International Writers Magazine: Two
Views of Heroes from Ruby and Calvin
So what is this new
program travelling faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than
a locomotive to the top of the nations T.V ratings? Is it a bird?
Is it a plane? Is it Jack Bauer in a cape and ill-fitting spandex? No
THE CHEERLEADER: SAVE THE WORLD
Heroes: A Cultural Phenomenon
In an entertainment
industry constantly inundated with this millenniums obsession with
super hero culture its becoming almost impossible for a truly
original idea to stand out in a crowd crammed with Dark Knights,
Web-slingers and Caped Crusaders. However, against all odds, one
such idea has grown into a major success story and is currently
taking over television screens worldwide.
Heroes is the latest science fiction drama series to be imported over
from the United States. Created by Tim Kring, the show focuses on a diverse
group of people, located all around the world, who discover that they
each possess unique superhuman gifts.
Amongst the large cast of characters we have; a male nurse, Peter Petrelli,
who, after dreaming he can fly, discovers he can do so much more, a Japanese
office worker, Hiro, who discovers he can manipulate the space-time continuum,
and a teenage cheerleader who discovers that she is seemingly invincible.
These characters are just to name a few of what seems to be an ever expanding
cast of heroes who, although often situated miles apart, have storylines
that ingeniously interlink them into what will likely make for an immensely
Due to the diverse
selection of characters on offer Heroes quite literally has something
for people of all ages, races and of every social status to relate to.
Each character has a great level of depth and their own involving storylines
that ingeniously weave into the fabric of the overall narrative. The effect
of this diversity is not only down to the programs creative and talented
writers but also down to the incredible cast of actors that feature on
the show. Not one actor is badly cast in their role, regardless of their
time and experience in the industry, no performance is weak in comparison
to its counterparts and only further compliments the involving narrative
of the show.
series was first aired in the U.K on February 19th, 2007 on Sci
Fi UK and received an audience of 579,000 on its premiere night.
The word of its opening success rapidly spread like wild fire and
on July 25th, 2007 it was aired on terrestrial television by BBC
Two where it received an astounding audience of 4.3 million. So
with these figures in mind the key question at hand is; what is
it about Heroes that appeals to such a mass audience?
Well firstly, as I have briefly mentioned already, a key secret
to the phenomenal success of the program is its large and diverse
cast of characters. Characters vary in age, race, class and nationality,
each with their own set of unique traits, motives, emotions and
most importantly their own fascinating special abilities.
Secondly, I feel the programs writing credibility deserves a separate
mention of its own. Each episode further strengthens the narrative, developing
each characters back story and adds new intrigue to the developing plot.
Every single episode finishes on a new twist or cliff hanger that leaves
the audience captivated and eagerly awaiting more.
the show features an astonishing level of special effects that far
surpasses anything currently shown on national and international
network television. Due to the excessive and constantly growing
level of cast members this is a spectacular feat for a program of
any genre or budget and, in conjunction with some spectacular cinematography
all around, makes Heroes a visual treat that leaves its audience
salivating with glee.
Ever since its worldwide premiere Heroes has continued to
grow both in popularity and industry notoriety. Now with its second
series well underway, a third in pre-production, and a spin-off
mini-series titled "Heroes: Origins" expected to air in
the U.S around April 2008, it seems that Heroes is rapidly becoming
a cultural phenonemon that will remain strong for years to come
so far theres not a single cape in site!
© Calvin Hussey November 2007
And more about HEROES
here from Ruby Harrison
A disparate group
of people become first aware of their abilities, and then drawn to a secret
organisation, The Company, designed to control super powered
people and into a race to stop an explosion from destroying New York City.
What is interesting is how each characters life is entwined and in some
way linked to the other superheroes and also the differing ways in which
their powers affect their personal lives. Although at some points it is
necessary to suspend disbelief at these connections, it does well to remind
yourself the series is based around cartoon comic books. The second season
shows the characters after their climatic meeting at Kirby Plaza in New
York and also introduces some new super heroes such as Maya, who produces
a lethal illness, and Alejandro, whose power is the antidote.
people are born to be extraordinary
From its dramatic opening of a total eclipse plunging the world
into darkness to its characters realisation of their modern day
super powers, Heroes has captured the imagination of millions.
The excellent, although unrealistically gorgeous cast, play a genetics
professor who discovers his fathers secret theories about
superpowers are real, an artist that can paint the future through
his drug addiction, an indestructible cheerleader, a fugitive that
cannot be captured and a young Japanese man who can stop time. And
this to name but a few of the fantastically realised, although highly
unbelievable characters creator Tim Kring has come up with. Their
eventual goal? Preventing a catastrophe and ultimately saving mankind.
Its clever stuff and a winning formula for sure.
Rivalling the phenomena of the Heroes themselves is the hugely
positive response the series has had. When premiering in the US it was
the nights most watched program among adults aged 18-49, attracting 14.3
million viewers. It has also been met with critical acclaim by the American
film institute, which named Heroes one of the 10 best TV programs
of the year.
The shows huge popularity has spawned a spin-off, Heroes: Origins,
and as well as this the NBC has taken a multimedia approach to the series.
A comic book on the website which has hidden links to character blogs,
some even on Myspace, with fans being able to add their favourite characters
as friends. There are also websites designed especially for deciphering
the many hidden clues and symbolism within the episodes.
But what is the reason this show, above others, has had such a positive
response? For many it is the intriguing mysteries the script involves,
the good acting, or simply the attractive cheerleader, but others say
their interest runs deeper than that. It could be said that heroes inspires
us to think of the possibilities of the human being, of ourselves. That
perhaps if we simply tried a little bit harder the potential we have to
excel could be realised. Heroes could also be said to remind us
to think and care for others as humanity is so important, and such a big
part of what heroes is all about.
Perhaps people also watch it for something else; hope that something similar
will happen in real life. Are we all wishing for heroes to come and save
© Ruby Harrison November 2007
shl60531 at port.ac.uk
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