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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



A little spoilery, but not much.

You know how Lost spawned all these other series that tried to kinda get the same vibe going on? Large casts, sci-fi elements, big complicated arcs? You know how every single one of them, last year, failed?

This year, there's another one. Heroes. And this pilot blows the ones from last year clean out of the water. The idea here is that certain people around the globe are developing super-powers. Some have likened it to the X-Men. That is an incredibly off base comparison.

Right from the first, you know you're in for something big. A text scroll that ends with..."This is Volume One of their epic tale." This gets me a little concerned, come out of the gate and promising some gigantic arc that you plow right into can lead to heartbreak when it gets totally Reunion-ed. You know, though, you can't hit hard eight if you never throw the dice.

Tim Kring has built a solid pilot that runs a little long (thus, I expect when it airs you might want to make sure you're TiVo is ready to run past the hour), and apparently there's an even longer version. There's a lot of characters to balance, and while it's a little bit uneven on giving each character their due, it's not egregious or anything and it just makes me want to see more of the series. Especially Claire, Hayden Panettiere's weary cheerleader (which she totally nails from her impatient finger snapping to her matter-of-fact manner) and Masi Oka's time and space bending salaryman geek.

Oka's appropriately named Hiro is very much the comedic relief. His fellow wage slave humors his pals insane-sounding claims that he can screw with time and space with challaenges like the one Hiro considers in the photo below. He is also the voice of wonder. Clearly a fan of sci-fi with many allusions to Star Trek, Hiro waxes iconic on the responisibility of a super-hero. One might not be entirely surprised if he took to wearing a cape. It wouldn't last, but he might try it.

Yeah, bending of time and space. You get a nice array of powers going on. You get some basics, like invulnerability and flight, and some interesting the guy that paints scenes that have yet to happen (and just might only be able to do it when he's hopped up on smack). And Ali Larter's Niki has a power that isn't entirely clear yet.

Like Lost, Heroes features a lot of character's crossing paths without actually being a regular part of each others lives. Clearly, there is something big at work here bringing people together. Questions are raised, but not on the massive scale of Lost. Keeping itself from getting too bogged down in it's own puzzles will be the key to the success of this series, I think. A balance between whatever large arc may be going on and each episode having a clear identity is what I want to see. A focus character in the A-plot and arc winding through the B-plot.

See how I keep mentioning Lost there. So what does it say that former Lost producer Jeph Loeb is over at Heroes now. This is such a good thing, because not only does he have that experience in this peculiar modern TV genre that has emerged, he's also done Smallville and he's a renowned writer of comics, the big guns, Superman and Batman. He knows super-powers inside out and can bring his experience to bear on this exploration of super-powers in something much closer to the real world than you get from an X-Men flick or an episode of Smallville.

Kring, of course, created Crossing Jordan, which has stood the test of several seasons now and is generally a well-written crime and personal relationships show. Loeb, as outlined above, is on board. Also on this program is Bryan Fuller. You know. Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me , Amazing Screw-On Head (which you must absolutely click on that link). He even did some decent Trek.

This pilot deserves your attention, without a doubt, and given the people signed on to this thing after the pilot was shot, you can't not go for a few more episodes just to see how stuff shakes out. I don't see it as a break-out hit, but it does look good.

More pilot (p)reviews to come.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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