Heroes: Four Months Later

by Paul William Tenny

heroes-2x01.jpgThus begins volume two of Heroes, and along with a couple of million of other bloggers, I'll lay out my thoughts on where we've found ourselves - very much far from home. If you haven't seen this yet, don't click through. I had a few gripes and not a great deal of praise, but there is only so much you can accomplish in a one-hour season premier (maybe other shows should learn from 24 about two-hour premiers) and the build-up to all of this surely exceeded anything the producers of the show are capable of.

That's not to say that it wasn't good, just that with all the hype and high expectations, whether we admit it or not, we expected the premier to be at or above the level of the previous finale, and that's impossible. Still, if anything, it was an hour well spent.

I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow transcript, if you need to see it, you can get it from NBC streaming for free sometime later this week right now on their website (only until the next episode airs.)

First and foremost, and it's sad that this comes first given how much everyone has been looking forward to the season two premier, the thing that stands out the most in my mind this evening were the horrible Nissan commercials. All night long it was NBC promos and the same exact Nissan commercial (re-cut about four times) played three in a row every break.

I was sick of them after the first break and was ready to scream by the third. This experience was far, far worse than dealing with standard commercial breaks. NBC: don't ever do that again. Ever.

Beyond that, the opening credits answered the only question I had: will we see Milo Ventimiglia and will we find out what happened to Peter. I avoid spoilers like the plague so that info might have been out already, but his name was in the opening credits so he was going to make an appearance sooner or later...I miss his old hair style.

A number of Heroes from last season didn't make an appearance yet, though we were introduced to a few new ones. The two Mexicans worry me in that I hope they don't drag out that story line through the entire season like they did with Nikki - that really bothered me because it was so detached the entire year. When I first saw them, I actually felt a little uneasy. We had all become quickly comfortable with the cast, experienced what they did, pulled for some, plotted against others. Seeing new players right off the bat made me wonder if I was going to have to go through it all over again.

Among the things that bothered me during the premier was the familiar feeling of unfamiliarity, and what I mean by that is when we were introduced to this series, we didn't know about Peter, Hiro, and Sylar's arc that would intertwine all throughout the season until it culminated in the finale. It took a while for things to get to that point but once it did, that is what took it to another level. Other shows struggle because they aren't that compelling,  and right now the only one that was that cohesive and managed to sustain it properly (although it actually accomplished those things more than Heroes has) was Babylon 5.

With volume two, we're basically starting all over again, and I had to keep reminding myself that all throughout the premier. I got used to sitting down and knowing that not only were we neck deep in a downward spiral, that the overall story was going to move forward with every single episode.

This premier didn't really do that because we don't know where to go. The new big baddy is a start, sooner than we got with Sylar in the first season. That felt familiar, so that's good. It's kind of like getting back together with someone you left on bad terms and haven't seen in a while - you have to rediscover where the boundaries are.

The only real question I'm left wondering is how the premier will do in the ratings. Lost didn't end its first season with the same amazing numbers it came back with in the S2 premier (something like 23 or 24 million.)

I don't think Heroes ever made it over 12 or 13 million previously, but it can make that jump by word of mouth and may have done a lot better had it had more lead time on DVD. I'd be thrilled of course to see it up near 20 million, that would put Heroes on an entirely new level and make it a serious competitor with any series on television.

I'm not doing this for every episode (or maybe I will..) but I wanted to speak on this a bit because I missed the train with Lost, but not this time.

The Heroes pilot, the first few minutes were the best in television history if you ask me. The series began with Peter, and the second season premier ended with him. That's fitting, and I hope Kring is wise enough to continue orbiting the series around him. Not just the character, but Milo is a very talented and enjoyable presence.

On the other hand, it would have been just as good to wonder if Peter survived for at least the first few episodes. We've seen how his loss (and not knowing) affected Nathan (glad to see he let go at the last minute, I wonder if we'll get a scene where he talks about that decision?) and it's a great tear jerker to watch people lost in their emotions like that. It makes for extremely good drama.

At this point it really doesn't matter whether people liked the premier or not, if this season is going to be anything like the last one, we've got anywhere from 4-11 episodes just to get the ball rolling. I picked the number 4, in case you are wondering, because I believe the 4th episode is the one where future-Hiro approached Peter and Mohinder on the train. That's what hooked me, and I hope that moment comes early and hits hard for season two.

I trust that it will.

Updated (2007-09-26): Added a streaming link for the episode near the top, also published a post with the link called "Watch the Heroes Season 2 Premier 'Four Months Later' Streaming Now".
in Television


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