Wednesday, July 25, 2007

HEROES - First impressions

Hmmm....the jury is out, as far as I'm concerned. I'll whittle this down into a list of Good and Bad.

The Good:

There were moments which were mesmeric and pleasant. For example the hallucinatory cut aways of the guy who thinks he can fly. Mainly it's the music and the musing voice-over...it's nice.

I liked Hiro, the Japanese guy who can teleport. I believe in that character, I believe there are plenty of nerds like him around the world, who look like him, sound like him and believe the same zany stuff as him.

I liked some of the no-holes-barred FX...the pokey-outy rib cage on the cheerleader, the sawn of skulls. Pretty grisly, but encouraging that this'll be a post 9pm watershed viewing experience.


The Bad:

Oh where do I start?...I know, the catwalk cast.

Why, oh why, oh why...do US tv shows feel the need to populate their shows with tall, athletic, impossibly glamorous characters with really cool hair, and marvelous bone structure? Every time I see a character like that I feel the urge to turn over and watch something else. Impossibly glamorous people like this don't live in the real world, they live in CelebrityLand...to me, they are not real people, therefore I simply do not care for them.

I mean take a look at the image above; the glamourous webcam hooker-mom, the glamorous brilliant Indian scientist, the glamorous flying doctor, the glamorous high school cheerleader....the glamorous artist guy, his glamorous girlfriend....I really couldn't give a toss about any of them.

On the other hand, the Japanese guy, and the tubby cop...now, I felt they looked more like real people, therefore I was instantly ready to empathise with them and their storylines. It's really not rocket science. Cast real people and you'll get the audience onboard much quicker.

There was some painfully in-yer-face expository dialog in the first few scenes. That's annoying perhaps to other writers who recognise when a conversation is taking place between two characters simply to get the viewing audience up to speed on the story. You know what I mean, the kind of dialog that goes:

Character A: 'But Bob, you know your father always hated you?'

Character B: 'Ah yes, he did, ever since I first discovered he was working on discovering XYZ. He had no time for a little kid like me.'

Character A: 'And that always affected you Bob, didn't it? That your father hated you? So you went to University to prove yourself to him?'

etc etc.

That kind of dialog usually comes in thick and fast near the beginning of a show/film as the writer desperately races to educate the viewer so he'd ready for the plot to begin. But, you know, a good writer does it subtly, a bad writer doesn't.

In Summary:

I'm going to stick with it for now. It is an interesting premise, and I like that most of the budget will end up on the screen and not in the back pockets of a recogniseable celebrity cast.

But...my biggest moan is the insecurity American Tv/film producers have, insisting on catwalk casts. Really, it's okay, the viewing audience can handle non-gorgeous characters. So pssssst...here's a quiet tip for you casting pro's guys:-

...ordinary tv-viewing people like us, actually prefer normal looking people, okay?

4 comments:

mj said...

Now, I think you're being pernickity, Alex. Heroes was brilliant...I understand what you're saying re the eye candy...but much as I liked the tubby policeman and thought here's a good character with depth...real...etc., etc., I thoroughly enjoyed looking at Rufus and Mohinder...Peter is too geeky...and you can't have an ugly cheerleader...agree script was clunky in parts, but thought the whole concept was intriguing...look out for the helix symbol....lots to build on there...it is all going to intertwine more than satisfactorily, I think....do I sound like a nerd now??? On another note...thoroughly enjoyed A Thosand Suns and we will reading more....

Alex Scarrow said...

Hi Mj,

Mj...? Hmmm, do I know you under another name? You sound vaguely familiar.

Anyway, Heroes...I've yet to be won around. There's enough there for me to come back and have another looksee, but I think I'm just tired of the cookie-cutter faces you see in American drama. The main heroic protagonists all look the same.

By contrast UK drama tends to cast people that look like they've walked right out of the real world. I mean one glance of the hideous bunch of characters that make up EastEnders and you'll see what I mean.

mj said...

First of all - apologies for becoming semi-literate at the end of my well-reasoned and erudite comment - I blame the weak Suffolk evening sun and possibly the bottle of Chilean wine...(litre bottle, you see...)...A Thousand Suns was a v good read and I was particularly interested in the changes of voice and point-of-view...as for Eastenders...come on, there isn't a street in the world where everyone is as ugly and unattractive in every way as that lot...and I do wish they'd stop shouting all the time....and no, Alex, we don't know each other (at least, not to my knowledge)..

Jon Baines said...

I myself loved heroes, i was downloading them after they appeared in america so its been about 4 months since i saw it, my only real qualm was the somewhat mediocre ending.

I can't complain about the cast, i for one dont mind looking at Hayden Panettiere in a cheer leaders out fit, what im only human.

Seeing as ive seen the whole first season already i dont know where they can go with it, there are atleast 3 more seasons in the offing and i can only assume it'll be a seperate cast for the next few seasons.