Monday, October 02, 2006

Psychic cops, flying Stop signs and convertible pants

Spoilers for "Heroes," "The Class" and "How I Met Your Mother" (in that order) coming up just as soon as I decide what the comic book about my own life would be called...

So many questions, so few answers in episode two of our superheroic journey. We realize that Hiro traveled through space and time for his jaunt to New York and got to witness both the apocalypse and the results of the election. Are they related? Will Hiro's return to the present prevent both things from happening? We're two episodes in, and I still have zero idea what Niki the stripper's powers are. Her mirror image can not only kick ass, but alter reality? Hmm... And can Peter really fly, or is his power to tap into the powers of people around him? Was the evil conspiracy trying to make some kind of symbolic point by having their hitman pose as a cockroach exterminator after Mohinder's cockroach talk last week? At what point will NBC have a "Heroes" / "Friday Night Lights" crossover where Claire gets run over by one of Kyle Chandler's players? And how much are the writers enjoying the quest to creatively maim her?

I know many of my fellow geeks were psyched for Greg Grunberg's appearance, but he wasn't exactly playing to comic relief type. Still more questions: Is our brain-stealing serial killer tied in to the nuclear detonation or will there be multiple big bads this year? Is Clea DuVall allowed to make a TV appearance on a show that doesn't involve supernatural powers?

And a question for you folks: in the original version of the pilot, Isaac cut his hand (or possibly hands) off to prevent himself from making any more clairvoyant paintings. I don't remember that scene from the final version when I watched it weeks ago, and he obviously wasn't an amputee in this episode, so was it cut or did they just ignore it?

Decent episode three of "The Class." Holly's queeny husband is completely absent, and her getting gobsmacked by the Stop sign was the single funniest thing in all three episodes. But I can't help feeling like the show would be much better if they trimmed the cast down to Jason Ritter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jon Bernthal and one or both of the twin sisters (I go back and forth on how much Heather Goldenhersh's speaking voice annoys me). Maybe I'll feel differently when they do more mixing and matching among the eight, but there's too much dead weight.

And so, "HIMYM" finds a way to telegraph the end of Ted and Robin's relationship by presenting his parents as an exact parallel. Again, I'm cool with them staying together for multiple seasons, so long as the show doesn't drown in pathos when it's time for the inevitable split. The Marshall and Lily portion of the narrative triptych was my favorite, but there were pleasures to be found in all three. Barney got some karmic payback for last week's multiple "rack-jacking" of Marshall by having Steven Keaton do the same thing to him.

What did everybody else think?


velvetcannibal said...

Wow. So I stopped paying attention a bit in the beginning of Heroes because they were repeating so much I'd already seen. Then BAM! BLOOD! GORE! CSI!

After I recovered from the shock a little, I became totally engrossed. I love that they gave us a date for that nuclear destruction. We're not just marching towards some inevitable end that may not happen for twenty years. And it fits nicely with the timeline of Isaac's other paintings coming true.

I also am totally confused by Niki. At least the brothers are making a little bit more sense. Is there any possibility that the politician brother is going to turn out to be evil, or the killer of those people? It would be interesting, since their powers seem to be linked.

I was surprised by the twist with Hiro. I was surprised by Isaac's death/non-death. I am still totally intrigued and grossed out and loving it. My biggest problem with the show is that it seems like it doesn't get going until the 2nd half.

I also enjoyed the father/daughter scenes. The father managed to come off as less of a dopey CSM and more of a real person.

So, I have many questions. But I'm hooked.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, I only find some of the stories interesting- Hiro and Clare in particular- and the others- Niki and the brothers- incredibly dull. I like what it's building towards, with a nuclear explosion just in time for sweeps!

The strongest moments were with Clare, and I like how Jack Coleman (!) is making this villain three dimensional- very creepy, yes, but there's some humanity there. As for the joy that the writers are having in damaging Clare- well, you should see some of the superhero comics in the last few years in particular. Including ones from one of the writers of this show. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"Is Clea DuVall allowed to make a TV appearance on a show that doesn't involve supernatural powers?"


velvetcannibal said...

Alan, I'm sorry this is OT, but I just caught the first 13 min of BSG on I am murderously jealous of any and all TV critics who have seen the entire ep. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Friday.

Heather K said...

I liked the brothers, but hate the stripper--why is she following the instructions left by her reflection that scares her?!--totally intrigued for next week and miss that I am not watching tv on dvd like I have been lately.

Also, anyone else weirded out by Ted's mom showing up as the brother's mom and lying to her kids back to back. Very strange moment watching HIMYM and Heroes in real time.

Anonymous said...

"Alan, I'm sorry this is OT, but I just caught the first 13 min of BSG on"


Anonymous said...

Niki's "power" seems like a multiple personality problem more than a power--so far. I'm intrigued enough to want to know what is up with her, but not so much that I want her story to detract from the others, especially Super-Hiro's, Clare's, and Officer Grunberg (Parker? Parkman? Didn't catch it).

velvetcannibal said...

For Jim:

1. Go to and click on SciFi Pulse on the right side. If a new window doesn't pop up (it didn't in Firefox), click on the Grace Park interview to make it open.
2. Find the BSG show listing in the new window; it's on the right, above the thumbnails from the interview.
3. Scroll all the way down to "First Look". Load the video, then settle in for thirteen minutes!

You have to make that new window player pop up. You'll find it.

Anonymous said...

Caught up with the first two episodes on Saturday, and I think I agree with you about the Class. It wants to be too many different things, and the things it does well, it does fairly well, and those it doesn't, it does very badly. And that's a very good trim of the cast; I think the sisters would help keep the various stories linked without it seeming like "gee, why are we STILL hanging around with the third grade classmates?"

One thing that's always jarring, especially watching a pilot and a second episode back to back is that unless the production does a spot-on job of matching looks and costumes and such, they should stop trying to set the second episode moments after the pilot's ending.

Matt said...

The Class desperately needs a cast trim, though the bit with the stop sign hitting Holly in the face was hysterical--a 30 minute sitcom can't do four separate storylines (Ritter/Caplan, Bernthal/Anders, Holly/Gay Guy, Goldenhersh/Ferguson). Bernthal's funny, but if you cut Andrea Anders as well, you don't have a storyline for him, and that's a problem.

HIMYM, on the other hand, continues to perform solidly, though did Alyson Hannigan get an excessive spray tan, or is it just me?

Anonymous said...

I went in with mixed expectations about Heroes but so far I've really liked it, and while Episode 2 didn't answer that many questions it did give me a lot of reasons to keep watching. Upcoming nuclear apocalypse! Brain-stealing super-powered serial killer! Possibly evil adoptive father! Officer Parkman under arrest!

I agree with you that Milo Vermentiglia as Peter isn't making much of an impression, Alan. I think he's trying to play the character as moody and potentially depressed, but he's just coming off flat. He and his brother are my least favorite storyline of the bunch. I think Peter's powers may be empathic in nature -- when he spends time with someone he seems to absorb a weaker version of their abilities. He can't fly like Nathan but he can hover a bit. He doesn't paint train wrecks but he can draw stick-figure versions of the immediate future. Could be interesting if they give Peter some facial expressions.

I do, however, find Niki's storyline interesting. I know I'm in the minority here, and I didn't expect to like the fanboy-bait stripper character, but I like the sense of mystery they've built around her. We don't get her powers, but she doesn't either. Her life is completely out of control, she's in way over her head with the Mob, and suddenly this scary thing in the mirror is acting as a creepy guardian angel. Of course she'll follow its plan, it's the only one she's got ... but now it looks like her alter ego may be a serial killer. Yikes.

And Hiro's storyline was just awesome from beginning to end. That alone made the whole episode worth watching.

Anonymous said...

Oops -- the actor's name is Milo Ventimiglia, not Vermentiglia or whatever I said.

Anonymous said...

Based on last night's episode, I think "Heroes" definitely has more legs than Studio 60. I'm increidbly intrigued by the show.

Noah Zehtner from "Brick" and Gregg Grunbreg show up in episode 2 and Hiro continues to be the most compelling new character on television. Even that godawful Ali Larter storyline doesn't seem half bad in the second episode.

I only wish they'd waited a little while longer to have the father discover his daughter has powers, tease it out a bit more, but I'm sure the show knows where it's going.

My guess is, once they save New York from the bomb, they have other storylines planned. This is just the first part of the origin.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Tim Kring said that the nuclear apocalypse story will be done by the end of season one, and at the time (July) he wasn't sure what the next season's story would be, but had some ideas running around in his head.

Anonymous said...

Ack! Save us from season long arcs, Damn you, Joss! Then again, it's better than "I don't know when we'll resolve it."

Anonymous said...

Alan, that's quite intiguing. I wish you hadn't ruined the twist that Milo's power is absorbing others since he was with Isaac the other night and because he was with his brother when he flew because I wouldn't have guessed that.

Anonymous said...

Who's got the ratings for week 1 and 2?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm just guessing on Milo's powers, based on what's happened in the first two episodes.

Anonymous said...

"...though did Alyson Hannigan get an excessive spray tan, or is it just me?"

It's not just you.

Heroes is not as great as everyone thinks it is. It's slow and self-important.