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A Great Television Tragedy
on 18 September 2010
Heroes should stand as a great tragedy of television greatness; if left as a single season it would have stood tall with a reputation that would have made it untouchable. The concept of a second season wasn't terribly bad either it was just a question of whether the characters could be taken to new heights, whether new characters would engage and whether the stories becoming more thrilling. What didn't help and in fact may be the overall contribution to Heroes' fall was the writers strike which split the second season. The second season ended up a dull affair while the third season at times felt overblown and the two volumes which made it up didn't feel consistent as a whole unit. There was still quality but some of the characters went from change to change that come the finale, they had become completely lost.
Season four and `Redemption' however isn't a complete calamity as it stands. It starts off with great potential, a more character driven plot centred on the idea of a Carnival filled with people with abilities led by the mysterious Samuel (Robert Knepper). Though many fans weren't convinced with the concept, it was a more interesting organisation than the Company or the Government Agency in previous volumes. This was in part due to the mysterious nature of its inhabitants; were they heroes or villains? The Carnival was the opposite of past organisations but the series was clever at also making it seem like a healthy alternative compared to what transpired in `Fugitives'.
Tied into this was the resolution of the `twist' at the end of `Fugitives' which whilst lacked an overall point, was a very interesting and at times entertaining aspect of the season which featured heavily Nathan Petrelli and Matt Parkman also. Likewise other characters returned to more simplistic stories; Peter trying to help people, Hiro trying to be a hero and Claire trying to have a normal life. Whilst Peter and Hiro remain more interesting characters, Claire has become almost unbearable with her story changing very little from season to season and she has quite clearly now outstayed her welcome. Other characters such as Noah, Suresh, Lauren etc. don't really add anything to the story either. The trouble overall is that nearly everything we see here has all been done before and it's gotten very old. Apart from the new individuals from the Carnival there weren't that many new lead characters, apart from Emma who even then was developed too slowly and didn't feature too heavily in the overall story till later.
To sum up the season; `Redemption' had some fantastic concepts and good moments but overall it suffered from a lack of new characters, spent old characters and fundamentally a finale that didn't deliver any excitement. Heroes has died a painful death despite moments where it briefly showed glimpses of its past glory but ultimately it failed to find any more inspiration despite the vast amount of comic books out in the world to draw inspiration from.
Heroes was a show that blew everyone away when it debuted with its characters, it story and development. The first season was one of the greatest debut seasons ever but sadly it never recovered from a dire season and attempted too much with its following season to a point in which it became confused. A real shame it couldn't draw any inspiration to stage a great recovery.