It's time for a second opinion.
A few readers have taken exception to my reviews of Heroes, citing an ongoing negativity, one I didn't try to remotely hide in my assessment of last night's (AWFUL) episode.
But do all critics feel this way? Well... yes. But Darren Franich of EW.com has penned a unique, uproarious rundown of "Close to Home." He says the installment was "pleasantly inoffensive" and explains why one must look at the show in a new light if one is to enjoy it at all. To wit:
All along, I thought the show was supposed to be a serialized science-fiction mytho-pop thriller, one of those post-Lost shows that hurtles a diverse cast of eccentric characters through a morally ambiguous world filled with long-running mysteries and soap opera played like epic melodrama.
By that criteria, Heroes has become one of the worst shows on TV. The characters have been shorn of all dimensionality and purpose: it’s often unclear why anyone does anything.
Scathing? Yes. Accurate? 100%. But here's how Franich explains a viewer can avoid bashing himself in the skull with a hammer while watching the drama:
Heroes is best enjoyed not as a serialized show, where everything can change at any moment, but rather, as an old-fashioned family drama, where the particulars might change but the character dynamics are always lovingly consistent.
In other words: it's boring and it makes no sense - but at least we know exactly what HRG and Claire will fight about each week! You can read Franich's entire take now. We've excerpted other great passages from it below, as we aim to give readers multiple opinions on each episode...
On family dynamics: Everybody is everybody’s pal on Heroes now – Sylar is the neighborhood delinquent, Samuel Sullivan is the kooky neighbor next door, but no one’s ever really in much danger, except for the Multiplier’s Multiples, who evaporate bloodlessly into thin air if anyone is even a little rude to them.
This isn’t the stuff of great drama, but on a well-oiled episode like last night – which had a couple of good lines, a great guest-star, and the first hint of playful self-awareness we’ve seen in years – Heroes approaches something reasonably compelling. Call it negative boredom.
On Lydia: Lydia the Tatooo Lady epitomizes everything I was just rambling about. She’s not really a main character, but she appears all the time (certainly more than Mohinder or Ando). She never really does anything, but she’s always threatening to do something. If you actually expect her to do anything, you might get frustrated.
On connecting the dots: Hmmm, so Emma is somehow going to be used to kill a whole lot of people? Is this Samuel’s master plan? We haven’t had any hints that Samuel is planning mass homicide, but whatever, the premonition dream has spoken!
Peter Petrelli, attempting in vain to connect the dots of this strange Season 4 plotline: “That compass you have? My tattoo? It’s all connected to the cello!”On guest star Kate Vernon: She is such a great actress that she managed to make the undigestible lumps of dialogue given to Vanessa sound like something out of the Vagina Monologues.
On the asylum storyline: There was a time when Hiro was a hero, Ando was a noble sidekick, and Mohinder wasn’t intentionally annoying, but if you buy the fact that they’ve all become all lobotomized clowns dancing a clownish puppet dance for our amusement, then their idiotic antics will flow right past your brain into the pleasure receptors at the base of your skull.
On clear plot holes: I have no idea how Hiro used his powers of time and space to get Mohinder into the insane asylum, but Plot! Listens! To no one!
On a possible fifth season: Heroes definitely, defiantly IS. It exists. It is a thing. And when you’ve got five new primetime hours to fill [on NBC], existence is a huge advantage over nonexistence. And you know what? It might not be good, but I can confirm that Heroes did indeed exist, last night, for an hour that felt like it lasted for exactly one hour.
Hilarious, great stuff.
The writer also believes the show was being more self-aware than ever last night. Do you think these lines were written/said with a wink to the audience?
"The Sylar thing was a terrible idea. We all admit that.” (HRG to Parkman)
"I’ve had just about enough of your nonsense, Hiro." (Mohinder to Hiro)