Monday, September 03, 2007

Heroes on DVD

Happy Labor Day.

I bought the Heroes Season One DVD set on Friday. Watched them all weekend. I haven't watched all the commentaries yet, but TV episode commentaries aren't always that interesting. Usually, I'm looking for further insight into story decisions and lots of times, the commentaries are more along the lines of "We shot this in downtown L.A. at three A.M. I think it really looks like New York."

Anyway, a few observations:

  • The deleted scenes are mostly useless, but in at least one instance, they illuminate something that didn't make sense from the final aired episode. In the early parts of season one, there was a scene where StripperHulk drives a long way (after burying a couple of bodies in the desert) to visit D.L.'s mother. In the scene, we learn what crime D.L. has been accused of (and begin to suspect that it was really StripperHulk who committed it). But the scene seems to be pointless. Niki walks in the door, has a three-minute conversation, then says, "I want you out of Micah's life." What was the point of visiting, then? The deleted scenes give the answer; a deleted subplot about the grandmother calling Child Protective Services, trying to have Niki declared unfit, which was what prompted the visit. The scene couldn't be cut entirely, because it had too much necessary exposition about D.L. and Niki, but they probably had too little time or money to write and shoot a new scene which did the same thing, so we ended up with this weird pointless little episode.
  • I still don't like the "Hiro's father" sub-plot. It really seems tacked on and made up as they went. They refer to the "Takezo Kensei" stories as early as episode one (I think), but the idea that Hiro's dad is super-rich just sticks in my craw. It undercuts the everyman appeal that Hiro had at the beginning, and George Takei, beloved as he is by fans, just doesn't have the acting chops of the rest of the cast. I wonder about his powers, too. From the training montage with Hiro, it appears to be a super-teaching ability, or else some sort of time-dilation effect (like Hiro's space-time warping abilities) that allows him to compress a lot of action into a relatively short span of real time. Or else Hiro really did learn to be a sword master in a few hours. I don't know; the writing on that storyline seemed to veer wildly toward the end. For instance, the scene where Hiro reverses time to make a bullet fly back into a gun, only the momentum of the bullet flying backwards knocks the gun out of the girl's hand. What the hell?
  • Peter has a lot of abilities that he doesn't know about. We know that his mother and father had powers, and Mister Deveaux (Simone's father) as well, but he hasn't exhibited them (although I wonder if Peter's prophetic dreams don't come from Deveaux, since two of the dreams are the only scenes where Deveaux plays a major role). He also met Eden early in the season, but has never used her "command voice" ability. And he's only exhibited Sylar's TK, not any of Sylar's other abilities, like freezing or melting stuff or (especially) super-hearing. That last one should really have manifested in the final episodes.
  • I know some folks were upset that they did that hokey last shot in "Volume One" of Heroes, showing the bloody trail where a survived Sylar has crawled into the sewers after being killed. It seemed like a crass attempt to keep Sylar alive for the ratings next season; the earlier scene of his death made it seem definitive, after all, and they had already teased next season's Big Bad (the man Molly is scared of). But watching the season over again, and knowing that we only saw Sylar exhibit a fraction of the powers he had stolen, I wonder if resurrection is one of them. I say this because Sylar's death at the end of the season is not the only time we saw him die. He also died while in custody at Primatech Paper, then revived and killed the doctor preparing his body for shipping. So that ending shot was actually justified by events earlier in the season. Having said that, I'm disappointed; I've got Sylar-fatigue.
  • Wow, did they pimp the hell out of that Nissan Versa or what? They mention it by name in several episodes, and every graphic novel chapter on the website still bears a blue Nissan Versa ad on the first page.
  • I'm disappointed by the slim bundle of extras in the boxed set, although I guess I should be grateful they provided anything.
I'm really looking forward to the start of season two on September 24. And in the weeks before the season starts, I'll be watching the online "documentaries" about Takezo Kensei, the samurai that Hiro idolizes and whose sword he stole. That just happens to be the lone samurai Hiro runs into at the very end of season one, so Kensei will obviously play a major role in season two. The artwork of Kensei on the Yamagato Fellowship site shows him with a soul patch much like the one Future Hiro sported, so this may be where Hiro transforms totally into the badass we know he will be (although he'll obviously not be so much the dark badass, since Ando didn't die).

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