Category: Heroes

'Heroes': Sylar's back! Watch your heads ...

Despite Arthur Petrelli's menace this season, Sylar finally reasserted himself as "Heroes' " villain supreme in the "Our Father" episode. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bloody victims, one crispy Elle and a scared elevator operator whose fate remains uncertain are left in the killer's wake. That'll teach you to bust into your co-worker's closed-door office with a birthday surprise.

When Sylar stalks, everything just seems warm and cozy. Matt is trying to figure things out, Hiro is on a personal quest, Claire is trying to help, Mohinder's on the wrong side of things, and it's all swirling around the tempestuous Petrelli family. Feels familiar, and feels right. But obviously, with the villains theme coming to an end next week, things may be shaken up again.

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'Heroes': The (Kristen) Bell tolls, an eclipse ends

So, did "Heroes" have an electric ending, or didn't it? They can't do that to KristenClaire Bell, but did they?!? The measure of a good serialized show is, of course, whether you are enticed to return the next week. Lately, "Heroes," when it isn't a whole episode in a different time period, has gone back to the cliffhanger method -- and that's a good thing.  One small step.

When the people in "Heroes" lost their powers because of the eclipse, we got to see which ones embrace what they've become (Hiro, The Haitian, Peter), reject it to a point (Hayden Panettiere's Claire, right), just kind of work it around their lives (Matt, Nathan), or have let their powers define who they are (Sylar, Daphne, Arthur). This distillation of the characters may even be a good way for the writers to get back to the characters' roots.

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Why DVRs aren't the enemy of NBC's 'Heroes'

HeroesbrothersAre DVRs killing serialized shows? Or are producers just looking for scapegoats?

In case you haven't heard, Tim Kring, executive producer of NBC's onetime hit drama "Heroes," got himself in hot water with recent comments about viewers and DVRs. Kring said that DVRs are making it tougher for serialized shows like "Heroes."

At a screenwriting conference earlier this month, Kring said of the serialized trend:

It's a very flawed way of telling stories on network television right now, because of the advent of the DVR and online streaming. The engine that drove [serialization] was you had to be in front of the TV [when it aired]. Now you can watch it when you want, where you want, how you want to watch it, and almost all of those ways are superior to watching it on air. So [watching it] on air is related to the saps and dips---- who can't figure out how to watch it in a superior way.

The vast majority of the commentary prompted by Kring's remarks centered, not surprisingly, on the "saps and the dips----" part. Hey, he called people who don't have DVRs saps! What a nasty guy! (Kring later apologized.)

But as for his larger point: Is it true? Are DVRs really hurting serialized shows? The networks have a lot riding on that answer, because 1) DVRs currently make up about 28% of the Nielsen Media Research sample and their use is growing, and 2) some of the hottest shows in recent years, including "Lost," "24" and "Heroes," have been heavily serialized. If DVRs are killing these types of shows, network TV could be in even bigger trouble than we thought.

But the evidence for Kring's claim doesn't look very strong. Nielsen stats for the week ending Nov. 2 show that "Heroes" was among the most-time-shifted shows on television, with nearly 40% of its total audience watching on a nonlive basis. Only CW's "90210" and NBC's "The Office" got bigger bumps from DVR usage.

That DVRs could only help serialized series seems intuitive as well. The ability to record multiple programs enables viewers to manage time more effectively and juggle more competitng programs than they otherwise could. They can avoid bailing on a complicated show just because they happened to miss an episode that, say, aired at an inconvenient time. And while there's no question that DVR usage is artificially depressing "live + same day" ratings (ie, numbers that include DVR viewing the same day a show airs), that should not matter over the long run, because the trend is effecting all shows at the same time, if not necessarily equally.

The DVR, looked at this way, is "Heroes'" friend, not its enemy. (Kring could not be reached to comment at his office late Wednesday.) 

What's ailing some serialized shows is probably not so much new technology as a glut of similar products elsewhere. There are now plenty of shows with an intricate "mythology," as producers like to say. So if one of them disappoints you -- as many fans have grown cold on "Heroes" lately -- there's another show for you to check out somewhere else.

No reason to be bored these days, in other words. Even if you're a sap without a DVR.

--Scott Collins   

Photo: Peter and Nathan Petrelli (left to right, Milo Ventimiglia and Adrian Pasdar).  Associated Press

'Heroes': Tim Kring, an eclipse and Claire's death?

In "Heroes," it's hard to tell whether it's a good or bad thing when you don't know what is going on at times.  For those of us who have followed the show throughout, throwing in a twist or two or three to make it less predictable could be exactly what's needed to keep interest.  On the other hand, knowing the behind-the-scenes turmoil in terms of personnel shifts and storytelling woes, you hope as a fan that things become a bit more limpid.  Clarity will come, but will anyone be around to see it?

We'll do this first.  A lot is being made of Tim Kring's remarks at Creative Screenwriting magazine's 2008 Screenwriting Expo last week.  He insulted (to some) traditional show watchers (non-DVR users like me that he called "saps") and downed his own show's format in saying that serialized storytelling may not work. He later apologized for it.  With the precarious positon of the show, he obviously didn't mean to tick off fans, I was never offended in the first place (were you?) and don't think it's a big deal.  Moving on ...

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'Heroes': Battlelines are drawn for 'Villains'

Hro_309_20_2Hey "Heroes," it's coming. In the episode's title, 'it' could be a number of things. 1.) The upcoming power-draining eclipse being foretold on walls and rocks, in sketches and in comic books. 2.) The inevitable collision of good and bad super groups that was enticingly set up by the slow-motion camera at the end of the episode. Arthur, Knox, Flint, Tracy, Sylar and Elle vs. Angela, Matt, powerless Peter, Nathan, Daphne and Claire. 3.) The end of the show.

With series-low ratings last week, even stalwart fans can see "Heroes" rushing toward a cliff.  Oh who can save it from falling into the abyss of beloved shows canceled too soon (recent inhabitants include "Jericho" and "Firefly")?  Arthur Petrelli, the most vile of the villains, could be the savior. He seems to have contact with all of the heroes and villains. Everything is swirling around him, and one of the things this show has needed is something of a center. An evil through line to focus on now that Sylar is an empathic power stealer (and where did this come from?!).

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'Heroes': Hiro, the Petrellis and the past again

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We've seen this picture (below) before on "Heroes." Another day, another journey into time. Framed by Hiro's iris-less look back one year ago while on his "spirit walk," last night's episode was pretty much a showcase on how evil Arthur Petrelli is, how conflicted Sylar may have been and how determined Angela Petrelli is to keep her sons safe and on the right path.


But ... those things we already knew.  We knew the cheerleader's biological mom Meredith had been associated with the company and thought that Claire was dead and we knew that HRG had a prior history with Elle.

So what was this episode supposed to be about?  The few things that were a bit revelatory (Nathan unwillingly flew out of the car before his wife slammed into the divider, Elle had a bit of a relationship with Sylar and the bad, blue-flame guy from the breakouts is actually Meredith's brother and Claire's uncle!) were not enough to base an episode on.  Angela's poisoning of Arthur answered a big question as to how that guy was put in a coma, but I believe many of us thought it was Angela's doing.

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'Heroes': Casting news, Jeph Loeb fired, and Milo on directing

Since "Heroes" didn't have an episode Monday ("SNL" was good) and we all had a monumental election week, the show got a breather — though it still wasn't out of the news. Entertainment Weekly reported that "Everwood" actor Justin Baldoni is joining the cast as a comic-book shop employee. Most likely he'll have something to do with previously cast comic-book aficionados Seth Green and Breckin Meyer, and maybe even the guest-starring role of "Aliens in America" star and possible Sylar apprentice Daniel Byrd.

I really like Jeph Loeb. Personally, he's a cool guy, and I was sad to see him go. We talked before the first showing of "Heroes" at Comic-Con a few years ago, and we talked this year. Creatively he's helped launch lots of stuff that many of us enjoy (or at least enjoyed) with "Smallville," "Lost" and numerous comic-book story lines.

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'Heroes': Mohinder, Sylar and lying in wait

Sylar Sylar is still the sneakiest hero or villain or whatever on "Heroes," and I'll tell you why.

Don't buy for a minute that he's on Peter's side. Yes, he saved him when he threw him out of the Pinehearst window. Don't believe that he really wants to do right by Angela Petrelli. Yes, he's all 'Momma, Momma' and doing her bidding in what looks like a play for her affections. And, most obviously know that he's not on daddy Petrelli's side. Daddy P. knows it, too. Gabriel is up to something -- some head-slicing plan is being played out, and it's great that we don't know exactly what it is. Arthur P., though, is wasting no time showing his fangs.

Last week, most people believed that Maya and her black tears would be the next casualty (36.7%) and you were right, so to speak. She got the chance to walk away sans powers thanks to the generousity of the Pinehearst Corp. Her power in the hands of Arthur Petrelli is frightening. But hold on ... everyone's No. 2 choice -- Matt's daddy the nightmare man Maury Parkman (15.8%) -- was also picked off by AP, though not so gently. We're not macabre people, but it's good to see that the superpowered herd is being thinned a bit, if only to be able to concentrate on good storylines.

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'Heroes': The Petrellis and Pinehearst

"Heroes" has finally found THE villain fans have been looking for to match Sylar's first-season menace with Arthur Petrelli (Robert Forster). Arthur_2His first sentient act? Take the powers, and the life, of Adam Monroe. For now, at least, this guy seems like a real bad guy. Black and white, cut and dry, even putting his wife in a coma and taking his son Peter's powers. And whether he knows it or not, that will include Sylar's hunger.

Before Peter got his powers sucked out of him, though, he gave Sylar a beatdown. Peter vs. Sylar. Wow. You always want to see it, but Pete just took him out pretty easily.  The littlest Petrelli has never been the smartest guy, but when Sylar is the one trying to calm you down and formulate a plan, you know something is wrong. And you see above what happened to him running off in a huff to the Pinehearst Company.

Peter's niece is also a bit of a hothead, but even Claire and her protective, adoptive mom thought up a plan.  It didn't work, though, against Eric Doyle the puppetmaster. When Doyle took them all hostage with his possession powers, it was great. No quick and easy rescue. The forced Russian roulette was a good scene. Yes, you knew what was going to happen as soon as the gun went on the table, but it played out well. Shooting my daughter on purpose, though, might traumatize me, so we'll see what it does to Claire's mom. Maybe the three will go 'Birds of Prey' and hunt criminals themselves.

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'Heroes': Zeljko Ivanek, the Hunter, is cast

Zeljkoivanek E! Online's "Watch With Kristin" has posted some interesting news about the next "Heroes" story arc, "Fugitives."  Seems we'll be getting a damaged star joining the cast as Emmy winner Zeljko Ivanek takes root for a 10-episode arc as the Hunter.

Fugitives, the hunter — we get it.  It was one of the roles that people had been looking forward to being cast.  That's a pretty substantial stay for the "Damages" actor, but, as is one of the many show criticisms, is par for the course with "Heroes" characters.  And just to rub in that point, apparently there will be a story in India — with or without Mohinder we don't know yet — but the producers are looking to cast a few specific roles.  This makes one think that it may not just be a quick, one-episode jaunt to New Delhi and could introduce even more names and/or powers to an already large cast and storyline.

Here's hoping it's explained to everyone's satisfaction and that the extended cast gets thinned out a bit. Not a direct correlation, but since they play off of comics so well, maybe there needs to be a House of M, "No more mutants" event.  For the uninitiated, a mentally unstable character, the Scarlet Witch, was able to fundamentally change the whole unverse of Marvel Comics when she uttered the phrase 'no more mutants' and then let her reality-bending powers do the rest.  Instead of millions of X-Men-type mutants running around, it became hundreds.

Just sayin'.

— Jevon Phillips

Photo: Associated Press.  Hard to be menacing when you're holding an Emmy, Zeljko.

'Heroes': Claire's crisis and daddy Petrelli revealed

Ah, good ole' "Heroes." Watch the birdie up here while the other hand picks your pocket.

Seems Matt Parkman's (absent this episode) poppa Maury is back, leading many heroes and villains around in a maze using masterful misdirection and the image of Linderman. All the more jolly when we find that he is not the ringleader. It's Mr. Arthur Petrelli, father of Nathan and Peter, husband (or ex) of Angela. Running the show all from a bed where he lies immobile, ordering around the likes of Daphne and Knox. Though heavily promoted (to the dislike of some) that was the last five minutes of the show -- let's talk about the rest.

The hunger has made Peter crazy. He kills Sylar, then goes after mom. Dutiful son Sylar heals himself and knocks out Peter. Not sure how they're going to resolve this, but it's one of the more interesting storylines.

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'Heroes': Peter's hunger and the Haitian

The episode was titled "I am become death," and that wasn't an overstatement. A hero died, a villain died and a city died. So many futures, so little time, but some good things (in terms of moving the story forward) happened on the way to the destruction of the city of Costa Verde by a radioactive Sylar four years into the future. We'll get to that.

"A few adverse reactions to the serum ..." Mohinder's descent is not complete, but at least we got a glimpse of the slithery future that awaits if his transformation continues. But we already got that he was going off the deep end when he blew off a playful Maya. What guy would do that?


Spirit walking ... and a tortoise.  Well, it looks as if Matt's desert sojourn will end soon.  I bet he was listening to T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" on the headphones when his irises went white. Or not. Anyway, his chilling future vision of a life with Daphne, and the death of Daphne, should spur him to action. Yeah! Once his tortoise leads him speedily out of the desert, that is.  And, wearing black in the desert would seem to be a little ... uncomfortable.

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