INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
For those who didn’t read yesterday’s post, I’ve decided that The Event and The Cape should serve as a wake-up call to NBC that they need to stop playing it so safe with their genre shows. And, if Wonder Woman isn’t what the network needs to return to former glory, I had another suggestion: Bring Heroes back.
Yes, it sounds like a terrible idea, but wait: I have a plan.
For its first season, Heroes was great; it had a direction, it had speed and it felt organic. By the second season, that wasn’t the case anymore – the characters had no real reason to stay in each others’ orbit, and the idea that they would regularly save the world (or even have the chance to) stretched credibility more than the show could handle. By the fourth season, everything has become ridiculous, despite the show’s periodic attempts to reground itself, and it became hard to care about anything that was going on. So, first thing to do with any new version of Heroes: Let the show’s characters go their separate ways again.
No, that’s not exactly right; that’s the second thing to do. The first thing is make sure that this isn’t a reboot. Keep everything that’s happened in the previous four seasons of the show in place, so that the fans of the show can be happy with the revival and that whoever’s in charge of the revival doesn’t have to start from scratch again.
But allowing the characters to go their own ways also allows you to thin the herd out a little; Heroes finished its run with a large, large cast, and it makes sense to pick and choose who gets to come back on a regular basis, and who gets written out for awhile (if not permanently). Allow some characters to stay away for awhile to recover from their overexposure in earlier seasons (Hi, Sylar! Hi Hiro! Hi, Claire!) and build up the other characters, instead.
Also: Change the format of the show. NBC had kicked around the idea of opening the Heroes world up to guest directors and writers with the mooted-but-never-happened spin-off, so it’s not as if this is an entirely new idea to them, but what if the series became one that ran all year, instead of all season, with stories lasting however many episodes necessary before passing off to an entirely different character/director/writer team? It’d be a bold move, but one that would work for the benefit of the ensemble cast and, potentially, the network (No need for reruns = All-new material each week = More audience, in theory). Plus, this allows all manner of interesting possibilities of new writers and directors to come in and reinvigorate the show (My suggestion? Raid the writers’ room of Being Human, which shows what Heroes could be like, if it hadn’t gone so far towards the melodramatic).
Ideally, this would result in a show that could take advantage of the pluses of the original Heroes – the attachment to existing characters, the brand recognition – while spinning off in a new direction in both format and content, allowing NBC to look like they’re trying something different and experimenting in genre drama again. I know I’d watch, but I’m biased. What about you?