I finished watching the first season of Heroes on DVD last weekend and haven’t worked out whether to keep watching it. It had some great ideas and themes, but some horrible execution. Why does Hiro understand different amounts of English every episode? Why does Claire feel pain sometimes and not others? Why would Linderman put a hit out on Petrelli the Elder? Putting those complaints aside, I thought I’d explore the idea of heroism in the series, especially related to certain characters.
It’s no coincidence that his name sounds like hero. He is the most deliberately heroic character in the show. Hiro understands the hero’s journey and recognizes that he is on one. He starts in the mundane world of his cubicle nation, his power is his call to adventure, and he crosses the threshold when he sees the future and decides to save the world. While on the journey, he understands the importance of friends, mentors, and enemies. He even finishes the journey alone like all great heroes. The best part of Hiro’s character though is his insistence on behaving heroically. When given the choice, he always makes the right decision, consciously thinking of what a hero would do. He thinks of the heroes from his childhood for inspiration. In short, he is the perfect model for a Hero Workshop spokesperson.
Peter is the second true hero of the show. His faith in others and kindness label him as a good person, but his willingness to sacrifice himself makes him a hero. When he saves Claire from Sylar at the homecoming he does so without knowing he’ll survive. In fact, he thinks he is going to die, but saves her anyway. He shows this attribute again as the explosion gets closer and closer to happening in New York. He is willing to sacrifice his life to save others. You can’t ask for more from a hero.
No-one else made me think they were heroic. Matt the cop had wildly fluctuating behaviour and intentions. Claire was mostly the damsel in distress. I think she could show signs of heroism, but so far anything brave she has done has been counteracted by the fact that she can’t be injured. Her father seemed to be focused on something honourable in protecting Claire, but he did too many shady things. Nikki and D.L. are automatically disqualified for their general criminal lifestyles. Nathan Petrelli is too focused on himself to be heroic, though he seemed tempted a number of times. Ando shows promise, but he mainly acted against Hiro’s better nature until the end when he started to realise the benefits of being a hero. Isaac acts as a tool for others to manipulate for most of the show. Mohinder spends a lot of time doing nothing much.
As the second season begins I hope the show can concentrate on some more heroic heroes. The characters mentioned heroism a lot during the show, but so few of them really showed anything. I’ll be watching until it becomes another Lost – lost in itself with too many characters.