http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/263746

Op-Ed: Why NBC's Heroes Is Declining In Ratings

Posted Dec 20, 2008 by Paul Bright
Heroes was once appointment television for me. Not anymore. Too many things have gone wrong with the show, and the fall of Heroes has begun.
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When NBC's Heroes debuted its first episode in 2006, I was skeptical. NBC has rarely impressed me with a sci-fi/fantasy television series. I thought the premise was interesting enough to check it out: seemingly ordinary people learn that they have special powers and either like them or hate them, much like the X-Men except no flashy costumes or Patrick Stewart. By the end of the second episode, I was hooked. Heroes was a perfectly written show: characters I cared about, seemingly plausible explanation for powers, a solid good vs. evil storyline, and off-the-beaten-path heroes like Hiro, a teleporting Japanese businessman who speaks very little English but has a heart of gold. I was championing the show by episode 5. I completely gave up on 24(with its tired "nukes are gonna get us! Everybody down!" plot) and dedicated my hour to Heroes.
But by the middle of season 2, the show started to slowly unravel. I kept watching, but I just couldn't pinpoint out why something so good went so wrong. The same characters are still there. The same storyline is still going. The style of the show is consistent. What's going on? By the second episode of season 3, I figured out what happened to Heroes and why, if it doesn't start correcting itself, Heroes will be the best show that never was.
Good is the New Evil. Too many characters are switching sides more often than the WWE. There has to be consistency, even if people's morals get in the way from time to time. Its fine for Claire's dad to switch sides because he has a legitimate reason: his love of Claire. But everyone else? It might as well be Vince McMahon's work. Take Suresh. Started off as a good guy. Inject him with something? A bad guy. Siler now? Bad guy. Siler in the future? Might be good. Siler finds out he's related to the good guys? He's still bad, but kinda good. Peter? Still good, but future Peter is bad..but not really. Too, too confusing not only for the casual viewer but by former comic book readers like myself.
The Past Is The Future Is The Past. This used to happen with comic books, too. If writers couldn't come up with enough storylines to secure the present, they time-travelled. It was fine for a few elements of Heroes to explore the future and the past. It made sense when Hiro did it. But for everyone else? It's too contrived and too messy. You lose continuity when you start the whole "we must save the present by changing the future". If Claire visits her former baby self in the past and runs into Noah, who's to say he doesn't watch her grow up and change even MORE of the future. Who's to say Hiro doesn't go back into the past with the Haitian, kidnap Claire, wipe Noah's memory and then drop her off in an orphanage? Show's over.
The Dead Are Alive Again. This time, Heroes borrows from not only comic books but from soap opera land. I barely had enough time to feel bad that Nathan was shot dead before he was brought back to life. And now he's dead again (we think). Not even Ali Larter can escape the Heroes' demise. We thought Nikki was dead in a fire, only to be brought back as a triplet by another name (Tracy).
Mohinder's Magic Lab. I don't care if this is a superhero show: no science lab works as fast as Suresh's lab. Are we supposed to seriously believe that within two hours he can build a syringe to cure/hurt a genetic mutation that took years and years of research to track and define? The Heroes storyline has barely revealed the origins of the "Hero" gene and Suresh can get magic results like it was a pregnancy test. Please.
Peter and Silar Are Way Too Powerful. Peter Petrelli might as well be Superman. With all the heroes in the world and the ability to absorb their powers and use them, why bother having anyone else besides his, ahem, "brother" Silar? Silar is obviously way too strong as a villain with no weaknesses to be exploited. He's the same as Peter: he can learn people's powers and use them himself. I mean, this guy basically had his chest removed and he STILL lived!
Minority Heroes, Anyone? Granted, every hero on the show seems to have issues with their powers. But it looks like all the minority heroes on the show are STILL second-class citizens, save for Mohinder (Indian). He's the only one who still has a prominent role. DL (African American)? Was a crook and now he's dead. Maya (Hispanic)? She's now powerless and the love interest story with Mohinder is over. Even Micah (half African-American), the boy wonder tinkerer, has been reduced to a scene or two. His cousin Monica, who could mimic physical actions of others, had great potential to develop into a featured character. Half of the escapees were minorities. Even the Hatian has five, maybe six lines an episode and he doesn't even get a real name. NBC needs to get real and quit reducing the roles of the minorities on the show. These characters weren't even tokens, but now the are hardly on the screen!
Rumor is that one of the original writers, Bryan Fuller, is coming back to the show. If he can get this once-great show back on track, there may be some hope. If not, well....when's Howard The Duck coming out with a sequel?