Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How to start a season...

Okay, so a couple weeks ago NBC premiered the new seasons of two of my favorite shows on television right now: Heroes and The Office. I've waited a couple weeks to talk about the because 1. I've been busy as shit with college, and 2. I wanted to see a few episodes to get a feel for the direction each show is going this season. Here are my reactions:


I didn't start watching Heroes until its midseason break last December, and I was really glad I got on the bandwagon for the rest of the first season. It was a fantastic live comic book, playing out the origin stories of seemingly normal people with "extraordinary abilities" as all the advertisements said. The first season introduced a great range of characters, but about 2/3 of the way through the season they had all discovered their powers and learned to use them, which took a little of fun out of everything. The "heroes" had all started to meet each other, but the whole mystique of the show was how the characters discovered their powers and dealt with their abilities, not in seeing the whole gang get together to fight evil as a group.

Personally, I loved the intricacies of the plot over the course of the season, especially Malcom McDowell as Mr. Linderman and the backstory of Primatech Paper and HRG. I wanted to see more of that group, and within the first little bit of the premiere, I thought I was getting what I wanted. It seems as though there will be a focus on the "Old Guard" of the Heroes world, the heroes who joined together under Mr. Linderman, Mr. & Mrs. Petrelli, and Mr. Nakamura.

So, things I like about the first couple episodes:

-Most of the heroes being split up and not being in a group dynamic after the events four months prior. Like I said, I think it's more fun to see the individual deal with the ability than the group come together and "fight crime" or some greater evil.

-Seeing what Candice really looks like. I think after the last bit of the first season we needed to know that she was vain and overly self-conscious. I feel like the "bad" characters always have some sort of flaw along the lines of Seven. Syler is avaricious, Mr. Linderman is too proud, Candice is too vain, etc...

-Takeo Kenzei not being the great hero that Hiro believed him to be. It was pretty obvious that would happen, but I still liked it anyways, as well as Hiro's notes to Ando. Their friendship was a great part of the first season.

-Including more of the Bennett family; getting rid of HRG hiding things from his family has been good for the scenes of the whole family or with Mrs. Bennett

-Interaction b/w Mohinder, Parkman, and HRG. They are the only characters still working in conjuction with one another, and it actually makes sense what action they are taking.

-The Hatian. Awesome.

-Issac Mendez's apartment is back as a location. I really loved the artwork that was sprinkled throughout the seaon, be it in the loft or in Linderman's private collection.

-I'm not sure how I feel about the Bourne Identity direction Peter Petrelli's character is taking, but for now I'm intrigued

...and now for things I find a bit strange about the beginning to this chapter:

-Matt Parkman and Mohinder Suresh are living together raising Molly...is nobody seeing the implications of this? Why was this necessary? Couldn't they make it a little less out of the blue?

-Maya and her brother have got to be the worst new characters to show up. For some reason Kring thought the show needed another foreign language hero, so they brought in a twisted, crying-Virgin-Mary-painting character

-Why are two heroes finding love? Couldn't Claire's boyfriend have a NEW power...instead of one that makes it seems like he could be her freaking BROTHER??? Is a Luke/Leia possibility really what we needed there?

-More of Molly's nightmares need to be addressed. I think a newer villain, more powerful than Sylar, is what we need for this season.

-Even though I like that the heroes aren't necessarily in a group, I feel like now they storylines are stretched a little too thin. It was frustrating in the first season not to see a certain hero for a few episodes and pick up their plotline a few episodes later, and that same frustration set in when we didn't see Micah or Niki for two episodes, and then only barely in the third.

-The first season did a great job having a central event (the explosion in NYC) that slowly drew the heroes to each other over the course of the entire season. It solved the problem losing plotlines for a few episodes and made it so we saw all our favorite characters in one episode. Now, however, we don't have an event that will do the same thing. We seem to be following too many individual storylines that will carry through the season.

I've got high hopes for this season...so I'll be looking for a few more good things when new characters get introduced, especially that girl...who was on some little show...Veronica Mars was it?

The Office

I remember watching the original British version of this show and being really upset when I heard there would be a US adaptation of it. The first season struggled, mainly due to the fact that they were following the British version's episodes almost to the t. When they ran out of episodes to copy, and the writers got a chance to play around with the dynamics, the show got infinately better.

The third season was the breakout year for the show, and by the end of the season they had run up the expectations so high that I didn't really think that the start of this season could live up to the hype. However, a couple episodes in, I'm pleasantly surprised with how good the first two episodes are.

I really thought that the fun of the show would be gone with Jim and Pam being together. The whole show had really depended on the sexual tension between those two, and after a few "couple" episodes you'd think it would get kind of bland, but the writers counteracted that little snafu by hilariously writing in a breakup of Dwight and Angela. I still think that Jim & Pam will have to break up soon, maybe with a possible return of Karen, but who knows.

I'm glad that Ryan is still around, if only in a secondary capacity. I can see him coming back as often as Jan did during the first three seasons, which would be good if only for the interaction with Kelli. The whole rest of the office is getting great lines as well. I think my favorite line from the premiere was Kevin's "Are you KIDDING me!" to the camera in an interview, and staffers like Oscar and Creed are getting great bits too.

I hope the show doesn't lean too hard on the Jan/Michael development, because we already went through one breakup with them, we don't need to see it again. Also, I think the whole digital upgrading thing was pretty cool, and that it could make the whole season a little different, with a struggle against modernizing and staying a company of people. That's really the only redeeming quality of Michael: his belief that people don't go out of buisness, that genuine people working for Dunder Mifflin is a good thing.

So who's got the better season opening? I'd say The Office, just b/c Heroes disappointed quite a bit in its first three episodes, but I think ultimately that the latter has more potential to go somewhere better and different. The Office is in its fourth season, already had its rise to prominence, and I don't really see it topping the last season, but who knows...

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