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5 Lessons To Learn From Heroes’ Failure

The news that NBC was canceling Heroes this week may not have been a surprise considering the show’s dramatic drop in the ratings since its season 1 heyday, but what lessons can be learned by the producers of other shows to escape the same fate?

Here’s the most obvious lesson: Don’t suck. As someone who stayed with the show all the way through the start of this most recent season, it was obvious that the show’s loss of popularity was merely mirroring a loss in quality – What had started as a breath of fresh air in a television environment that had come to value “mysteries” over plot and lost its way as a result (Particularly apposite to think about, on the weekend that Lost is ending) had, by the end of its third season, become a series of increasingly over-the-top plot twists that ignored character, consistency and logic in favor of the next big shock. Even though I am personally unconvinced about the value of mixing superheroes and TV, it’s nonetheless heartening to see that TV producers seem to have realized that it was the show, and not the genre at fault in Heroes‘ case, judging by the announcement of new fall shows The Cape and No Ordinary Family. But how can those shows avoid what happened to Heroes? Here’re some suggestions:

Have A Good Reason For Your Characters To Be There
One of the many problems with Heroes was that there were so many characters that the writers had to come up with ever-more-tenuous ways to keep them all busy (Matt Parkman’s spirit walk, anybody? Or Mohinder’s Seth Brundle impersonation?). A lot of this, it seemed, was down to audiences demanding more screentime for their favorites, even if there was no real story reason for them to stick around (See: Almost every plot that included Sylar after the first season), which the show indulged to the point of ridiculousness, but such fan service came at the cost of the credibility of the writing. As over-the-top as the first season was – and, at times, it seemed as if “over-the-top” was the reason the show existed – it still maintained a sense of cohesiveness and character continuity that was lost as it became more and more desperate to give Peter a reason not to actually just save the world all by himself. Which reminds me…

Don’t Make Any Of Your Characters Too Powerful
Sure, both Peter and Sylar’s powers make sense when you’re planning to kill them both off at the end of the first storyline, but as soon as they both survived, it stretched credibility for both to not simply dominate the entire show on a weekly basis through powerset alone. Similarly, Hiro’s ability to travel through time and space meant that he, too, became a plot problem that needed to either be entirely ignored or dealt with when dealing with any problem the characters came up with (Note that Peter, Sylar and Hiro all managed to be depowered in one form or another during the course of the series). If any of your characters are powerful enough that they could essentially stop the show all by themselves, you have a problem in terms of story; if three of them are that powerful, then something’s gone very wrong.

Don’t Repeat Yourselves
As Heroes continued, it began to feel as if we saw the same stories over and over again: Peter and Sylar would have to face off. Mohinder would make some mistake in the name of either curiosity or science. Nathan would do the wrong thing for the right reasons, and learn the error of his ways. HRG would have to sacrifice family for duty or vice versa. It pointed up the formulaic nature of the show, which in turn made it look as if the writers cared so little that they were happy to keep recycling what had worked the first time, instead of coming up with something new.

It’s Okay If You Don’t Keep Raising The Stakes
Not every story has to save the world, and you need smaller stories to give the larger ones some context. At times, it felt like Heroes lost track of the “ordinary people” part of its tagline, Ordinary People Discovering Extraordinary Abilities; as much as the show was clearly influenced by old X-Men comics (“Days of Future Past” especially), it seemed to miss how necessary those downtime issues where everyone played baseball between adventures were to the characters, and the readers.

Don’t Lose Track Of What The Show Is About
Heroes‘ mistakes all stem, I think, from the creators trying to give other people what they wanted to see, instead of creating what they wanted to create. On the one hand, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to please your audience, because that’s the way you get them to come back, to an extent. But on the other hand, part of good storytelling is staying true to what you feel to be right, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel for those watching/listening/reading. By the end of its run – by the end of its second season, even – it wasn’t clear what Heroes was actually about, other than “these people with superpowers”; it didn’t have a clear direction or theme, with the idea of “ordinary people” sacrificed as conspiracy theories, spies, carnivals and other fantastical elements filled the show to create freakish interest in the place of continuity or consistency.

When I stopped watching the show, it was because I didn’t feel like anyone – me, or those making the show – knew what the point of the show was anymore. It still had potential as a concept, but it felt like it was further and further away from fulfilling it with each new move. Here’s hoping that other shows learn from Heroes‘ mistakes.

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Comments

  • Zach

    Agreed. The constant, boring Sylar plots (long after he should have died) really killed my interest. The thing that made me stop watching was the news that the latest season would have an evil carnival for villains.

  • DA

    Another thing that also killed the show for me was the long hiatus between chapters. You're sitting there watching and something interesting finally happens and then all of a sudden it says “to be continued”. And in another 6-8 weeks later it begins again. By this time i didn't care.

  • lacreoleman

    I liked your last item on the list, because its the biggest issue with me about Heroes. They went too far with the Ordinary People aspect and made them annoyingly whiny and weak, which made the later seasons after Season One less and less attractive to watch. When you advertise a show about super humans, that's what we want to see and less of the Claire Bear show. More superhuman battles, struggles of good versus evil, not whether or not Claire wants to be superhuman or not, or whether HRG wants a family or to be a contract killer, or if Peter (almost as annoying as Claire) can find the brass ones to be a hero. Those issues can be neatly wrapped in a superhero show, but not obscure the fact that we are watching people who can fly, heal insanely fast or be the network equivalent of Superman and that we are looking for amazing things to happen every episode.

    If Heroes gets picked up by another network or comes back as a series of TV movies, they had better get off their backsides and really inject some life in the show and make me care about these ordinary people having to deal with being 'super' human.

  • Zach

    Can we get a spinoff featuring just Noah Bennett and Ando?

  • taylor

    I stopped watching this season after the episode where Hiro travelled back in time to save some girl from the first season who I had completely forgotten about. I just didn't understand why the writers thought people would give a fig about some minor character who all of a sudden was supposed to be Hiro's love interest. I also think that this was a good indicator that the show just had no freaking idea just what the hell it was going to do next

  • Dirk Bauman

    “by the end of its third season, become a series of increasingly over-the-top plot twists that ignored character, consistency and logic in favor of the next big shock.”

    This is the same reason the comic industry is suffering as a whole. If the comic book reader is dropping away from this very same formula, what makes anyone think the home viewer will find it any more enjoyable?

  • http://www.housepetrelli.com Willow

    I'm about 50/50 agree/disagree on this article. There were some fundamental problems in storytelling and direction that, unfortunately, were caused by lack of foresight and creativity on the part of the writing staff. The cast was supposed to rotate every season, but that's not possible when the viewers have spent an entire season getting emotionally invested in the characters, so that idea had to be changed.

    Where the author here argues that the writers were pandering to the audience too much, I maintain that they didn't listen enough (or to a very vocal minority). This is the case with a lot of the mistakes made, such as keeping Sylar after season 1 (he's the darling of the writers for some unknown reason, and there's that vocal minority — most viewers didn't like him and thought he should have been killed off, but the squeaky wheel got the grease here).

    Lack of creativity, sadly, also marred what could have been one of the greatest shows of its genre of all time. The title was Heroes, and started out to be an answer to 9/11 according to Tim Kring. It started out that way, ordinary people making a difference and learning to cope with this power they've discovered inside themselves, but as soon as the villains and conspiracies and gunplay started to take over (Peter with a machine gun? Really, you guys?) and they added more and more new characters and made the old favorites act against their nature (I'd love to see that show bible, apparently there is one, not that you can tell), everything fell apart.

    Sylar was kept partly because the writers think he's “interesting to write for.” Nathan was killed off because they didn't know what to do with him. Sorry, but shouldn't the writers determine who's interesting and who's boring? I could write a whole show just around the concept of a politician who can fly. Up until we met his mother, I though Sylar was completely two-dimensional and annoying.

    Yes, Peter's original ability was too powerful, but to retcon him and pretty much everyone else the way they did was insulting to the viewers. There were other ways to keep him in check, such as his own “good guy true blue boy next door” personality. Also, we were promised that Ando and Mohinder would never get powers. So much for that. I also hate the whole synthetic powers storyline with an unholy burning passion, and I feel it ruined a lot of the wonder of the show, like the whole miticlorian count thing in Star Wars or Spider-Man's organic webshooters. Sorry, but no. Don't change the fundamental makeup of your characters in mid-story. And don't change their motivations and personalities and relationships with each other (in some cases, multiple times) to further some far-fetched plot idea.

    I do agree a LOT with the “not raising the stakes” point made in the article. How many viewers ate up the Superbowl commercial where they're using abilities against NFL players? How fun was that? Heroes was about the PEOPLE, not the powers. Or should have been after the first season. That was the biggest, most fatal flaw of all. Look at shows like House or Desperate Housewives. Hugely popular, not a power to be seen.

    Think back to your favorite parts of Heroes. For me, it's moments like Hiro looking up at the eclipse or yelling YATTA in the middle of Times Square, it's the sheer wonder of the moment that Peter discovered he really could fly on the roof with his brother, it's Claude talking about being connected or disconnected to other people and being a recluse, it's a politician trying to reject what's happening to himself and his family, it's the interconnections of all of them. There was real chemistry there, when Nathan and Hiro met in the diner. When Simone and Peter rushed to save Isaac's life from an overdose. When Nathan destroyed the painting, hoping it would somehow save his brother. When Claire jumped out the window and showed Nathan what it meant to be a real hero.

    Underneath it all was wonder and love and beauty and interconnectedness. And that's what the show should have been all along. That's what was lost after season 1.

  • http://atocom.blogspot.com Atomic Kommie Comics

    HEROES did on tv what both Marvel and DC are doing in comics…splashy big “events” that make little sense in the long run while sacrificing character development and plot continuity and hoping nobody will notice.
    We noticed. ;-(
    HEROES is gone, and overall sales are dropping for both Marvel and DC.

  • atalex

    Here's a lesson I think all producers of dramatic serialized tv shows should learn: read your scripts out loud to a nine-year-old child, and if that child can point out an obvious plot hole, tear up the script and start over. The moment for me that Heroes finally descended into parody was when Matt, HRG and Mama Petrelli made the ludicrous decision to brainwash Sylar into assuming the identity of the dead Nathan because Mama Petrelli just couldn't live without her son … when in the very next room was Claire WHOSE BLOOD CAN RAISE THE DEAD!

    Forget about how overpowered Peter and Sylar were — Claire can raise anyone from the dead with a simple blood transfusion, and no one has thought to remember that since S2 despite all the fatalities among her friends.

  • Flip Maker

    OK, trying to draw correlations between a failed television program and declining sales in comics is pretty much impossible to do. There are so many factors that are NOT common between the two mediums (one is on free TV, one is a paid product for starters) that it's impossible to make that argument. That said, one analogy that can be made is those big-two event stories that fail have a lot in common with the event show that Heroes is/was/became however you want to put it. A focus on the event with less focus on the character always leads to poor story telling.

    That said, there was a LOT Heroes did right in its first season, with the highlight of course being the COMPANY MAN episode, plus almost any episode in that first season that included Hiro and Sylar. Sadly, both Hiro and Sylar became less than enjoyable characters in the long run.

  • DS

    Claire was an awful character and season 3 needed a more coherent plot. I actually think season 4 was ok. If season 3 had been better then the stuff wrong with season 4 could have been ok. As for Hiro, Sylar and Peter. They should have made sure Hiro wouldn't change time and left it that way, made Peter struggle with his powers and left it that way and had Sylar die. In fairness to the writers a lot of what made season 2 work was unliked by fans and so we had the terrible season 3…

  • Docknock

    Another thing that I thought was a flaw was that the mastery of powers came too cheap. While some of these powers I can buy as being instinctual, I think there were many cases where complicated use of them (say Hiro's time/space travel or Parkman's telepathy) could have shown more of a learning curve and an intermittent cost between lessens and made the show a lot more interesting as well as dialed down the power issue.

    Other logical variations of some of the powers were never explored. If I was HRG, I would have shipped her off to the best Sensei I could find and have her learn to take care of her self. She could handle the crash course! If I was Claire, I would think about carrying a knife around, cut myself and store guns or explosives in my abdominal cavity. (The last one may have been a bit extreme, but think about it, it would be a situation where Claire would have to make a choice to see if the situation warrented such extreme measures.) HRG was the best character because of his having to make choices and to accept a cost for his actions.

    Overall, I think Kring had one good plotline in him for the characters and was caught flatfooted when he was asked to do a second season. He should have showed us a different group of characters and gradually filtered in the old ones. Peter and Sylar should not have shown up until 3rd or 4th seasons respectively.

  • Wayne

    #6 – There Must Be A Payoff. If you have a show about people with powers, remember that at least a fair number of your viewers want to see people using cool super powers and not looking sideways at things. Flight, heat blasts, someone throwing a car through a building, people blowing up into chunky salsa, even a whole room of people getting the blood flow to their brain cut off momentarily so they all fall unconscious in unison. Cool stuff like that. Once every, oh, five episodes or so we'd get one cool thing like Peter's superspeed knife fight. But we'd have to sit through interminable scenes of Former Doctor Lady making rainbow music.

    You want to know why people liked Sylar so much? He /did stuff/ with his powers. He TKed people, stopped bullets and in general did more Cool Stuff than the rest of the cast combined.

    Shoot, just in the trailer for No Ordinary Family, we see more overt superpower usage than half a Heroes season.

  • redvector

    There was a lot of network interference from NBC that contributed to the show's demise. So you can't entirely blame the show's creative staff.

  • http://twitter.com/marvelboy74 Todd Ramsey

    I watched all seasons. I think part of the problem is many of the storylines were stretched to fill a season, which at times made a boring show. Someone mentioned that many of the characters learned how to use their powers right out the gate. Matt displayed a dramatic mastery of his powers and that these developments did not happen over years but months. Maya did not but people disliked her character from the get-go. So many watchers asked, what happened to Molly? There were two camps of fans, people who liked new characters and people who hated new characters; but the show needed to cater to both but in the end, the viewers just became alienated.

  • http://www.kindergoth.com Fanboy Supreme

    In my opinion, what really killed “Heroes” is simple: It took itself WAAAAAY too seriously! The reasone why Season 1 was such a phenomenon is because it had well-balanced storylines. Light & Shade. It wasn't all about “doom & gloom” & “being too gritty” (a la Frank Miller's “The Dark Knight Returns”).
    We had great inter-connecting plotlines in Season 1: the light-hearted adventures of Hiro & Ando; the “dark secret” of the Patrelli family; “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.”
    Beginning with Season 2, “Heroes” lost sight of what made it such a huge success! Instead, they went all heavy-duty, dark, grim. There was no lightness, no whimsy.
    In my opinion, it became unwatchable, depressing. There was no joy. It was all about Syler's quest to kill as many of the powered people as possible, so's he would gain their abilities. It became about having to “sacrifice all to save the world.”
    “Heroes” evolved into what current Marvel & DC comics are: event-driven, death, mayhem & devistation for the sake of “keeping it real.”
    Sorry, folks, but “Heroes” chose to follow the WRONG models! Instead of emulating the vibes of Marvel's “Civil War,” “Dark Reign,” & “One More Day” or DC's “Infinite Crisis,” “52,” & “Darkest Night,” the producers/writers of “Heroes” should've been studying modern classics like “Crisis on Infinite Earths” & “Super Heroes Secret Wars.” Both of those stories had plenty of high drama and humor. They were both balanced.
    So, unlike most of you, I'm glad to finally see “Heroes” die. It was a long time coming. They needed to pull the plug on it after Season 2.
    Now, from the ashes of “Heroes” comes 2 new shows: “The Cape” & “No Ordinary Family.” Both have the potential to be really cool!
    Of course, we also still have “Chuck,” “The Human Target,” and the final season of “Smallville”…

  • http://www.kindergoth.com Fanboy Supreme

    Agreed. I stopped following 90% of the mainstream comics from DC/Marvel cuz they were too event driven & reliant on those events.

    If you want to read fun comics, go to http://www.kindergoth.com! They're really COMICS = funny!

  • babybro

    disagree on characters not too powerful. Would it add possible difficulty to certain not as good writers? Indeed, but there is nothing wrong with having a very powerful character. It's the exact reason why you have a batman and a superman. One is meant to be down to earth and barely above normal, and another is meant to have a power close to a God. It's just that for some writers who aren't that skilled in their craft, having a powerful character can put them in a jam. Because it requires more intuition and creativity to create challenges when the need to have challenges do arise.

    A issue that wasn't brought up, however, that should've been, , is the removing of diversity. As each season went by, the amount of diversity that was within the tv show went less and less. As such when the series first started, many first championed the series as how diverse a show was suppose to be. But over time, the cheers went to disappointments and essentially distaste for the show. As such, I know many of minorities viewers who stopped watching the show because of it.

  • Mota

    Its sad that the show turned out as it did after such an awesome first season. Seasons 2-4 i just kept coming back telling myself it would get better and it never did. Characters kept switching personalities for the sake of the story and eventually I stoped coming back.
    [quote]
    as much as the show was clearly influenced by old X-Men comics (“Days of Future Past” especially), it seemed to miss how necessary those downtime issues where everyone played baseball between adventures were to the characters, and the readers.[/quote]

    marvel seems to also have forgotten about downtime and it seems to be back to the 90's with one mega crossover after another and spinoff books for every single team they have :/

  • Beast

    Pretty much agreed. The first season was fantastic, and then right away with the second season it went off the rails. Introducing all these new characters that were for the most part unlikeable, such as the Brother and Sister from Mexico. The only new character in Season 2 that was halfways decent was the 'Taskmaster Girl'. Outside maybe some of the Primatech folks.

    What Season 2 really did wrong was the entire subplot with Hiro trapped in Ancient Japan. Sure it introduced the new “Villain”, but then he wasn't even satisfying in that role. Plus it made Hiro, who was a character I really liked in Season 1… painful to watch as he pined over the “Princess” and made lovesick faces that reminded one of a gassy baby.

    I don't even remember Season 3 all that well, other than it was fairly mediocre as well. But Season 4 seemed to be getting things back on track, for the most part. It certainly was a huge improvement on 2 and 3. And revealing more about the backstory of Primatech and the source of the abilities was a good idea. Of course, by then it was too late… no matter how much an improvement Season 4 was, 2 and 3 put people off from watching the show.

  • Drew B

    great points! the show lost its way in the second season and never really recovered from that stumble– there are good actors on the show and bits of good writing, but there was never again a feeling of “wow, this is so COOL!” that happened in the first season.
    ah well.
    RIP, Heroes.

  • Daybreak_st

    Agreed with the article. I felt like season one of heroes played out like a well-developed Graphic Novel. It had mystery, cool characters, and a statisfying conclusion. If they had simply allowed Peter and Sylar to have a more epic battle in the season 1 finale, you would've had the perfect cinematic tv show. It felt complete. The next season could've been set in the same universe but dealt with different characters with occasional character from season one making an appearance that made sense and seemed imiportant. Like Peter appearing midway through 2nd season trying to gather some of the characters to stop some major threat, etc.

    The recycled plots really made the series feel weak and redundant. Also some of best parts of season 1 were the mysteries surrounding the company, but by season 2 the company seemed like an empty threat with only Bob and his daughter doing the heavy lifting. By season 3 the company was just pointless. It could've been handled in a much more statisfying way.

    Sylar should have stayed dead or only popped up occassionally. After season 1 everyone thinks he's dead, then dead heroes start being found again and people wonder if he's still out there, something like that. Peter should've retained his abilities but perhaps only able to use one at a time. TK and Electricity looked great and i hate that he lost those, also the healing factor was great.

    By season 3 the plots lost all sense of logic. Future Peter travels back in time to kill nathan, to prevent a future where everyone has powers, yet no one ever explains why that's such a bad thing?! But it must be stopped at all costs or the world will split in two, literally? What? Then Sylar has an uncontrollable hunger to kill, that's why he's evil, oh yeah, now peter has it too, what? Sylar had no powers in season 2 and he was still a serial killer, some characters just shouldn't be redeemed or can't be.

    Then the whole idea of Heroes vs Villains was an utter dissapoinment. It was cool that Peter was going to have face off against some escaped villains. They could've highlighted the fact that despite his vast powers he has no experience in this , or very little and he's beaten by them. later he comes back and is able to defeat them, something like that, but they wasted several visually interesting characters but just killing them quickly. Also Sylar becomes HRG partner? What? It's that kind of random stuff happening that killed the show. How about Peter becomes an agent instead, but he has to face off against someone like the hatian who can negate his powers.

    That show had so much potential. It starte off very grounded in teh real world and that seemed to be the original premise, extraordinary people dealing with real world issues, but they lost site of “real world issues” every season they were stopping a giant explosion from happening based on some paintings. Get's borring after a while. But the premise of real world people gaining powers and the potential aftermath was still a great concept, they just didn't think it through. Could've gone in some many interesting directions. I agree a rotating cast would've worked best. Like a cop (unlike parkman) as on Ordinary family who develops invulnerablity, or a healing factor, he's “killed” in the line of duty but then comes back and discovers his ability, that would've made an interesting character, but they just settled on the season 1 cast and recycled bad plot lines over and over again until the series died. What a waste.

  • gorillamydreamz

    You've summed it up nicely. I don't even blame the writers room. I think we have ashow that NBC had some hopes for that turned into a phenomenon. And I can tell you as a TV writer, when that happens everybody involved at the network and production company (and everywhere else) who can make notes suddenly turn their attention to the production.

    Heroes was more than the sum of its parts in season one. For all the silliness there was a cohesive vision and a plan. That and clever performances made it work. But when you have a mega hit, the execs want to tinker, marketing wants to play up stars they can promote, producers want to top themselves and writers feel pressure to cow to multiple masters.

    This results in exactly the kind of decline we saw. Creators still have their cheques signed by the people who give them notes and on a runaway train like this, they are not given the leeway they need to create something adaptable and changing yet consistent like like Lost. That show how hands off execs!

  • http://www.fyshbowlcomics.com Kyle

    I stuck with Heroes as far as half-way into the third series, then quit.

    I loved the first season, and have it on DVD at home. I think it's a fine example of serialised storytelling balancing individual chapters and a bigger overall story. I personally also loved that the story appeared to be building up to a massive punch-up, but then had a smarter resolution.

    Then it all went wrong. It's patently obvious from watching the first season that those characters were meant to fade into the background, and I'm fairly sure Kring said as much himself. Instead they were kept around, and characters who previously had gone through a reasonably well-defined and internally-consistent character arc suddenly found themselves holding the Stupid Ball in order to propel them through plot-developments that felt a bit contrived.

    The second series was a real shame – it took 6 episodes for the writers to get things moving, and then the WGA strike killed the momentum they'd taken so long to build up.

    By the time we got to the third series and the Dark Primatech nonsense, not to mention that ridiculous episode trying to crowbar new events into the first episode of the first series, I knew it was never going to recover.

    Saddest thing of all? The 4400 clearly had the storytelling model that Heroes desperately needed, and a lot of similarities in terms of cast size, storytelling approach and themes/genres – and it also got cancelled after its fourth season.

  • Hugo Sleestak

    The series lost me right about the time Sylar ate Clare's brains, then she regenerates her brain along with all of its memories. Wha??? That was about as far-fetched as the current idea in comics that Iron Man keeps his suit stored inside of his bones.

  • Will

    I totally agree with the 5 lessons. This show could have been so much better!!! Is there really going to be a final 2 hour movie to wrap up the storylines, if so will it be any good?

  • TikiDragyn

    I have a problem with repeated comparisons between Heroes and recent Marvel/DC comics. Mostly because I have been reading most of the main Marvel story lines, and really, unlike Heroes, marvel has actually been doing very compelling, character work, along with the big event stuff. Also, unlike Heroes, it was all leading somewhere, and if you have been reading as well you should know this. Those you seem to want to compare the two don't seem to actually read the books they are criticizing, only make general remarks that relate to very little in the actual stories. If you have been reading and still don't like them, well why are you reading books you don't like in the first place. Heroes was a great 1st season show, that had no clear goal for continuing, makes you wonder if it should have just been a mini series, maybe Kring should have moved on and let someone who actually has ideas steer the show.

  • http://Movie-Vault.com Joe Huber

    I think the first season didn't lose sight of the “real people with extraordinary powers” aspect. It had a tight story that ran the full season with the climatic ending. If anything maybe everything after saving New York was anti-climatic. Where to go from there? Season two made the mistake of forgetting these are supposed to be real people with powers and the problems they bring. Not enough time spent learning powers outside of Matt & Peter. Everybody else seemed to catch on too quickly.After season one they forgot “reality” Matt's job/family was less important, Pete no longer was caring for patients, Nathan seemed to forget his political life. It just lost touch with reality which is best summed up with Hiro's trip to the past. Who can relate to that?

    I'm not saying they should have been whiny, which they did become, but they should have kept in touch with the reality. Also, post-season one it became too dark. The heroes optimism went out the window despite saving NY. Some people want the super-powers and fights 24/7. How do you know the powers are so special if you constantly have them on display? Also, outside of Noah everyone else used their powers as the answer to every problem instead of thinking things out, coming up with inventive solutions (hell McGuyver did that back in the day) and other interesting ideas. Powers are good, but they shouldn't be the answer every time out. I think whoever said the contrasts between Batman and Superman had it right on. Just cause Batman had no super-powers didn't make him weak, actually his mind, detective work & his various fighting techniques to go along with scare tactics was his strength where Superman's strength was his physical being and super-human powers also his humanity despite being an alien, where Batman/Bruce Wayne cared but did so in a different way, he saved people but not to please them, Superman's image is as important as his heroics. Summed up they are polar opposites of the same coin, on the same side but with different ways of approaching heroism.

    Also, Heroes stopped being heroes in general. Too much fighting Sylar. Who did they really save after Season One? It became too much about in-fighting, fighting Sylar. Sylar killing so much that most of his kills didn't have time to develop. We weren't given time to care about most of the people he killed. A spotlight on other villains and using Sylar in a Lex Luthor fashion (for more important long-range stories) would have benefitted the show.

    I think two things strongly affected Heroes more than people suspect : One was the strike. What show was hurt more than Heroes by the strike? It killed the show's momentum. A great first season needs that crucial second season to at least be solid, a steady schedule is a must and the strike prevented that. Cutting the season short ultimately harmed the show. Story and characterization were sacrificed and the show lost direction and it's touch with reality. Second was NBC/fan interference. When a show gets successful sometimes studios interfere and try to run things taking away unpredictable stories, being too repeatative, spotlighting favorite characters too much. I think the creators wanted to please the fans so much that the ended up doing the opposite. You can't cater to the audience, instead you need to stay true to your “universe” keeping characters steady and not changing them to fit the story or force popular characters into stories to please fans/network brass. Staying true to characters is important. Spider-Man was “great powers = great responsibilities”, Superman = “Truth, justice & the American way” (despite Bryan Singer's “and other stuff”) In writing, you need to write to please yourself. If you do that you usually end up pleasing your audience. Things like inconsistency (powering, depowering characters, ignoring their “real lives” ie – jobs/families) also added to the mix.

    I was ok with Sylar/Peter/Hiro having so much power. Though I see the point where it can be harmful. What hurt was the good guys weren't the underdog enough. Maybe Peter should have only been able to use one-two powers at a time where Sylar could use them all at once, Hiro should have had limits to his time/space mastery. Maybe something that prevented him from interfering in certain character's destinys where his powers just wouldn't allow him to time-travel due to a characters fate/destiny.

    Ultimately the Heroes should have continued saving people instead of just fighting the villains to save themselves. They should have stayed “real” people with extraordinary powers having jobs and stuff that might have made it harder to save people and create problems that could make stories more interesting. Instead of having the Heroes chasing Sylar all over the country, have so and so unavailable because of work/family and other issues. Ultimately heroes have to be underdogs to the villains or else it becomes boring. Unlike villains, heroes have to do what they do (save people) while maintaining a somewhat normal life by working and living with their families. Right there it creates problems for the heroes by having them at a disadvantage whereas the villains can bypass all those issues by stealing money from banks, people or being rich. Heroes have problems, villains create them. Also a nice rogues gallery ala Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men would have helped Heroes. Outside of Sylar and the Circus guy who else was a strong villain story-wise? The rest of the villains were lower-level. The heroes should have been out-numbered, out-powered and underdogs 99% of the time.

  • Patrick Zartman

    I'm guessing that english isn't your first language. At least I hope it's not.

  • trunks

    i stopped watching during season 2, when I realized how lame and immature it was. SEASON 1 was amazing, one of the most enjoyable seasons out of any TV I have ever watched.

  • lyvwhyr

    You brought back some of the greatest memories from the entire series in your comment. Those were the times my hair was on it’s ends wondering what would happen next. I might be 50/50 about the article as well….but I’m 100% in agreement with your comment.

  • Lethe

    I think all those points are reasonable except for making your characters too powerful. It was evident that no matter how far they got, there would always be a weakness to them. There was the haitian who could stop you from using them, Arthur could steal them, mind control, illusion, and carnival of people with powers, etc. It didn’t necessarily have to destroy the characters’ signature to make them reasonable for the plot, it just needed a more organized plotline, although more intelligent villains would be nice too. This was shown to an extent in season 4 but didn’t come together as season 1 did, as well as the final battle of Peter vs Samuel kind of lackluster as was season 1.