11 Responses to “What We All Can Learn From NBC’s Heroes’ Suckitude”


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  1. Dan

    Coincidentally, I just finished watching an episode and thought exactly the same things. My wife is far kinder than I’ll ever be and won’t give up, but I lost hope early last year. Thanks for pinpointing why!

  2. Tom

    My partner and I watched 15 minutes of season 4 and said “It hasn’t changed” and removed Heroes from the TIVO record list, we have not looked back. Fringe is by far better television.

    I will always remember the scene in the first season where Hiro appears on the train. That one scene summed up the potential of the show. Sadly it never lived up to that potential.

  3. I think you’ve missed an important error of the last two seasons (I can’t even bring myself to watch season 4) and a related business lesson:

    Don’t just do it to do it

    It seems that some time after the first season, the writers stopped making decisions based on plot and characterization and started making them based on a “wouldn’t it be cool if” factor. The first season had an amazing plot arch, were every scene moved us intentionally from the opening credits of episode one to the climax of the final episode. There was a thoughtfulness to the writing that reminded me of shows like Lost (which is a whole other can of worms, I know). But in the later season, the writers stopped asking “what made sense” and stated trying to elicit a “woah” response from the audience, which is not always a good response. Characters changed motivations significantly from one episode to another (Syler suddenly gained and then lost his daddy issues). Plot lines were introduced and then dropped within minutes (Mamma P had a sister for exactly one episode, and for no apparent reason). People changed allegiances, not to make things interesting, but to keep us confused (Noah was on a different side each week of season three and it stopped being intriguing). These things may have kept us guessing, but not about what would happen next, as much as what had just happened. They stopped being true to the vision they had laid out because they thought that the “wow factor” was more important. And so, they became an unfortunate conglomeration of flimsy ideas, carelessly taped together, like a kindergarten art project put together by a kid with ADD.

    The Business Lesson: Don’t just do it because it’s cool
    So often, businesses make decisions because something is cool, not because it fits with their strategy. In the tech consulting world, we call this the “shiny things” principal, where people in organizations are like cats, instantly infatuated with new shiny things. This is a problematic way to make decisions because you lose people’s trust when they see the lake of depth and vision that you present. Shiny new technologies can be great, when they move you along on your strategic path, but otherwise they are just the junk food of the business world, making us fat, without doing us any good. Our goals should be the scales on which we weigh our decisions.

  4. avishp

    Dan, is it that your wife is too kind to give in, or is she like me where she desparately keep watching out of a ridiculous fear that it will somehow suddenly get as good as it used to be? I realize how silly that is, especially considering if it were to get good again I could just watch reruns or the DVD when it comes out!

  5. avishp

    Tom, it’s amazing how many people have responded (here, on FB, and via email) saying the exat same thing as you: that you had similar thoughts and hve already given up on the show. Maybe I’m the last poor schmuck still watching…More fool me, I guess.

  6. avishp

    Thanks 20Something!

    Great comments, and thanks for the write up. You are 100% correct – I remember having similar feelings, especially about the flip-flopping character motivations. I really stopped caring wether HRG, Sylar, Mama P, Nathan P, Suresh, an Tracy/Nikki were good or evil. (Ok, stopped caring about anything Ali Larter’s character did a loooong time agao. Every time I get excited because I finally think they have killed her off, she comes back, even less interesting than before).

    There is a funny article at Cracked.com The 5 Most Maddeningly Unresolved TV Plotlines. The first one on the list is how Peter, in season 2, took his Irish (I think) girlfriend to the future, which was kind of apocalyptic, and got separated from her. He made it back to the present, abut never saved her! The article says the writers even admitted to moving on, saying they won’t address it. I think that goes write to your point about the writers stopping asking, “what makes sense.”

    Good business point too. Every movement should have a purpose that fits into a larger business strategy.


  7. Oh man, Peter’s lost girlfriend. What a perfect example. It stopped being about the characters who we might actually care about and started being about whatever the writers got excited about. Seems like that writers room runs on the “throw enough poo at the wall and some of it is bound to stick” philosophy.

  8. avishp

    True. Sadly, very little of the poo is sticking. And now we, the viewers, are left ankle deep in a big steaming pile of poo

  9. It’s better than being left in a nonexistent, post apocalyptic future, I guess. But only marginally…

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