23 Shows You Should Be Watching: No. 18, Heroes

Synopsis: Everyday, normal folks all over the world are suddenly finding themselves imbued with amazing powers. It’s nothing that us comic-book geeks haven’t seen several hundred times, but for the rest of y’all, it’s brand-spankin’-new.
Why You Should Watch: I’ll spare you the whole treatise on how comic book fans have been on to something all along because humanity’s truest, most resonant tales are those of people empowered to mythological proportions (Gilgamesh, Achilles, Superman, Anna Nicole’s rack). Heroes works because there’s not a single costume to be found anywhere, because the person, not the power, is at the heart of this series. Again, this kind of street-level characterization of godlike beings is the kind of thing that the X-Men was doing back in 1973, but hey–whatever works to get the rest of the world to dig on comic-style stuff.
Key Scene: Every revelation of powers has been a good one, particularly those that misdirect–we think Peter Petrelli can fly, but it turns out he’s only leeching off the powers of his brother, who can. And the real-world use of superpowers is dead-on–who wouldn’t use invisibility to swipe a purse or knock over a jackass or two? My personal favorite, though, involves Hiro the merry time-stopping Japanese guy. Trying to save his beloved from having her skull opened like a can-opener, he disappears from a diner, leaving his friend Ando sitting there alone. And then, Ando walks over to a wall of pictures and sees Hiro in one of them, in a picture taken six months before.
Key Quote: “Save the cheerleader, save the world.” It’s all there–apocalypse and goofiness, destiny and tongue-in-cheekiness.
Fun Fact: NBC is going all-out on promoting Heroes, from running free episodes to publishing a graphic novel to putting together a video game to…jeez, who knows. If you’ve got more time than I do, though, you could get seriously lost in the NBC Heroes mini-site.

Jay

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