Heroes: Season One

Heroes: Season One

****1/2

Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

At first glance Heroes seems like an X-Men rip-off – a comic book series about folk with super powers saving the world. Hurrah!

But there is much more to this intelligent, well-written series than the bad guys getting their just desserts and innocent citizens being saved.

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Creator Tim Kring takes us to the very beginning of his Heroes’ epic journey – when they are just discovering their unique abilities… and freaking out as a result.

His characters are far from one-dimensional superbeings whose only goal and driving force is to be Superman. They all have lives with the same stresses and strains as the rest of us. At first their powers are more of a curse than a blessing.

There is a high school cheerleader who can’t be hurt, no matter how hard she tries, a quirky, comic book geek office worker who can bend space and time, a ruthless politician who can fly and an artist who can paint the future… but only when smacked out of his mind on heroin.

Single mum Niki (Ali Larter) has an Jekyll & Hyde alter ego who keeps killing people, while cop Matt (Greg Grunberg) can read thoughts - including those of his cheating wife.

Viewers get emotionally involved with the characters and the problems affecting them away from their powers, such as family grief, work stress and money worries.

There isn’t a weak link in the cast, who all put in flawless performances. Even the kids, Adair Tishler and Noah Gray-Cabey as Molly and Micah, give a stellar turn.

Gradually, our team slowly accept their powers, which is just as well, as fate is working hard to bring them together to save New York from being blown sky high.

On top of all this, a serial killer seems intent on wiping them all out.

Unlike most comic book romps, the lines between good and evil are often blurred. Take our cheerleader Claire (excellently portrayed by Hayden Panettiere). Her dad, known as HRG after his now iconic horn-rimmed glasses, could be either.

And just because a character seems to be a major one, it doesn’t mean they are invincible. Favourites get bumped off at the most unexpected times – and often in highly unexpected ways.

Heroes manages to cover all the bases. The scripts are tight and engaging, the characterisation in-depth, the acting exemplary and the action and effects more than impressive.

Things can be a little hard to follow at times due to the ever twisting plot and the various jumps through time and space, including numerous flashbacks, but there is a recap at the beginning of each episode to keep you up to date with all the storylines.

The technical side of things is dazzling, with flawless CGI, camerawork and cinematography. It’s as slick as any big-budget flick without relying on effects to compensate for a poor plot.

There’s also buckets of drama and laughs, particularly from un-dynamic duo Hiro and Ando (Masi Oka and James Kyson Lee). When the former discovers he can bend space and time, he drags his sceptical pal along for the ride. The head for the States and their adventures as fish out of water are hilarious. Don’t miss the scenes in Vegas when they use the talent to stop time to full effect in the casinos - and to the fury of a very bamboozled cowboy.

Sci-fi and comic book fans will love the in-jokes and cameos from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee and Star Trek’s George Takei as Hiro’s dad Kaito.

Overall, the show manages to engage and enthral you in equal measure. The only let-down is the rather naff philosophical ponderings on evolution and people’s destiny at the beginning and end of each episode. But when the series checks every other box, it can be easily forgiven. Don’t miss it.

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2007
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Heroes: Season One packshot
A group of people discover they have special abilities – and fate soon draws them together to save the world.
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Read more Heroes: Season One reviews:

Stephen Carty ***1/2

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