Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Season in Review: Heroes S3

I've probably made my feelings regarding "Heroes" rather clear by now, but it bears reiteration: this series has degenerated to such an extent that I jumped ship before the season ended. I've only ever done that once before, with "Lost"; typically, if a series jumps the shark, I hang on until the season finale on the outside chance it'll work out. If it's a show I've really enjoyed in the past, I might even hang around longer - I made it all the way to the series finale of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", despite the fact that every single week the show would leave me disappointed and frustrated at best, outraged at worst (Nathan Fillion as a misogynistic priest who won't shut up? Gee, thanks, Marti).

But "Heroes"... there's something about the way it's gone downhill that got to me. If I take a step back and look at all three seasons, a pattern seems to emerge as follows:

For the most part, the first season holds together under scrutiny both in terms of the Myth Arc and with regards to individual subplots. I'll grant that some characters' storylines were more satisfactory than others, but every plot development I can recall at the moment paid off in the end. And it was a good story, full of twists and drama and energy.

The second season still has a largely consistent Myth Arc - the story of Adam Monroe and the Elder Heroes - in that plot elements are set up, executed and followed upon. Characters still have reasonably straightforward directions. The difference here is that the story wasn't very good, especially in comparison to its predecessor: Adam wasn't as threatening as Sylar, the new characters (with the exception of Elle) were dull, and the backstory of the Primatech founders was painfully abbreviated and didn't add up to anything substantial. It was still coherent at this point, but not very engaging at all.

And then we come to the third season, in which the question I kept asking myself every week was "What's the point of this?" Because think about it: what was the point of Hiro's trip to India? What was the point of Ando getting powers? What was the point of Alex? What was the point of anything relating to Sylar whether it's Luke, his father or whatever? What was the point of Coyote Sands and Alice Shaw? I'm not even talking about the first half of the season, with Pinehearst and Arthur Petrelli and that insufferable Spider-Mohinder subplot. The reason this season was so awful - the reason I just couldn't stand to watch it anymore - is that not only were the individual elements of rather poor quality, but they didn't add up at all either. It's like a very ugly jigsaw puzzle except none of the pieces fit together anyway. Things happen, and then other things happen, and characters just go where the plot demands, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason to any of it.

If that reminds you of a certain non-reality island-related series... well, yes. And it's not a flattering comparison at all.

So I'm done with "Heroes". And I'm sorry about that, but not because of anything they've done over the last two seasons - rather, I'm sorry that it fell so far and wasted so much of its potential. Time to move on...