Monday, September 25, 2006

Everyday people? Not anymore.

Two columns today. The first is in praise of "Heroes":

Personal philosophy time: You have just realized you possess the amazing ability to bend space and time to your will. Do you use it to:
A) Travel cheaply to faraway places?
B) Fiddle with the clocks at your dead-end job?
C) Get into the opposite-sex bathroom without being stopped at the door?
D) Save the world?
For Hiro Nakamura, the aptly named breakout character of NBC's wild new drama "Heroes," the answer is more E) All of the above.
Played by Masi Oka, Hiro is a Tokyo-based cubicle drone and unabashed geek, the kind of guy who quotes X-Men comics and "Star Trek" episodes to explain how his powers work.
"Every hero must learn his purpose," Hiro tells a disbelieving co-worker. "Then he'll be tested and called to greatness."
"I think I need a stiff drink," the friend replies. "Beam us up, Scotty."
Like so many other new shows this season, "Heroes" is about total strangers -- a college professor in India, a west Texas cheerleader, an LA cop, a Vegas stripper and a New York politician, among others -- who are brought together under unusual circumstances. The circumstances just happen to involve flight, teleportation and telepathy.
"Heroes" has the kind of ambitious narrative and visual style you wouldn't expect from producer Tim Kring, the man who brought the world "Teen Wolf II" and "Crossing Jordan." But as if possessed by a super power of his own, Kring has created a big, colorful, messy, involving, funny explosion of a show. If it's not the best new series of the season, it's definitely the most memorable.

To read the rest, click here. In the second review, I dismiss "Runaway" in short order.
For a brand-new network, there's not much new to see on the CW. A mash-up of the best bits of the WB and UPN, the awkwardly titled network begins its first season of existence with only two shows that weren't on the air last spring. One, "The Game," is a spin-off of UPN's "Girlfriends." The other, "Runaway" (tonight at 9 on Ch. 11) is like a Frankenstein's monster stitched together from pieces of dead shows from both networks. And like the big guy with the bolts in his neck, all the parts looked better on their original bodies.
To read the rest, click here.


Mac said...

What do you think of the criticism that "Heroes" lets the male characters be people with real jobs and responsibilities while the female characters all are stereotypes (mom, cheerleader, stripper)? I haven't seen the show, but it seems from what I've read that all the characters are meant to be not stereotypes but archetypes.

bill said...

Nice review, you've made me interested in a show I was prepared to blow off.

Have you read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash?" Lead character's name is Hiro Protaganist.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Mac, it's something that didn't really occur to me, save that, as I say in the review, Ali Larter is fanboy bait. The later episodes have Clea DuVall from "Carnivale" as an FBI agent, and as you say, most of the characters are archetypal in one way or another.

Plus, indestructible football player? Not interesting. Indestructible cheerleader? Interesting.