Why can’t we quit you, Heroes? By all accounts, NBC’s comic-book show, which returns tonight with it’s latest volume, “Fugitives”, ought to be our favorite show. It’s packed with hunky guys like Milo Ventimiglia, Zachary Quinto and Adrian Pasdar (who we’ve been fans of ever since we saw him sleeping naked in a cardboard box as the doomed sociopathic corporate-raider Profit) and as countless X-men plotlines have shown, the whole “I have a secret power as metaphor for being gay” thing never gets old. And admittedly, the show is just good enough that we keep coming back to it, time and time again, hoping that finally, it will get back on track, but how many time-traveling “we must atone for the sins of our parents” story arcs can one gay endure before turning the tube off forever? Because we really need something to fill our 9pm television watching slot, here’s some unsolicited advice on how to get Heroes back on track.
Kill off Sylar.
We love Zach Quinto’s adorable caterpillar eyebrows, but for the sake of the show, please get rid of him. First, he was a creepy and mysterious serial killer who ate super-powered brains, then, after realizing how goofy that conceit was, he became a tortured rogue on the road to redemption. He made googly eyes at an electric Kristen Bell and we thought, “Hey! Maybe he’ll be like Wolverine– designed to be a weapon by the shadowy Company, but fighting his true nature”, but in a move that screamed, “We’re out of ideas”, the show had Sylar turn super-evil again, for no particular reason at all, and had him go back to his old brain-eating ways. At this point, the character has been rewritten so many times that we no longer care what he does. With Quinto about to boldly go into J.J. Abrams Trek reboot, a quick mercy-killing would free-up the show to pursue new villains and move the show into unexplored territory.
Get back to the whole ‘ordinary people discover extraordinary abilities’ concept.
Every single volume of Heroes has come with announcements from the actors and creators that “This time, we’re going to get it right!” (this season’s mea culpa comes from Masi Oka, who play depowered time-traveler Hiro), but we have a sneaking suspicion that the show’s creators don’t know whey their show was a hit in the first place. The second season assumed what people wanted was more super powers and the third season has been all about stupid time travel stories and the Dynasty-esque machinations of the Petrelli clan. So, let’s make it clear why we like the show: It’s cool to see super-powered people trying to live ordinary lives. The conceit that you could have amazing powers and still have to make breakfast, try out for the cheerleading squad and take out the garbage is fun. Watching Mohinder mope about his spider-lesions while mixing up a secret sauce in a giant lab? Not so much.
Spare us your super-soldiers.
The thing that has us really down about the “Fugitives” storyline is that it’s about three years too late. “The government’s going to hunt down the heroes like they’re terrorists! We’re gonna send the to super-powered Gitmo!” would have been relevant before they shut the real Gitmo down, but now it just seems cliched and tired. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last eight years, it’s that our government is scary not because it’s run by a secret cabal of insiders, but that it’s run by incompetent ideologues who can’t get their act together and in this new era of hope and prosperity, the idea of a nefarious government organization hunting down Milo and company just sounds hokey. Why not use the Global Financial Crisis as a starting point. All the superheroes lose their jobs and have to move in together! Seriously, anything other than super-soldiers running around barking orders.
Actually, if the super-soldiers run around shirtless barking orders, we’ll be fine.
Do you still watch Heroes? What keeps you coming back? What other homo-friendly primetime shows have you started watching instead?