September 25th 2006, the start of one of my favourite TV shows beckoned a change to the norm of the small screen. Seeing a show which basically gave all the usual superhero tropes with some of the most gripping drama and action I have ever seen in my life, this was essential viewing. From episode one, I was indeed hooked. I know a lot of people had lost faith and enthusiasm in the show after its first season, but it did continue to produce some great content through its four seasons and event series. These are some of my reasons as to why Heroes was one of the most important shows in television history.
The Best First Season
I know this is indeed a big point many fans make; the first season was the best in the whole show. I have to agree that season one was indeed my favourite season of TV ever. There really isn’t many shows I can say that all the episodes of that season was just as gripping as the last. With the exception of Breaking Bad and maybe Death Note, I have rarely really binged on a TV show in such a short amount of time. Season One introduced a truly great cast, some eye-popping effects and the deepest story-telling that I had seen at that time. I remember owning season one on DVD and I watched all 23 episodes in 2 days! I loved the character Hiro Nakamura as he was definitely the backbone to the show and managed to be a serious and fun character all in one. Masi Oka was indeed a great reason to watch, plus Hayden Panettiere playing Claire Bennet gave a very human approach to a very inhuman (sorry Marvel) character. Also, the cameos! But more on them a bit later. Also, THAT cliffhanger at the end of the season gave us so many questions that it became one of the most talked about endings…nobody knew what was going to come! And that made it so exciting.
Storylines And Other Things
Like I said, the first season really was the best. The show managed to introduce some very intriguing storylines in its “volumes”. The beginning, the appropriately titled ‘Genesis’ worked so well at introducing us to this world and the only bad thing it ever done was come to an end when season one finished! Season Two was going to feature THREE (yes, three) volumes. Beginning with ‘Generations’ and then moving to ‘Exodus’ and ‘Villains’. At the end of ‘Generations’, the shanti virus was supposed to be unleashed and this would have very much been a cull on the cast and some of the favourites. But, something more dangerous came…the writer’s strike! With the show about to go off air for an undetermined amount of time, the writers decided that the virus would instead not be unleashed and decided to bring back Sylar to full strength to become the threat again after the rather great Adam Monroe (David Anders) was defeated by our Hero Hiro! I have to say the third volume ‘Villains’ was fantastic, it really did hype up the series. The new characters fitted in well, the action was breathtaking and then The Eclipse happened! This was indeed a low point and some very lazy writing in my opinion. But then volume four saw the characters on the run and then the last volume ‘Redemption’ saw the characters interact with an evil super-powered circus. Then there was Heroes: Reborn, where do I start with this? The episodes with Hiro were good and I did think Tommy was a good character. But what the f*** was the rest of the show? Then the best bit (that last scene) is what frustrates me the most as it would have been a great story to explore!
The Cast, Great And Small
The show would be nothing without its cast, and one person in particular who I may have already mentioned. Yes, Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura was definitely my favourite character throughout the show. He was one of the main reasons I loved the show and stuck with it throughout its run. Also I can’t forget Zachary Quinto as Sylar, the best villain on TV for a good number of years and truly a great challenge for the characters. Hayden Panettiere was perfect as Claire Bennet, Jack Coleman as her father Noah and Milo Ventimiglia as the heartfelt nurse Peter Petrelli. These characters really did well as a central force in its original run. Then you have the cameos and guest spots, there was so much going on that the cast had to be huge. Kaito Nakamura and Nana Dawson played respectively by Star Trek legends George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. Then we had the invisible man Claude Rains played by Christopher Eccleston who helped Peter Petrelli control his powers! Then other legendary sci-fi actors like Ray Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I), Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four, but maybe more for Glee), Bruce Boxleitner (Tron) with original Shaft actor Richard Roundtree and movie legend Malcolm McDowell. So many great stars and recognisable faces with the cast we grew to know so well, definitely was interesting just to see who was in it that week.
The Writing Force
The characters can only go so far, to keep them appealing you also need some top-notch writers making the stories and scripts which we would come to know. Tim Kring was on to a winner when he pitched this show, but luckily the original basis was tweaked from being a more rotating cast to following the characters throughout its run (not counting Reborn that much). Jesse Alexander (writer for the Alias TV show and the film Eight Legged Freaks), comic book writer Jeph Loeb and Kring helped to create a lot of the great storylines we came to know. But, some of the best writing came from TV legend Bryan Fuller. Bryan Fuller has made some truly great shows including the quirky and brilliant Pushing Daisies, the engrossingly enjoyable Hannibal and the upcoming American Gods and Star Trek: Discovery. Bryan was behind some of the greatest episodes of the show including ‘Collision’ (when Future Hiro meets Peter Petrelli), ‘Cold Snap’ (the death of speedster Daphne while she enjoys a last happy memory with Matt Parkman) and the fantastic ‘Company Man’ which gives more information to the backstory of Noah Bennet and his actions with The Company and with the titular heroes! If Heroes was to ever return (which after Heroes: Reborn, makes it rather unlikely), I really hope Bryan Fuller can be involved and take the show to new heights!
The Impact On Us Mere Mortals
The show is celebrating its tenth birthday, a show which holds many memories for a lot of fans. Even though the show returned for 13 episodes (and brought back Jack Coleman as Company Man Noah Bennet!), it never made the same impact as the original, even though the revival was teased for over 18 months. The countless comics has also provided a much greater expansion to the Heroes universe. The show certainly had a huge cultural impact to the world, it gave us some fantastic characters and certainly was must-see TV at its best. How many people do you know would quote the line “Save The Cheerleader, Save The World”? Or “Yatta!”? How many people bought a replica of the Takezo Kensei sword or maybe thought how cool would it be to do a video similar to Claire Bennet’s (obviously faking it, not actually throwing yourself off a building)? Well there was a lot of you indeed! The show, though many may not sing its praises nowadays, it did inspire a lot of the shows that were to come. Though not a comic book based show, it took so many troupes from that area. Heroes was the comic book adaptation we never expected, but the one we really wanted. It helped pave the way for many comic based TV shows and helped start a new trend for superhero TV. Think, in the 2000’s we only really had Smallville and Heroes. Today? We have Marvel and DC TV universes, the demonic based shows Outcast and Preacher, Gotham, iZombie and The Walking Dead. We may have lost Heroes, but we got more than we could have ever wanted!
Do you want Heroes to return? Do you remember watching the show the first time around? I would like to know your thoughts. Three cheers to the future of comic book/superhero TV shows!
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove