Thursday, 2 October 2008

"Who watches the Watchmen rip-off?"

Heroes Season 3 begins not with a bang but with a whimper: a collective whimper from thousands of science-fiction enthusiasts who watch in horror as the show adds yet another predestination paradox to its already bulging canon. But then Heroes has proven itself to be a show based on faulty logic. Unresolved paradoxes and events that defy explanation are commonplace. There are a great number of strange narrative manoeuvres by the writers which prove that they are operating under a warped sense of reality.

This story confusion stems from the fact that they have a finite number of ‘shocking revelations’ to deliver to the audience and the writers feel that it’s necessary to deliver at least one per episode. Season 1 had its narrative momentum built on ever more shocking revelations, and this is a trend that continued through season 2 into season 3 and is now thoroughly dull. The writer’s faulty logic tends to run as follows:- it was shocking when a character suspected to be without powers ie. Linderman, has powers therefore we should give everyone powers; it was shocking when Claire discovered her relation to the Petrellis therefore make everyone related to the Petrellis; it was shocking to bring characters mysteriously back from the dead therefore bring any and every character mysteriously back from the dead; it was shocking to have paintings that predict the future therefore we should always have a painting that predicts the future. This stock of shocks is getting horrendously over-used.

Then there are the unexplained and often nonsensical events that happen frequently. This includes almost everything that the time-travelling characters do because Tim Kring doesn’t understand the Novikov principle of self-consistency. There’s also Sylar and his perplexing ability to gain other heroes’ powers. I actually think I preferred it when he seemed to eat brains; it made more ‘sense’ than a watchmaker who is inexplicably a skilled, if crude, neurosurgeon who gains powers by looking at brains. Sylar was a better villain in season 1 because of the mystique surrounding him: now all the actor has to do is phone in some generic evil with a dash of subtle eye-twitching.

From this the viewing public can only conclude that season 1 was a fluke: a chance melding of comic book tropes, guest stars with geek cred (whatever happened to Christopher Eccleston anyway?), and some interesting (if slightly derivative) dialogue and characters. It was pretty spectacularly illogical but Lost had just proven that gaps in logic were acceptable as long as the story was taut and there was a promise that inconsistencies would be resolved. A lot of fans then gave season 2 the benefit of the doubt, placing the blame for the mediocre season and increased gaps in logic (why couldn’t Hiro go back and forth between feudal Japan and the present day?) on the Writer’s Strike. If the first episode is anything to go by, season 3 will prove that Heroes is stuck in a rut. The best thing now would be for Tim Kring to learn from the mistakes of George Lucas and leave the show alone. The fans can pretend that season 1 was a stand-alone series and the world will be saved from some illogical and mediocre science fiction.

Additionally Yeat’s The Second Coming is one of the most quoted poems in the world: can writers start leaving it alone please? Thanks.

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