One of the hottest new shows this season is the sci-fi drama Heroes, and (not being one to stay off the bandwagon) it’s one of my favourite shows. For those of you who aren’t already watching, I thought I’d give you a bit of a primer on the show so you might want to give it a try.
The premise is that various characters around the world (but mostly in the US) begin to discover that they have super-human powers. (Think comic-book-heroes plus real-life characteristics minus spandex costumes.) Not only do they have to deal with these abilities, learn to control them, figure out what to do with them, but they also have personal issues (some more serious than others) that make their lives challenging.
As cool as the super-power angle is, the show is also compelling for its fast pace. We viewers are only half-a-step ahead of the characters as they try to piece together what’s going on. There is a conspiracy of some sort, lots of mysterious clues, visions of future disaster, and a terrible killer on the loose. Not only is the story full of twists and surprises, with every episode ending in To Be Continued… (You’ll want to find out what’s next–believe me). All that and a large, eclectic cast of heroes (and villains):
Hiro Nakamura (1st on the left of photo) – Bends space-time (i.e., teleports and can stop time or travel in time). He and his buddy Ando travel from Japan on a mission to save New York from destruction (Hiro saw this happen in the future and came back to stop it), but they’ve been waylaid gambling in Vegas.
Claire Bennet (3rd from right) – Super-fast healing (can even recover from death and autopsy). A high school cheerleader who just wants to be normal, she’s seeking her birth parents to learn about her abilities, but it’s her adopted father who knows a lot more than he’s letting on.
Mr. Bennet – No abilities shown. Claire’s father is obviously involved in a conspiracy relating to the super-humans. It’s unclear what his motives are, but they can’t be that pure, since he has kidnapped some of them, had his super-henchman erase people’s memories, and may be involved in the death of Prof. Chandra Suresh.
Mohinder Suresh (5th from right) – No abilities shown. Mohinder came to New York from India searching for his father Chandra who had been killed while searching for super-humans. In his quest for answers, Mohinder has come across the name Sylar, and has received help from his father’s neighbour Eden (who secretly works for Bennet).
Peter Petrelli (4th from left) – Power mimickry (i.e. can copy others’ special abilities when near them). A health care worker who believes in a larger destiny, he’s already contacted others with abilities, including Hiro who came to him from the future to tell him to “Save the cheerleader; save the world.”
Nathan Petrelli (3rd from left) – Super-sonic flight. Ambitious and driven, Nathan is running for Congress and is embarrassed by his brother Peter. Getting involved with mobster Linderman in Vegas, he was almost captured by Bennet, but flew to safety in the desert (where he met Hiro).
Isaac Mendez (1st from right) – Precognition (i.e. sees the future when high on heroin). He is a painter whose drug-induced visions (hopefully not including the nuclear holocaust painted on his floor) all come true. Also part of a love triangle between his ex-girlfriend Simone and Peter Petrelli, Peter came to him seeking information about his visions.
Niki Sanders (centre of photo) – Super-strong Jekyll/Hyde-style dual persona (actually it’s not totally clear what her abilities really are). Trying to make ends meet for herself and her son, Micah, she works as an internet stripper to pay off debts to Linderman. Reluctant when forced by Linderman to seduce Nathan Petrelli, her alter-ego ended up doing the job. Though she has no memory of it, her alter-ego probably savagely killed two groups of Lindermen’s henchmen and her ex-husband D.L.’s gang as well.
D.L. Hawkins (2nd from left) – Phasing (i.e. can pass into solid objects). He was imprisoned for the murder of his own gang, but escaped (thanks to his special ability) to reunite with Niki and Micah, but learned that Niki (or her alter-ego) was the one who framed him.
Matt Parkman (4th from right) – Mind-reading (i.e. hears other people’s thoughts). His abilities helped him smooth out a rocky marriage, save a little girl, stop a convenience store hold-up, and overhear the FBI describe a savage murderer named Sylar. He was also abducted by Bennet, but got his memory wiped for his troubles.
Writing this post is interesting because I’ve already added information that I only learned this week; and if I read this again next week, I’m sure some things will be wrong or I’ll have new things to add (but I won’t). This show is constantly changing and even though it may sound complicated, Heroes is such a pleasure to watch that you’ll really be able to catch on (and there’s so much story left to go.) Be not afraid of flights or tights! Check out Heroes, Mondays on NBC (5 out of 5).