If there is one disadvantage to the internet, it is the knowing about all the cool stuff in advance that I know won’t be coming for a noticeable length of time. This time, the cool thing was Heroes – reading the comic blogosphere and news sites, I have known about it but haven’t been able to do anything about it.
This is extremely frustrating, because Heroes sounded exactly as if it was made for me: a drama told in a serious manner about people with unusual powers who don’t decide to put on spandex and stop bank robbers.
Heroes is finally on terrestrial television, arriving on BBC2 last Wednesday with a double episode (and a strong web presence; BBC seem to want to go for the geek crowd strong, and they want it to be a success – announcing the numbers the next day on their news site to ensure it). And it was worth the wait.
We are introduced to a variety of characters who, for no explained reason, have ‘super powers’: invulnerability, flight, telepathy, seeing the future, time travel and something about a parallel existence in a mirror dimension. Well, there may be a reason: a professor of genetics had some unusual theories, which got him killed, explaining the existence and location of people with extra abilities. His son decides to come to America to find out more, after fleeing a man who was in his father’s apartment (a man who turns out to be the adoptive parent of one of the supers). And our time traveller seems to have jumped to a future where something will destroy New York, something foreseen by the man who can see the future …
The vibe of the programme is very enjoyable – this isn’t tongue in cheek, or mocking – it plays everything straight without being poe-faced. The tone of the show is perfect, evoking the ‘Lost’ vibe nicely, with the mysteries and multiple characters interacting in ways that only we see (the Petrelli election ads on the television in the background). Fortunately, this seems to have a point rather than constantly teasing.
If I have a quibble, it’s about the dialogue. In the early scenes, it is so ‘on the nose’ (ooh, listen to him with the fancy screenwriter lingo, as if he was some sort of expert) that it made my teeth hurt, with the professor’s son and his friend explaining exactly why he was distant from his father. The rest of the dialogue doesn’t feel particularly natural or flowing, which I hope improves in the rest of the series.
The show is heavily influenced by comic books – the feel of Watchmen and the spectre of Rising Stars loom over it (although apparently the latter is a case of convergent evolution, and JMS went for the more comic booky feel of spandex) – and the feel of the Marvel New Universe (does the eclipse logo have the feel of the Star Brand, or is that just me?) but in a good way. Which is all fine with me.
I may have had to wait, but I think I’ll enjoy it nonetheless. I look forward to the rest of the series with tingling anticipation …