With its 2006 debut on NBC, Heroes hooked viewers with its “save the cheerleader, save the world” mantra.
This sci-fi drama follows an eclectic group as they discover that they are genetically different from other people. Although it seemed like a rip-off of X-Men at first glance, the show proved able to stand on its own.
Season one established characters and familiarized the audience with the conflicts and storylines without sacrificing entertainment value. The driving theme of “save the cheerleader, save the world” fueled the season, leading viewers to wonder exactly what it meant.
Season one introduced Isaac (Santiago Cabrera), a man who paints the future; Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), a flying man; Nikki (Ali Larter), a modern day Jekyll and Hyde; Hiro (Masi Oka), a time-traveler; Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), a man who can absorb others’ abilities; Claire (Hayden Panettiere), an indestructible cheerleader; Noah (Jack Coleman), a man who works for a mysterious company that tracks the gifted ones; Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a geneticist; and Sylar (Zachart Quinto), a watchmaker-turned-killer.
In the end of the season, saving the cheerleader meant that Claire – the only one who wouldn’t burn up – would be able to shoot Peter if he, losing control of his power, became a human nuclear bomb that would destroy New York City.
The season ended with a cliffhanger that strategically left viewers aching for the series’ return.
Season two began with Hiro in 1671 Japan. His character proved static, for he remained in this setting for too long. The pacing of the season was several gears slower than the previous one; it lacked the quick action found in every episode of the first season.
The second installment seemed promising, opening with Peter waking up in a cargo container in Ireland with no memory. However, just as it took Hiro the better part of the season to finally leave Japan, it took just as long for the loose ends of season one – namely Peter’s predicament – to wrap up.
Aside from the snail-crawl pace, a slew of seemingly useless characters were introduced, most of which had no purpose except to further develop the established characters.
Despite the flaws in pacing and plot, the season wasn’t entirely disappointing. There were a few good plot twists. If Peter’s amnesia plotline had been sped up a bit it would have been better, but it was acceptable (though mediocre) as it was done.
The ending of the season was abrupt and rough, but that can be attributed to the writers’ strike. The sophomore season of Heroes can be chalked up to one of experimentation and setbacks. Hopefully, the third season will be an improvement, more reminiscent of the first.