A Heroes Lament

Several years ago, I received the first season of the television show Heroes as a gift. I didn’t think much of it, and I didn’t really know that much about Heroes at the time. I only started watching it when I had nothing else to do. Soon, I found myself absorbed in quite possibly the best single season of television I had ever seen.

For those unfamiliar with the show, Heroes tells the story of a small group of extraordinary people in an ordinary world. Each of these special people have a unique power that they discover throughout the first season. Each character reacts differently to the powers they discover, some embracing them while others are horrified and deeply affected by their newfound powers.

The first season of the show follows each of these people connecting and learning about the bigger picture with the help of each others’ powers. Soon, a conspiracy is unveiled, as is the complex and terrifying Sylar, another special human whose power is to be able to absorb other powers in a very gruesome way.

The first season of Heroes is dramatic and riveting. The stories of troubled drug addict Isaac Mendez (who can paint the future) and brother Nathan and Peter Petrelli (one can fly, one can mimic the abilities of others) are particularly interesting.

I burned through the first season of Heroes, hardly being able to take a break in between episodes. The comic-book style storyline combined with a very gritty ascetic proved a perfect combination. As soon as I finished season one, I immediately got season two.

Unfortunately, season two of Heroes was crippled. It was crippled by a writer’s strike that cut it half, crippled by bad characters, and crippled by a lack of plot development. It was heartbreaking to see Heroes turn from such a great show with critical acclaim and outstanding ratings to what soon amounted to a train wreck on my television screen.

I slogged my way through the second season, hoping that things could only get better. Even without a writer’s strike, season three was even worse. After the amazing narrative promise of the first season, it seemed like the writers were taking every character in the wrong direction. I saw some of my favorite characters go mad and become villains, and I saw villains have a change of heart and try and help save the world. The storyline became more and more convoluted. After a few episodes of season three, I couldn’t keep watching.

Soon after this, I heard Heroes had been cancelled. It was unfortunately probably the best thing that could happen to the series. I just wish Heroes could start over where that last season stopped, and it just might get things right this time. I mean, how could such a great show decline in quality so quickly? Unfortunately, I don’t have the powers to figure that out.