How to save Heroes: Let it go

by Paul William Tenny

HeroesWhen you have such a high-profile hit like Heroes, the heir apparent to Lost and House that turns out can't really compete with either one even though it was more acclaimed than either of those that came before, it's inevitable that everyone chimes in with their idea of how to "save" it. Fire some executive producers that have been there since day one -- also known as scapegoating -- or blame it on declining ratings overall, or hype before quality, and then increase the violence and sex (the network's "fix" for everything).

Here's my idea: just let it go.
I struggled to stay interested in "Generations" because I hardly got to see what was happening to the characters I invested myself in for "Genesis". Bryan Fuller who wrote some of the better episodes from Genesis had left the show to create and run Pushing Daisies over on ABC, and I had a really bad feeling that Fuller was the linchpin to the whole deal, he was the lightening in the bottle even if it was Tim Kring's baby. They made some bad mistakes but I felt like near the end of the strike-shortened second season that some of the magic was slowly coming back into the room.

By the time the finale had aired I was left still wanting more. The finale itself was more of a relief than it was satisfying, but it could have gone so much worse than it did.

This year I got to see the "Villians" season premier before most people since NBC sent it to me on DVD for early review, and I loved it what I saw, I felt like they were back on track and this show that I shunned initially (and stupidly) had finally come home.

For reasons I don't need to get into here, I haven't seen a single new episode of Villians other than the season premier this year. I've got seven episodes sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched and yet in the blogs and in the press, I keep hearing the same old criticism about how it was drifting away from had made this series so special. For the second time in two years, Tim Kring would promise that he learned his lesson and that the next volume will be a lot better.

I believed him the first time, but I don't believe him this time.

And I'm not laying the blame at Kring's feet, I really do believe that Bryan Fuller took an average show and made it magical. I'm hoping that Pushing Daisies will get canceled -- and it looks like it will be -- because that show was pretty ordinary and Heroes really needs Fuller's talent and guidance back more than the world needs Daisies. The ratings are still dropping, though to be fair ratings are down across the board not just this year but for several years in a row. Even House, American Idol, and Lost aren't doing all that great these days, and that's saying a lot, isn't it?

At least we'll always have CSI and Dancing with Has-beens.

But on to my original point, maybe there's nothing wrong with Heroes at all. Maybe like Prison Break, Heroes had a single, very compelling story to tell and that was accomplished in the first season, and it's simply time to let the series go away gracefully. Sometimes you just can't stretch out a short story into a book. Sometimes you can't turn a great first season into five years of great work.

It's not a knock on the writers or actors or the story itself, if anything it's something I think we're just going to have to get used to: one-off series that pour everything they have into that first season, so they can tell that story in 24 episodes from beginning to satisfying end (even if we don't get the kind of conclusion we'd like to have, sometimes that's actually better) and then ride off into the sunset to create a new show for another great season.

Maybe in order to save Heroes, we have to let it go.
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