“Heroes” is a show about ordinary people with special abilities. The first season introduced us to these characters as they adapted to the discovery that they are different from the rest of society.
There’s a cheerleader who can heal from anything, a teleporter/time-traveler, a mind reader, and a man who can absorb abilities amongst the other characters with special abilities. The first season revolved around the tagline “Save The Cheerleader, Save The World.” They did save the cheerleader, from a man who has the ability to take abilities out of people’s heads, and thus they saved the world. All was well, and then the second season happened, and things got bad.
After a much maligned second season which was shortened due to the writer’s strike, “Heroes” creator Tim Kring promised to learn from the mistakes he committed in the second season. When the show returned in the Fall of 2008, the problems which plagued the second season were still present.
The show still had not figured out how to return to what made them a success in the first season. The pace remained slow, saving the world was never clearly defined during the third volume of the show. The characters continued to lose depth while losing their identity or they were re-defined completely, which is a sign of lazy and inconsistent writing. And the show was, and is, suffering from their reluctance to write out Sylar (Zachary Quinto), the show’s villain.
With the show under scrutiny, the writing staff was revamped. Two of the head writers and executive producers, Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander, were fired.
A former writer of the show, Brian Fuller, who left the show to run his own show on ABC, the now cancelled “Pushing Daises,” returned after Loeb and Alexander were fired.
With ratings down, the scrutiny from the critics, and the show’s own actors questioning the direction of the show, Tim Kring has begun the process of saving his show as well as the show’s integrity to prove that the creative juices have not gone dry.
The return of Brian Fuller began what people hope will be a creative resurrection for the show.
This hopeful creative resurrection has continued with the second half of season three, known as the Fourth Volume, which began on February 2.
The fourth volume, entitled “Fugitives,” centers around the emergence of Nathan Patrelli (Adrian Pasdar) into the political scene as a Junior Senator.
Seemingly mad and evil, he decided to take it upon himself to finish what his father started: to give regular Joes super abilities.
The formula created to give regular Joes abilities ended up being destroyed. With this plan destroyed, Nathan decides to use his political power to begin the process of removing the heroes from society and into internment camps.
The second half of the third season begins with the capture of each hero we have grown to know since the series inception in 2006. The first episode ends with the heroes being transported to an internment camp but being saved by a plane crash.
Now, the heroes have to band together to survive.
The first episode showed promise and a tangible hope that the show will return to the critical praise it garnered in the first season.
One of the problems which plagued the second season and the first half of season three was the disconnection between the heroes and their plots.
With the heroes together as fugitives, there will be a cohesive narrative thread that the audience will be able to get emotionally invested in instead of a disparate narrative which drags its feet until it is too late, resulting in the writers forcing the disparate narrative threads so that they can get to where they need to be.
The pace of the show will not move at a snail’s speed, and inconsistent writing might be eliminated.
The fourth volume has introduced a few interesting plot lines. Among them is the reverse dynamic of the Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson Lee) friendship in which Ando has superpowers and Hiro is without his, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) as a possible prophet-in-the-making, and Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) working for the enemy again.
And the audience should be craving an explanation for why Nathan changed so drastically and has resorted to such measures.
The show will also have to continue dealing with the Sylar problem.
The character, played by Zachary Quinto, has not been interesting since the mid-point of season one.
The show has dug a hole for itself but Tim Kring has made the changes needed to possible revitalize the series.
If the fourth volume repeats the mistakes made in previous seasons, the show could very well go beyond hope of recovery. “Heroes” airs on NBC on Mondays at 9 p.m.
Chris Monigle is a fourth-year student majoring in literature. He can be reached at CM660983@wcupa.edu.