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'Heroes': a season's slide

December 3, 2007 | 12:41 pm

So, let’s get right to it:  What was up with the second season of “Heroes,” and what might happen tonight?

Maya400_jqqsk8nc_2 A combination of factors -- including story lines dragged out too long, stars (and writers?) possibly stretched with movies and other opportunities and “Heroes” haters coming out in force -- helped topple the show from its ratings and critical perch.  The strength of “Dancing With the Stars” and “Samantha Who?” probably didn’t help, though it would seem that the audiences are vastly different.

Despite that, “Heroes” soldiered on.  Tim Kring, the show’s creator, acknowledged creative drawbacks and took responsibility.  You don’t hear that often, but it still didn’t make up for the first two-thirds of the season.  The pile-on notwithstanding, there were good and bad elements.

Good: Jack Coleman as HRG.  Whenever that guy is on the screen, you just know that SOMETHING is going to happen.  Smart, ruthless and mysterious, he and Zachary Quinto chew up scenes whenever they’re onscreen.

Bad: The Maya and Alejandro (pictured above) storyline.  Her powers? Great.  But you knew he was going to die, and their story line should’ve been summed up in two, maybe three episodes.

Elle_2 Good: Kristen Bell as Elle.  Like HRG and Sylar, Elle’s mystery and sociopathic qualities were a bit over the top, and much-needed.  Kristen Bell is a great addition, and along with Dana Davis’ Monica, should remain in some form.

Bad: Subtitles.  The international and multicultural hook of “Heroes” is nothing but a good thing, but many have decried the subtitles.  With Hiro speaking Japanese and Maya and Alejandro speaking Spanish, there was a lot more reading going on this season than there needed to be.

Anders500_jqc0p2nc_2 Good:  Adam Monroe.  David Anders as a bad guy who can’t be killed, is driven by a long lost love and is righteoues in his . . . wrongness.  How they will resolve his storyline is one of the most anticipated show points.

Bad: The disappearance of anticipation.  This was a problem with the audience and the show.  Storytelling is a delicate balance.  You can’t drag things out because folks will become disinterested, and on an ensemble show you have to find which stories are strongest . . . and stick with them (lesson learned from “Lost”).  On the flip side, TV pundits rushed to condemn the show pretty early into the season.  They fanned the flames before the show could work itself out of the doldrums.

So, what will happen tonight?  The promos say that some of the heroes will fall.  Message boards around the Web want Nikki (Ali Larter) to go.  That would be a blow to young Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) since he just lost his dad, but maybe it’d be a good move creatively.  Making her evil could also be a great twist. Micah and Monica would be a great crime-fighting team.

Bob, the enigmatic leader of the Company, may meet his maker, and Maya’s naivete should get her killed (especially with Sylar pulling the strings).  She may also just be too dangerous to keep around.

It’ll be interesting to see what the writers come up with and how they’ll entice viewers to come back for a third season.  More to come later on . . .

Photos: NBC Universal

-- Jevon Phillips