Friday, March 16, 2007

T.V. on TV: Heroes, The Riches and Andy Barker: P.I.

When the fall season began, no one put much stock in NBC's Heroes. The pilot was dour and slow-moving, following lots of different people through an unwieldy number of storylines. It had pretensions toward grandeur, but too much of it was filled with people moping about having superpowers, as if this were a normal reaction. It had a good action sequence (Claire the indestructible cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere) running into a fire), an interesting twist for a cliffhanger (the guy who thinks he can fly finds out that, actually, his BROTHER can fly) and, in Masi Oka’s Hiro, the only character who seemed at all interested in harnessing his powers to do the world some good. It didn’t help that the writing was often pedestrian and that the show’s cast, while good, couldn’t compare to the similarly huge ensemble on Lost.

But over the course of its first season, Heroes has matured immeasurably. Compared to timeslot companion 24 (which has worked overtime to spark a moribund plot about Russians and nuclear missiles), it looks even better. It’s not great television, by any means, but it’s TV that lets you turn off your brain without making you feel like you’ve wasted an hour of your life -- no easy feat.
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So much more here.

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