Sunday, November 02, 2008

Roger Ebert and the REAL way to fix "Heroes"

Recently, I've seen several lists from critics and assorted bloggers on how to "fix" the TV show "Heroes". The lists have usually been either 5 or 7 or 10 items, and they usually include such suggestions as "lose the time travel plots" or "pare down the number of characters".

As a fan who still enjoys the show but sees room for improvement, I have only one suggestion, and it's inspired by Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert:

Stop relying so much on the "Idiot Plot".

For those unfamiliar with the term, the "Idiot Plot" is defined by Ebert as a plot which only functions because every main character is a complete idiot. If even one key character in this scenario would act logically, the story would be over immediately. Granted, these storylines can crop up from time time in your typical drama, but Season 3 of "Heroes" has been riddled with them.

Here are some examples (SPOILERS AHEAD):

Hiro: " I'm going to open this super-secure safe containing the part of the secret superpower formula, despite listening to a tape of my late father just 10 seconds ago specifically telling me not to open the safe. What could possibly go wrong?" (Answer: Super-speedster Daphne steals the aforementioned formula 10 seconds later.)

Mohinder: "I'm going to inject myself with my first untested superpower formula. What's the worst that could happen?" (Answer: He gains superpowers but also falls victim to physical mutations and erratic behavior.)

Future Peter: " I just tried to change the future by shooting my own brother Nathan in the chest. It only made things worse. Better that I keep trying than, say, going back in time to stop myself from shooting Nathan in the first place."

Present Peter (in villain Jesse's body) : " How did Knox figure out that I wasn't really Jesse? Could it have been because I kept yelling "I'M PETER PETRELLI!!!" at the top of my lungs while we were in the Level 5 cells?" (Answer: Ya think?)

Claire: " These escaped level 5 villains are really dangerous. I think I'll go after them using only my healing ability and a taser."

Present Peter again: "My dad took all my superpowers, handcuffed me to this gurney and locked me in this big empty room. I've escaped from my handcuffs, and am waiting to ambush my dad and the guards. I think I'll stand all the way at the end of the room, just to give myself a running start." (You can predict how this turned out.)

Even Peter's more sensible brother Nathan seems to have succumbed this week: "Peter just told me how our dad is alive and how he stole all of Peter's powers and left him with multiple injuries. So I think I'll go confront him armed with only my ability to fly. Yeah, I can take him."

I was almost going to include the main villain and aforementioned power-stealing dad, Arthur Petrelli, in the list above for killing Maury Parkman without leeching Maury's telepathic abilities, but then I remembered that all of Maury's telepathic gifts also are possessed by his son Matt, and subsequently absorbed by Peter. So Arthur didn't steal Maury's telepathy because he already had it himself.

Plus, he's a villain. Most of the other heroes have been acting like fools at some point in this third season, with one notable exception: HRG.

So please, Heroes writers. Have your heroes act at least a little smarter. And have them listen to HRG.


At 2:52 PM , Blogger Saranga said...

Well, that seems very confusing but I'm now definitely looking forward to watching the show when it finally arrives in the UK.
Silly comic book type plots rule!

At 12:52 PM , Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

Ah, yes -- I saw that, too! :-) Ebert always seems to have good ideas. Even if I don't agree with some of his observations, he always seems to explain himself well.


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