes is missing its bite. And the plot twists are far, far too predictable – Peter Petrelli being alive; Takeshi Kenzo being a gaijin... I saw all these coming from a mile off. Mr Horn Rimmed Glasses also seems a weak incarnation of his former self. He’s gone from sinister, morally ambivalent secret agent to the dad from The Wonder Years. That’s not a good move.

The show lacks direction, it lacks dynamism. It’s like the plot denouement last series was so big it left a void that the writer’s just don’t know how to fill.

But, as I said, it isn’t all bad. Hayden Panettiere’s character and storyline are flourishing. I took me a while to take to her in the first series but she won me over in the end. She holds the screen effortlessly and the frequent displays of her often gruesome super powers are a highlight of the show. Masi Oka is also still a joy to watch but his return to feudal Japan, for all it might be essential to whatever plot twist is currently unfolding, is just tiresome. It feels like an unnecessary aside.

The worst thing about series 2 though is the God awful Irish accents exhibited by the clods that have taken possession of Peter Petrelli. He might have amnesia, he might even have brain damage but surely even he can twig that he’s about as far away from Cork, Ireland as it’s possible to get?

It seems to me that the recent writer’s strike in America may eventually prove to be the saviour of the show’s bacon. Allegedly the hiatus bought the show’s producers and writers time to reassess their goals and to take on board some of the criticisms. I hear tell that the second half of series 2 has been completely scrapped and they’re going to kick off afresh with series 3 in an attempt to return to form.

I do hope so. Heroes has a lot of potential. It would be a shame to see it squandered.

Mature it in a well seasoned oak barrel and I’ll order a double next time around. Promise.

16 comments:

Daisy said...

the whole season isn't like that...there are one or two good shows but for the most part i agree with you...omg the irish accents was a riot! i had to call a friend in ireland and play it for them to hear how they portray them here...i laughed so hard! Especially, in Cork? ffs i even have a hard time with their accent and i do pretty well most of the time...and look forward to a bit more of the sinister role...it is coming...

Steve said...

That's good to know Daisy... I prefer it when it's dark and sinister, I have to say. Far more interesting. The Irish accents make me cringe... and it's a shame because the Irish set that they've built is believable... it's the accents that destroy the illusion. I'm hoping that Niki Sanders will be reappearing sometime soon too as she's one of my favourite characters. I guess I have a thing for mean women who can kick men through a plate glass windows...!

Tenon_Saw said...

Was the *actual* cutting off of her toe shown? I had to cover my eyes; saw it grow back though!
Thinks: would somebody check to see if anyone was looking in the window before self harming? Hmmm...

TimeWarden said...

It's interesting that the Irish accents were poor because the guy playing Will, Dominic Keating, better known to "Star Trek: Enterprise" viewers as Lt. Malcolm Reed in nearly 100 episodes, was actually born in Leicester, England! So, we can't, like, totally accuse the Americans of getting us wrong... this time!!

Steve said...

Hi tenon_saw, no they cut away at the last moment but you saw her position the blades of the scissors very carefully and then strain as she fought to close them together... my wife had to look away too. Rather comically you then saw the pinkie fly up in the air... quite a gruesome moment, I have to say.

TimeWarden, I guess that's true but we can blame the American casting department for not hiring some genuine irish actors! I'd even have welcomed Colin Farrell...!

Daisy said...

and steve it is not like we don't have genuine irish people living here ffs...we currently, and no i am not joking, have a problem with illegal immigrants...the majority is hispanic...the second on the list for illegals is the irish!

Steve said...

How bizarre, Daisy! Hispanics I expected... but Irish illegal immigrants? That seems wholly incongruous for some reason... like having English illegal immigrants... but, to be fair, I bet it does happen!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well, I have never watched Heroes although I quite like the chocolates.

I probably wouldn't spot a fake accent - I am always getting accents muddled up and think Australians are from South Africa, and the Irish are from the US. The number of times I've said irritably: "You know the Scottish lady" only for someone to say "oh you mean Brenda from Belfast."

The Sagittarian said...

Yup, we were somewhat disappointed with the second series too, all for the same reasons. The accent thing had me thinking back to that god-awful movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman with equally fake Irish accents. Mind you, I could be too picky - I pride myself on being able to tell the diff between American's and Canadians! We are currently waiting for series 3 of Heroes.

Steve said...

Hi Gina, I must admit I'm ocassionally guilty of mistaking a South African accent for an Australian one but weirdly never do it the other way around. Heroes is one of the few series that we've bought into - we seem to have missed the boat with List, Boston Legal, House, Desperate Housewives and about a dozen more... Heroes however did ignite a small flame of layalty!

Amanda, you're actually ahead of us in a TV series! Heroes series 2 only started here a couple of weeks ago... series 3 is a long way off. Mind you, I don't think they've even made it yet!

The Sagittarian said...

Steve, I know! And to think I'm so crap at writing reviews!! Maybe I should give it a go when the series comes back here....

Steve said...

Go for it Amanda - it would be nice to get a few tip offs well ahead of the game! ;-)

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Now there's a woman who's been dunked in the earl grey for too long!

Steve said...

I'd quite happily scrub her clean, Laura... and without making jokes about her cups...!

Rol said...

Nothing else on a Thursday night? You're obviously not a House fan - shame on you! ;-)

I'd given up on Heroes for a variety of reasons, but Louise recorded last week's episode and so I felt obliged to watch. Nothing made me want to come back for more.

Steve said...

Unfortunately Rol, if anyone was to base their opinion of Heroes on last week's episode they'd reach the same conclusion as you. It's a great shame as the first series was very good (though it kind of whimped out at the end). Karen and I have never got into House - like Lost, Boston Legal, The Sopranos, etc - it's one of the many US dramas that we've "missed the boat" on... I've heard good things about it but I'm just not a fan of medical / hospital dramas (though I admit I base this opinion on General Hospital, Casualty and Holby City). There is a happy ending though: Karen and I are currently making our way through the Jeeves and Wooster boxed set so all our Hugh Laurie needs are currently being met.