Heroes Revisited: Episode 1.1 ‘Genesis’

How has the show held up?

With the recent news that NBC plan to start up Heroes again, Ian Austin and I have decided to sit down and watch the first series of the show, to see how it holds up now we are in the age of superhero films being common place. We’ll discuss and review an episode a week and it will be posted up on Thursdays. There will be rude words involved. Most likely lots of them.

Episode 1.1 “Genesis”

Official Synopsis: Various people around the world discover evidence of real superpowers. Claire Bennet can instantly heal physical injuries to her own body. Isaac Mendez can precognitively paint future events. Hiro Nakamura is able to manipulate time, travel through it, and even teleport. Peter Petrelli has dreams of himself flying in Manhattan. Niki Sanders witnesses a more violent and aggressive personality of herself in mirrors. Mohinder Suresh tries to continue his recently deceased father’s work by finding these people.

Reece: How old is the show now anyway?

Ian: Started September 2006. So… yeah. I think the fact the episode started with a text crawl, followed by ponderous narration, was a bad omen many of us ignored in 2006 because we were desperate for superheroes.

Reece: I was gonna ask you about that text crawl. I really didn’t remember that part!

Ian: I… just have no words. It’s such a weird way to start a TV series. No action, just bam – text crawl. And not even one with words like ‘rebels’ and ‘assaults’ and ‘evil empire.’ It’s weird pseudo-philosophical gibberish about heroes rising. Followed by narration about heroes rising while a guy jumps off a rooftop in a Hipster Jesus pose.

Reece: And that fucking voice over! What are the odds Tim Kring was a fan of 70s comic narration boxes?

From Uncanny Xmen #188, written by Chris Claremont and pencilled by John Romita Jr

From Uncanny Xmen #188, written by Chris Claremont and pencilled by John Romita Jr

Ian: The narration wouldn’t be bad if a bit of life was thrown into it. Like Stan Lee’s ‘I KNOW WORDS’ style, where he threw big words in randomly to wake up readers. But Heroes, from the start, clearly wants to be anything but fun. It’s weird… I have a LOT of issues with Iron Man 3, but the narration there is fun and hip and self-knowing. It has Tony’s voice, so it never feels dull. Heroes, sadly, is stuck with Mohinder, a teacher so boring he makes jokes in class and the kids don’t even pity laugh.

Reece: But then wasn’t that what we were all craving back in 2006? Someone to make a superhero show that you could watch with non comic book fans. Which in 2006 meant serious and no fun at all. I mean its kind of hilarious how bad the dialogue is.

Ian: I think Heroes was trying for a universal experience ala Star Trek, where it transcends the genre. The thing is that Star Trek embraced the genre and the madness and the fun, while at the same time throwing in social commentary. Heroes… has a cheerleader whine about superpowers.

Reece: Shall we try and sum up what happened so people can follow it? Not that anything happened mind. Apart from my rising hatred of everyone in the show.

Ian: Hah. Well, it’s a superhero show where the only character who wants to be a superhero is the one who thinks a suicide leap off a rooftop is the best way to go about it.

We aren’t kidding. Peter thinks this perfectly logical because he saw it in his dreams.

Reece: Except Hiro. Even as a whiny kid he’s more fun than everyone else.

Ian: Hiro… sums up the show completely.

Reece: In what way?

Ian: On the surface he’s a substitute for everyone in the audience who reads comics, and yet if you dig deeper he’s got no depth beyond making geek references. His first superpowered act is teleporting into a women’s bathroom, something which is INCREDIBLY creepy in retrospect.

Reece: The entire show is. Tonally, it’s all over the map. Almost every scene Nicky was in was uncomfortable. I mean I know the show is meant to be ‘grounded’, but having lingering shots on one of the only female characters stripping was just uncomfortable. Also, did they have to make the only working class person be a stripper who superpower makes her act likes she’s on crack?

Between her and Peters creeping on Simone in front of her dying father, it’s really odd.

I just think there’s this other side of me that’s watching my every move. What do you mean- paranoid?

Ian: And that’s not even getting into the later reveal that Ando, Hiro’s best friend, calls Nikki a ‘bitch’ when she asks him for more money.

Reece: You think that was him? If so, Ando was fapping in public in his office. Fuck, how did we watch this show and miss all this first time?

Ian: It was him – they show it in a cutaway later on. So should we move onto… Claire? I feel like we’re both holding back a little to be nice.

Reece: Well, there’s nothing really to talk about with her at the moment. She’s a daddy’s girl who is currently obsessed with not being a weirdo. Which is actually a sort of realistic reaction I think someone in her lifestyle would have. Plus, it’s established she’s a bit of a narcissist.

Is it established how she met her friend Zach? The way he talks about her suicide dive it seems like they’ve been doing it a while. Yet, after that finishes she’s talks like they’ve just met. And-she actually uses her powers!

Ian: The Zach thing…not really. Claire seems like their attempt to do Rogue from X-Men. Except Rogue’s power worked thematically and practically – she kills anyone she touches. Claire just falls over and heals from her wounds. Her power only has a purpose if she’s hurt, so otherwise there’s no way anyone would view her as a weirdo.

Don’t do it Claire-we’re nearly finished I swear!

Reece: I hadn’t thought of her like that. Is that her real accent by the way? Sounds a little fake.

Ian: I don’t think it’s meant to be intentional, but given where the story goes it MIGHT be a subtle hint at her lineage.

Reece: Really? We already know she’s adopted as a baby so how would she pick up her accent from her parents at that age? Anyway, let’s cover how the writers have tried to make Peter sympathetic (I think he’s meant to be the person ‘normal’ folk identify with) by turning his family into absolute assholes.

Ian: Peter comes off the worst. Everything he does comes off as borderline suicidal if you stop to look at it from Nathan’s POV. Even the ending sees Peter basically try committing suicide, unaware Nathan can even fly.

Reece: I actually felt sorry for Nathan. He’s completely justified to act how he is. I mean, Peters this drip who’s been daydreamer all his life, who will pop into his brothers place of work to tell him how he had a dream about flying. Peter’s sort of an asshole himself really. Yet he’s the moral center of the show

Ian: Exactly.

And, weirdly, Nathan’s the most Marvel/DC like character in that he doesn’t yell to everyone that he has a superpower. And talk of an ‘accident’ suggests he’s had a Marvel style origin of sorts.

Reece: Ha, true! I think him and Simone are probably the closest thing we have to actual adults in the show. I thought that Claire’s mother came closest to an actual person though. Everyone else is just running around like a petulant child.

Ian: Except for Micah, who’s using his power quietly and not making a big deal of it.

Reece: What a twist eh? The kids are more adult.

Ian: Let’s wrap this up before we both lose the will to live… the most likeable character for me is Isaac, because he sees how breathtakingly po-faced this is and thinks going cold-turkey is the best way to cure drugs. So he’s an idiot, but trying to be pro-active.

Reece: I think Issac would be my favourite because at least he seems like a mildly normal person (despite the crippling heroin addiction he must have due to him being an artist/Hispanic). But I’m gonna go with Hiro/Claire.

Both of them are slightly annoying, but even despite the whining they are doing something with their powers other than be annoying dicks. Also, their powers looked the best (I was watching on a biggish screen and Claire’s healing still holds up-that dislocated shoulder looked wicked!).

Seriously, you couldn’t tell it was fake.

Also, scenes of superpowers, we get two. One at 22mins in and one at 48 mins in thanks to dodgy green screen.

Yes, I counted.

Ian: Technically we get more, but then I’d have to spoil Season One for the handful of people who haven’t watched it. Visually, I think Heroes looks beautiful. Even now. It’s the writing that lets it down. Like The Avengers. Both versions.

Reece: We can probably loop round to that in a later episode. I don’t know about the flying for the pilot. That looks very dodgy, as do the (what I’m guessing is) dreamlike shots of New York.

Ian: Shots ‘borrowed’ from Spider-Man, I think. Minus the webbing.

Reece: Still, as a pilot, it holds up well. There are lots of places the show can go and despite the moaning, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. I just may be looking forward to the part of the season where Peter gets smacked around the head by Dr Who just a little too much.

Ian: I guess I’d go for 2/5. Writing is pretty thin, special effects vary, but the directing and acting is mostly good. It’s not the actor’s fault that the material isn’t great.

Reece: I’m gonna be more generous and give it a 3/5. It’s not quite at the series’ low point yet and it does quite well for having to set up all these (for now) unconnected story threads.

Ian: NEXT TIME ON HEROES: Hiro DOES THINGS. Peter DRAWS. Claire wears a Cheerleader outfit!

Reece: We get introduced to a cop who can read people’s MINDS! Who SUCKS at it! HIRO realises time travel kind of sucks when you can’t speak English! Peter MOPES some more!

Ian: Annnnnnnd I’m out.

So what did everyone think? Let us know in the comments below. Next week we review episode 1.2, “Don’t Look Back”.

Feel free to join us- bring lots of booze.

Ian Austin is a writer on the internet. He’s written for countless different projects including Reynard City, Death Boy- his own take on the superhero genre, and currently writes OMGLN. He really wants to someday write a DC comic where Blue Beetle and Hawkman team up for space adventures and terrible punnery.

Reece Morris-Jones is sort of starting out in the whole writing on the net and is still feels a little like an impostor. He mostly writes for Nerditis, though there are a few upcoming projects that may bear fruition. Follow him on his blog Braindroppings as he combats first world problems and tells you about eclectic music.

4 responses to “Heroes Revisited: Episode 1.1 ‘Genesis’

  1. Its kind of hard to watch Heroes objectively without having all the wretchedness from later seasons in the back of your mind. I still enjoy Season 1 however.

    • Well thats in part why we are doing this. Its a reexamination of the series with the benefit of hindsight.

      Its true the first series was groundbreaking for its time

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Pingback: YoungSity.com | Uncle Reece – Until I Pass Out·

  3. I liked Heroes and Lost. I blame the writers strike for ruining several good shows that could have continued or ended better. The strike did a lot of damage as I see it.

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