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Category: Heroes

'Heroes': A strike and a plague

November 6, 2007 |  3:49 pm

Hiro More twisted than the nightmare man.  More conniving than HRG.  More evil than Sylar.  It's ... the writers' strike!

Who knows how long this thing will last?  "Heroes" has already felt the sting.  The anticipated Origins spinoff has been shelved (why?). There are rumors that the season could end in December, with a scripted and filmed possibly season-ending scenario(s) just in case.  And poor writer/producer Adam Armus had to tell his kids that Christmas might be a bit lean this year.

All of this is happening when the show is hitting a crucial (plot-wise) juncture.  Last year, stopping the exploding man was the unifying theme (saving the cheerleader was just one step).  Now, averting a plague that will wipe out 93% of the world's population will be the rallying point (with "the generations" story line as the major subplot).

Recap: Niki stopped herself from killing Bob by injecting herself with THE VIRUS. Confused Mohinder drank the Company Kool-Aid (it seems).  Parkman's found a new power and rescued Molly.  Noah found his paintings, but he and Claire are butting heads over trust issues (West still seems crazy to me). After a short but epic battle with Takezo Kensei, Hiro returns to find that his father's been killed.  Peter Petrelli has traveled to the future, lost Caitlin, and returned to meet the mastermind of this season's ills, Adam Monroe -- or Takezo Kensei.

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'Heroes': Dania and 'The Line'

October 30, 2007 |  3:55 pm

Eviltrio As the promo says: Everything you thought you knew ... is about to change!

Maybe not, but for the "Heroes" faithful (and video makers), there's finally a glimpse of where Tim Kring and the rest of the gang are going with all of this.  Sylar and Noah (HRG) get to show their bad sides, which is great to behold.  As another review puts it: Give the story a chance.

It's all about influence: Sylar's influence over Maya is growing, and he pushes her to kill despite her brother's objections.  West's influence over Claire grows, and they pull a prank to get her on the cheer squad. (He picked her up and dropped her with no problem. Hmmm... ) The Company's influence over Monica begins as Mohinder brings her into the fold, only to get a new watchdog with Niki brought back into the picture. Hiro lets love influence his decisions, altering the time line and probably creating a powerful enemy. And lastly, we don't know who influences the deadly Noah (HRG), but we're sure that the eight paintings he's finally unearthed will be very, very influential.

Like last year, a dire future that results in millions dead is revealed.  This time Peter, instead of Hiro, views it.  Heck, Hiro may be to blame. Getting a kiss apparently trumps even the preservation of the space-time continuum.

And speaking of Hiro, I think Takezo Kensei is the person murdering the "generations" crew.  There, I said it!  Comments here and elsewhere have pointed fingers at Peter Petrelli, the Invisible guy from last season, future Hiro, Parkman Sr. and more. I don't think it's any of them. I've thought about this for the past couple of episodes, and now events are leading that way. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  When it's proved that I'm wrong (twists are great!), I'll admit it, love it and move on. Or I may change my mind next week!

Once again, uh-oh about Maya.  She's starting to like using her powers, and the actress that portrays her, Dania Ramirez, is all for it.

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'Heroes': Noah, and 'Fight or Flight'

October 23, 2007 |  6:47 pm

KristenSo, in comes Kristen Bell to help save the (ratings) day.  We'll see tomorrow.  The literally electric Elle gets her long-awaited, and deadly, intro, even stirring up another mysterious tidbit when she tells "Daddy" (from the Company) that she's coming home.  Bob, maybe? Elle seems like a focused, morally messed-up character (for now) that will add spice to the show, and Kristen has spoken a bit about her possibly duplicitous role.

But this episode wasn't about her. A quick recap:

-- Peter used his precognition powers and finally opened "the box," with both pointing to Montreal.  Elle also fries Caitlin's "boyo" brother.

-- Parkman and Petrelli hit a snag when Parkman Sr. dropped a mental whammy on them, causing them to see illusions and fight each other.  Matt broke up the fun, but the fight scene was well-choreographed. FIGHT POLL!

-- Micah, after matching musical digits with Monica, revealed his techno powers to her and helped explain the New Orleanian's "copycat" abilities using, of course, a comic book.  Mohinder and the Company come calling, but Monica is gonna be cool. Yes, Louisiana has parishes, not counties.  Sheesh.

-- We got glimpses of cure-chasing Niki (Jessica was not happy about it), painting-hunting HRG and love-sick Hiro as Ando reads about his adventures.  We won't go into the missing storylines.  It's old news, and if you haven't jumped ship yet, there are still lots of reasons to hang on.  Many holes are filled in online, which TV Guide has recognized.

The inevitable heroic interaction is slowly coming.  The murdering of the "generations" heroes is the likely catalyst that will bring everyone together.  And I think I know who's doing it.  We've met him, but I'll save that for one or two more episodes.

For now . . .  Last week, you all voted that Maya would beat Micah in a face-to-face battle, 54% to 46%.  One person who might not agree is Micah himself, Noah Gray-Cabey.  I got to ask the busy pre-teen five questions about the show and his character.

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'Heroes': Strangers and a new hero

October 16, 2007 |  3:53 pm

So what did we learn this week?  Don't pick up hitchhikers facedown on Mexican back roads, "going to the library" is rarely a good excuse for ditching the parents, watch wrestling (you might learn something) and never chase your nightmares.

The show is moving along at a better pace now, though (grumble, grumble) there are still so many story lines that someone is always left out.  This week?  No Hiro, no Niki, no Peter Petrelli.  Luckily, two story lines merged when Maya and Alejandro coincidentally came across Sylar in Mexico.  Coincidentally.  Hmmm ...

Dana Other recaps
Claire/HRG:  A moonlit talk on top of the Hollywood sign with flier West was ... weird. She'll have to get over being "different" sooner or later, and lying to dad could come back to bite her.  HRG, though, is on his own quest with the Haitian.

Molly/Matt/Suresh/Nathan:  After Nathan and Matt figure out that the older heroes are being hunted, Matt pushes Molly to find his dad -- and we find out that Parkman Sr. is the nightmare man!  Her search puts her in a coma.  Dang it, Matt!  BTW, this story line seems to be the central one for now.  THE photo: Linderman, Hiro's dad, Mr. and Mrs. Petrelli, Deveraux, the gold spoon guy, a red-headed woman (a connection to Peter's new love, perhaps) and Parkman's father!

Micah:  Not really about him, but about the introduction of new hero Monica (Dana Davis), Micah's aunt.  Her photo-reflexive powers (like Marvel's Taskmaster) are cool. The Times-Picayune's Dave Walker gives us a great glimpse of Dana and her prep for a role as a hero from post-Katrina New Orleans.  The article also has a great overview of Nichelle Nichols' introduction into the cast of "Heroes," and how it even affected trekkies.

How does Dana see the role?  "It's deeper than being a superhero.  It's about helping.  Throughout the course of the season, you'll see that."

As long as folks keep watching they will.  Many people, critical people, say they don't like "Heroes" anymore.  It's too this, it's not enough that, it's predictable.  OK, Maya and Alejandro finding Sylar (or was it the other way around) was a bit (again) coincidental, but chance and planned encounters are some of the endearing characteristics of the show.

But are critics' perceptions the popular ones?  "Heroes" has fallen from a 6.5 rating among 18-49 viewers during the first week to a 5.5, then to a 5.1 this last Monday.  And critics may not even have to watch all season if a writers' strike is called, though crews have apparently been working around the clock to make sure things are completed before, or in case, a strike happens.

Somebody (besides me) still likes the show, though, or the G4 and Mojo networks wouldn't have paid about $300K an episode for off-network rights.

Who knows?  Maybe the introduction of sleuth-turned-hero Kristen Bell next week will bring "Veronica Mars" fans to the screen.

Now, as promised, more from our interview with Jack Coleman (HRG).

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'Heroes': 'Kindred' and an HRG interview!

October 9, 2007 |  4:33 pm

Split Now THAT is a setup.  "Heroes" is like a great running back that seems to get stronger as the game goes on.  In the first 20 minutes, we finally find out what happened to Nikki/Jessica and Micah Sanders (RIP D.L.).  Maya and Alejandro were separated (again), Sylar was on a desert isle, Mohinder and Matt and Molly reunited, Claire confronted flying kid at school, Peter was drawn into a big robbery scheme, and Hiro updated Ando about his adventures in the past with Takezo Kensai.

Let's face it, some fans were ready to jump off the bandwagon.  With the show's more obvious product placement (iPods this time), two episodes that weren't truly blazing and story lines of major characters being neglected, TV remote fingers may have been getting twitchy.  But hopefully fanboys and new viewers can appreciate the paths that opened up in "Kindred."

Story line quickies: A very Superman moment with Claire and the fly guy; Issac’s loft conveniently becomes Mohinder’s laboratory; Micah dropped off in New Orleans with "relative" Nichelle Nichols/"Star Trek's" Uhura (got to have powers -- come on!); an uh-oh moment as Maya goes from fearing her powers to wantonly using them (again, I say uh-oh); another uh-oh moment when Peter kisses Caitlin, and something smoky happens (phermones?); Sylar is reintroduced and picks up where he left off as the ruthless killer he is; HRG and Mohinder find the first and last photo (of 8) that will reveal the big "save-the-cheerleader" plot for the season. Oh yeah, and it looks like he's going to die (gasp!).

Hopefully not anytime soon, though, since we got to interview him!  A Duke grad and a descendant of Benjamin Franklin, Jack Coleman has a long list of credits but is probably best known as Steven Carrington from "Dynasty."  We swapped e-mails:

It's widely known that you were going to be a bit player at first.  When your character hit his stride and became an integral part of the group ... what did YOU do to celebrate being added to the main ongoing cast?

When I became a series regular I took my wife and daughter out to dinner.   Whoa, Nellie, right?!   It was in the works for a while so there was no "Oh, my God" moment where the only possible response was a lost weekend in Vegas. 

Jackcoleman_2Your character is always subdued, with flashes of what's bubbling under the surface.  How do you mix his ruthlessness with his protective-dad side?

HRG is a man who survives in a world of intrigue and super-powers by keeping one step ahead of his adversaries.   That requires an enormous amount of self-discipline and self-control.   In the flashback scene of "Company Man," where HRG takes the job, I tried to show how different a person he was when he came to the company as a younger man.   A true believer with a mean streak, he was openly enthusiastic about his job.   As time has gone on, that enthusiasm has given way to world-weariness and cynicism.  But it has also given way to the love and devotion he has for his family and, particularly, Claire.  Where once he gave everything to the company, HRG has now committed all his energy to the task of protecting Claire from the company.   The interesting paradox is that it is his single-mindedness that makes him complex. 

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'Heroes': Lizards and the Haitian's return

October 2, 2007 |  4:47 pm

It's like getting the tiniest sliver of Grandma's pecan pie. It's good, not always enough to satisfy, and enough to make you go back for more.  The show did pick up a bit this week, and despite recent complaints of ratings double-dipping, "Heroes" is still strong.

Haitianjpg_2Recap: Some recurring themes came up this week. Claire hates hiding who she really is (her identity is discovered by the flying kid, and I loved how her toe flew into the air when she cut it off); Peter saved somebody (did the Irish guy really call him ''Boyo''?!?); the mysterious evil attacked (this time, Mrs. Petrelli); Suresh and Bennet hatched another piece of their plan; and Hiro acted like his namesake. Still conspicuously absent was the Sanders clan (D.L., Micah and Jessica/Niki) and Sylar. What's up with that?!  I can see excluding characters for an episode, but leaving us hanging at the beginning of the season?  Maybe "Resident Evil" got in the way.

There were some interesting new developments. It was revealed that Alejandro can negate and even reverse Maya's eye-bleeding virus power; the importance of Isaac's paintings (and Tim Sale's great art) will come back into play as HRG begins a search; Hiro's hero Takezo Kensei has a power way back in 1621; and the Haitian (left) is back, baby!

We'll see what all this means, but savvy viewers can hear the gears turning in Tim Kring's and the other writers' heads.  Hopefully there are some more twists coming up since everyone is in early speculation mode. Though UGO's death watch from last season was fun to follow, no one really knew.

'Origins': By now fans know about the "Origins" spin-off planned, including the superstars who are signing up to write and direct ("Hostel" director Eli Roth and "Superman Returns" writer Michael Dougherty are the latest to sign on). Noted comic book enthusiast Kevin Smith gets to release the first episode. In the latest Wizard magazine, when asked what he could reveal about the power he'll be giving to his character, all the "Clerks" director would say was, "It's one that every comic book fan is very familiar with but one that I consider to be the lamest of all the superpowers."

Lame superpower. Hmmm. Well, we've already had language assimilation and super hearing and turning metal into liquid, soooo ... which power are we talking here? Here's a few I came up with, and of course it can be argued that each of them would be great to have.

Malleable skin. Light manipulation. Roof repair. We could do this all day.  If you have other powers to add, lame or not, join in with your comments. I have my own theories, as I'm sure many of you do, on what the powers of some of the upcoming characters (especially the musically inclined Dana Davis) will be.  Even a possible one for the second "Star Trek" original supposedly joining the cast -- Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) -- but we'll leave that for next week. Though things fall through, like Jessica Biel as Wonder Woman, we'll (hopefully) have a cast interview!

Until then, enjoy some music from Hayden Panettiere's MySpace music page!

Photo: NBC.com

-- Jevon Phillips

Heroes: Four months later ... really!

September 25, 2007 |  3:41 pm

Heroesb_4 It seems like we've been waiting longer than 'Four Months Later' -- the name of the second season's premiere episode. But since the finale, the stars of "Heroes" have made, and continue to make, news.  Hayden Panettiere, the cheerleader, turned 18 and suddenly her life is everywhere, including her threat to kill a journalist. Our resident "Resident Evil" star, Ali Larter, a.k.a. Niki/Jessica Sanders a.k.a. Claire Redfield had her movie (OK, so it's also Milla Jovovich's) open in the top spot. The evil that is Sylar (Zachary Quinto) will be the logic that is Spock in the new "Star Trek." Masi Oka seemed like he was everywhere. And he, plus the whole group, got within a hair's breadth (I'd like to think) of an Emmy (with Larter even doing her own hair!). With People's Choice, Teen Choice, the Television Critics Assn. and TV Land awards, the show is getting much praise from the masses. And I got a "Heroes" pop tart! Yeah, it's been an eventful summer.

So, the show. There's lots to update:

-- Officer Parkman survived getting shot, made it on the NYPD and has taken over caring for Molly, the locator girl, who now has dreams of an oncoming evil guy.

-- Hiro is in feudal Japan (1671) and has met his hero, Takezo Kensei, who turns out to be an Englishman and a drunk. His dad and his best friend, Anzo, (who I saw on an episode of Jury Duty) dutifully await his return, until someone gets pushed off a building (gasp!).

-- Suresh is on the lecture circuit but is invited to join what looks to be the same evil corporation the cheerleader's dad worked for. And we later find that this is all part of the plan.

-- Meanwhile, the cheerleader and her dad (with the fam) have relocated to Cali. Poor Claire enrolls in another angsty high school, complete with snotty cheerleaders and a mysterious flying kid.

-- The Petrellis are in turmoil, with Nathan on the sauce, Mom lurking around trying to pull strings and Peter ending up in the last scene handcuffed inside a shipping container in Ireland with no memory!

The elders (as I call the previous generation of Heroes) are being hunted. By what/whom will probably be the focal point of the season. All of that and no mention of Niki, D.L., Micah or Sylar. Plus the introduction of Maya and Alejandro -- two kids running from the law, and from Maya's inexplicable powers, which leave a truck full of migrants dead with bleeding eyes! And there you go.

Kristen_2Kristen Bell and Dana Davis haven't been intro'd yet! The show has gotten big. Really big. EW cover big (where the image of Bell came from). Product placement big. Claire's Nissan Rogue drop was pretty prominent.

I was hoping that with the group getting together in New York at the end of last season, it would turn into some sort of Justice League. Far-fetched? A bit, but in the backs of the minds of "Heroes" fans, I think the collaboration was always anticipated.  When it happened, it was fun and exciting. Despite the splintered story lines, sooner or later, the group will come back.

For a bit more insight, Greg Beeman, who directs many of the "Heroes" episodes, has again started up his blog, quoting influences from "Zatoichi" to "A Mighty Heart." It's always interesting to see what's on the minds of those who are behind the scenes shaping what we see.

-- Jevon Phillips

'Heroes': This is the end, my friend

May 22, 2007 |  5:01 pm

Heroes Heroes has the opposite problem from most  shows in its genre - I'll call it literate sci-fi, at the risk of getting irate e-mails. The "X-Files," "Alias" and "Lost" were and are hammered for being too oblique, having no clear sense of plot direction and giving off a definite eau d'making-it-up-as-they-went-along. Heroes, since returning for the second half of the season, has clearly telegraphed each twist and turn and  hasn't made for the most compelling viewing these past few weeks. (This is the risk when  one of the characters is a prophetic artist who paints scenes from upcoming episodes, I guess.) With the finale, however, the show had something of a clean slate - viewers didn't know if, or when, or how New York would go kablooie.

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'Heroes': It all leads up to...next week

May 15, 2007 |  5:29 pm

Heroes500 The penultimate chapter in the first season of “Heroes” had a lot of unfinished business to see through: Hiro needed his sword fixed and a little samurai training from dear old dad (it was nice to see George Takei back, and in fighting form too). Sylar needed to kill Ted and steal his powers to pull off his exploding man trick and Nathan had an election to win.

Thankfully, there were some twists to keep things interesting. Nathan’s win came courtesy of littlest hero Micah’s high-tech abilities. The kid can’t even legally vote and he swung an entire election. That subplot also allowed guest star Missy Peregrym to redeem herself as seemingly soulless shapeshifter Candice showed a softer side while preaching the wonders of Linderman to Micah. Candy’s not a big fan of humankind, which probably has something to do with her true appearance. That should be an interesting reveal.

And, oh yeah, some people died. Aforementioned radioactive man Ted for one. Minor league baddie Thompson for another (so long Eric Roberts). He was popped by former employee Bennett, ensuring “H.R.G.” some long-term cred.

But the body count didn’t end there. D.L. and Niki/Jessica’s big showdown with Linderman ended with D.L. critically wounded by a gunshot and Linderman’s brains turned to mush.

D.L.’s hand plunging into guest star Malcolm McDowell’s head isn’t an easy image to forget, and hopefully it will serve as the dull hero’s swan song. It would be sad for Micah to lose a father but good for the show to lose some dead weight. (Plus, Leonard Roberts’ past work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” serves as an unfortunate reminder of an earlier, superior TV superhero effort. And “Heroes” should avoid those comparisons as much as possible.)

Even with all that action it was difficult not to suspect they’re holding back the really big stuff for the finale, and here’s hoping next week brings an appropriately cinematic send-off. “Heroes” was so sharp and economical in resolving its initial “save the cheerleader, save the world” crisis that it’s been a little disappointing to watch the exploding man disaster drag on.

Then it’s on to Season 2, when the show can decide to fulfill its potential and grow into something deeper and more surprising, or continue to play it safe as a fun, but one dimensional, ride for fanboys (and girls).

(Photo courtesy NBC Universal)

'Heroes': Mother's day

May 7, 2007 |  9:47 pm

Video of Monday night's episode:

Yes, even Sylar has a mother. And the Big Bad of “Heroes” isn’t such a purely evil guy after all. This week he practically begged his mom (guest star Ellen Greene, a long way from her days as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors”) to put an end to his nefarious plans by letting him know he’s good enough just the way he is. But an average life just won’t do for her son.

Mother Sylar was duly impressed when he revealed some of his superpowers, but not so pleased with how he acquired them. Sylar’s visit ultimately resulted in her death, not a good sign that he’ll end his ways anytime soon. (But does anyone think this “humanizing” of Sylar might lead to redemption down the road? I’d like to see him dead and buried and the show move on to the next supervillain, but maybe one day he’ll be fighting side by side with the heroes?)

Heroes That storyline had an interesting parallel in the ongoing Petrelli family drama, as materfamilias Angela (recurring player Cristine Rose) continues to develop as one of the show’s most mysteriously intriguing characters. This week she informed her oldest son Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) that the big New York City explosion that many of the heroes are hoping to prevent will actually be a good thing. 

Right now, with her murky motivations, it’s unclear if she means good for the world or simply good for Nathan’s political career (or is what’s good for Nathan’s political career actually good for the world?). And considering her wealth of knowledge, does she know that the “bomb” just may be her other son Peter (Milo Ventimiglia)? 

We all know the show isn’t going to actually explode its leading man, unless he resurrects himself like “X-Men’s” Phoenix, but wouldn’t it be a juicy twist to have a mother knowingly sacrifice one son for the good of the other?

In other “Heroes” news, Entertainment Weekly has the show on its cover this week (actually five covers featuring various cast members) and ranked “Heroes” #18 on a list of the top 25 sci-fi movies and TV shows from the past 25 years. That places it ahead of “Futurama” (#21), “Quantum Leap” (#22) and “Doctor Who” (#23), but behind “Battlestar Galactica” (#2), “The X-Files” (#4), “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (#8), “Lost” (#11) and “Firefly” (#15).

Too low? Too high? It’s a little hard to say at this point. “Heroes” is only just beginning to define its legacy.

'Heroes': Future daze

May 1, 2007 |  4:14 pm

Hero245 "Heroes" is still treading water as it nears the finish line of its first season.

If last week was all "set-up," this week was the "diversion." Basically the hour was about little more than getting Hiro (Masi Oka, an enjoyable focal point) back to where he belongs…the present. Meanwhile we saw a lot of stuff that will never actually happen as the show indulged in a standard comic book storytelling device: the alternate timeline.

For one week only Peter and Niki were lovers (and she returned to the skin-baring trade after the death of her husband, D.L., and son, Micah); Claire was a diner waitress; Matt was evil; and Sylar, pretending to be Nathan, was President with clueless Mohinder wrapped around his little finger as usual. Also dead: Ando and shapeshifting Candice (Sylar assumed her powers to "become" Nathan, presumably dead as well), and both Claire and her father died during the hour. But then the episode hit the built-in reset button.

Other than Hiro's discovery than he must stab Sylar there wasn't much to inform the ongoing story. The episode demonstrated what's at stake if Sylar isn't defeated (this is definitely a future we don't want to return to) but was anyone questioning the danger of Sylar alive and on the loose? We know he's bad.

There was one moment that nearly made the whole detour worthwhile: the latest tease of Peter (decked out in "Matrix"-y garb) and Sylar's ultimate showdown was more titillating than ever, as both were literally burning with rage.

This week's episode may be a good starting point for a spin-off comic book but we'll have to wait another week to get down to the real business of "Heroes." I'll admit it…the tease for next week looked pretty freakin' cool.

(Photo courtesy NBC Universal)

'Heroes': Enough talk, let's get to the action

April 24, 2007 |  3:37 pm

Nup_105171_1655 All talk and almost no action made the return of "Heroes" a very dull hour.

At least until prophetic painter/consistently boring minor character Isaac (Santiago Cabrera) died, falling victim to superhero serial killer Sylar (Zachary Quinto). Or did he? (Here’s a hint to solving the mystery: Be on the lookout for any post-"death" TV or print interviews with Cabrera. If the actor talks to the press then the character’s a goner, à la Eko on "Lost." If there’s a cone of silence then expect a triumphant return, à la Starbuck on "Battlestar Galactica.")

Isaac’s death was foretold all the way back in Episode 2, and a musty scent of familiarity lingered not just over that event but also the episode as a whole.

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