Akie and I faced off about the guiltily popular show in this week’s Perpetual Post– read his side of the story here.
My significant other is working and putting himself through school, which means that for ten months out of the year, he is madly busy. However, during these last six weeks, he found himself working only part-time (thanks, economy!) during his summer break. It was the perfect time for us to have lazy, lay-about weekends together. It was the perfect time for him to experiment with facial hair and practice napping on the couch with the dog. It was the perfect time for us to discover Heroes.
You see, now that we lack cable (thanks, economy!) but have Instant Netflix (it beams right into your home! You don’t even have to put on pants to go to the mailbox!) I’ve discovered that I really like watching television series in lieu of movies. You can watch them in bite-sized increments, so if you have only 40 minutes to kill, you watch one episode; if you have 4 hours to waste, you watch more. It’s easy to get hooked on a series and just as easy to forget about it and walk away when it’s over. Plus if you’re lucky, they’re still making new seasons of it, so you have something to look forward to. In this manner over the last few months we’ve put away every available season of Weeds, Mad Men, and Dexter, all with sexy results.
Having exhausted many of the shows that premium channels like HBO and Showtime have to offer (since I’m too much of a delicate flower to try Oz), it seemed only natural for us to move on to the lower-budget, commercial-break-riddled joys of basic cable shows.
When considering what to watch next, I toyed briefly with the idea of Lost, but I’d heard one too many horror stories of people who sat down to “just watch the beginning” of Lost. They tended to disappear for weeks at a time and reemerge pale, pudgy and pretentious. If I’m ever put on six months of bed rest, I will seek the abyss that will at that point be thirty seasons of Lost. This summer I was in the mood for much lighter fare. Heroes it was!
Now, at this point Heroes has been on for a few years, and is old news for most. I had also heard over and over that The First Season of Heroes Was Good but After That it Really Went Downhill. So I figured we’d watch Season 1 for a couple of weeks and then move on to something else.
In the beginning things went according to plan. The premise of the show was not particularly original, but it was fairly well-executed, and the many sub-plots drew us in. It was also fun to watch celebrities who have since become household names in the early stages of their careers. Plus there was time-travel, sexy people and super-powers. It was perfect summer junk TV!
But by the time the end of Season 1 rolled around, we couldn’t resist. Season 2 was right there in our queue! Thanks to the writer’s strike that had been going on at the time, it was only about ten episodes long! Maybe it wasn’t as bad as everyone said! After all, it had all the same characters, even if it did add some new annoying ones. And it was right there in our queue! We succumbed.
I stopped telling everyone I was still watching Heroes. Maybe it’s because I was ashamed that I had moved on to The Not As Good Season. The ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ Season of Heroes. And all right, all right, so Season 2 was not that good. It was still fun! Superheroes still flew around and time-traveled and ranted about saving the world! Sylar still went back and forth between thinking he was an irrevocably evil and a misunderstood soul who could change. Claire’s father continued being not quite a good guy but not quite a bad guy and saying, “I love you, Claire-Bear” every nine minutes because he thought he was about to die. Milo Ventimiglia continued to talk out of one side of his mouth like a blowfish after a stroke. The universe of Heroes was more or less unchanged. A little less well-written, a little more formulaic, but still—pure serial entertainment!
And Season 3? Hell yes, we sat there and watched all of Season 3 with the same attention we’d given to Seasons 1 & 2. And it was more of the same, just a little more not as good! Still not really living up to the promises made in Season 1; a bit more farfetched and still a little less well-written than either of the previous seasons, it was still a fun television experience.
I’m not going to come out and say that we shouldn’t expect quality in our shows. Of course we should. But is every series a Mad Men? Does every show have to be top-shelf? Can’t we have some fun with a guilty-pleasure series once in awhile? Everyone claimed they stopped watching Heroes after Season 1, and I’m here to tell you, I think everyone lied.