Just a reminder: Heroes returns on Monday night. You’re probably not nearly as stoked at this event as I am.
Sunday afternoon I popped in the first season of Alias on DVD – I was a slavering fanboy of the series but haven’t watched the original episodes in quite a while. I’m glad I did, because the five season arc of the show serves as an excellent example to any television program that uses the same type of episodic formula – like Heroes, Lost, and the like.
What made Alias so appealing was the characters and the relationships between them. At its base, it was a chick show on the level of Grey’s Anatomy. Granted, you had the secret agent stuff, sure, with all the occult conspiracy Rambaldi business, but it was just the excuse for everyone to be on screen. What really made me tune in week after week was brilliant casting, excellent performances, and relationships as complicated as any soap opera.
Problem was, after a few seasons, the writers started getting lazy and the show started to become about the secret agent occult stuff, which was pretty thin to begin with. Characters got lost, relationship histories were forgotten, and the less we say about the abysmal fifth and final season, the better. And if you look closely and squint, this is exactly what happened to Lost. Whatever the mystery behind the island is going to be secondary to the characters we watch – if you remember the first season, very little of the hows and whys of the island were revealed. Frankly, we didn’t care. We were too caught up in Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Sayid. We were too caught up in the characters, as we should have been. But now the show is all about the island’s mysteries, which will no doubt once they are revealed turn out to be pretty thin and lame and in a few years we all will be wondering what was such a big deal about the show in the first place.
My point to all of this? I hope to god that the crew behind Heroes is taking notes. Don’t make it about the powers. Make it about the characters, and we’ll be tuning in for years.