Thursday, August 09, 2007

Heroes - 1st series interim review

Just to show that the BBC can field good SF we get Heroes, of course they had to import it from the US. In case the first half of that opening sentence wasn't a give-away I like this show, I like this show a lot. Odd when you consider all the hype that went on, how could it live up to all that expectation - easily.

I'd read lots of other reviews and they too all said this was a great show, but they'd also warn that it "took some getting into to" and that you "should stick with it". After watching the first episode (then the second straight after) I wondered what the hell they were talking about then it hit me.

Firstly other then the cheerleader there's no overt use of powers, for the fully paid up members of the 'Instant Gratification' club this would result in "Boring! When's [person] going to do something?"

Secondly the number of main characters themselves. No 'group of six all living together in an apartment they obviously couldn't afford' show this, oh no we're talking about a dozen players here in different locations; heck at one point even different countries. With the episode cutting back and forth between them all you need to keep each person's immediate history straight in your head. What was this person doing before you switched to another, then another, then another before coming back? In other words you have to think and you have to watch this show in order to understand what is going on.

This could have backfired if it was difficult to keep the characters distinct, but the writers and casters have done well here, you wouldn't mistake the stripper for the cheerleader, the two brothers also have completely different personalities - all the cast are individually identifiable.

With the cutting back and forth there's no time to get tired or bored with what's happening, you get to see what you need to see, hear what you need to hear and then whoosh off to another location. Again something that could have fallen over if it weren't for the fact that you want to know what's going on, you want to hear what's being said, you want to try and piece it all together.

That leads me to the last moreish moment of the show - the cliffhanger. Ah so beloved of almost every series Dr Who, Flash Gordon, Batman how will our heroes escape. Nope not one of those types of cliffhanger where you know they're going to get out of their predicament. So the "You mean Sharron's not my daughter" beloved of soaps? No this isn't an inconsequential single plot thread that could easily be ditched with no-one ever the wiser. No these are cliffhangers that are integral to the plot, that lead to more questions, that make you want to watch the next episode just to find out what happens and right now not next week dammit. Bastards ;-)