I miss the first season of Heroes.
It was geek TV made mainstream and I had fun talking to my fellow geek friends about it AND my “real world” folks at the office. We were all wondering the same things about mysterious paintings and who this “Sylar” guy was. The story telling elements were simple – and the gimmicks made people happy: future Hiro, cheerleader teen agnst, dirty politics, etc.
Then the show just went wrong and kept going wrong. It tried to be too smart and overcomplicate a simple formula that sold in the first season.
So how can they fix it?
Use a risky cliche to set the series right again. When Dallas wrote itself into a corner by killing off a major character, the character (Bobby) returned the next season claiming it was all a dream. Last season, Desperate Housewives jumped about five years into the future to create a fresh start for the series.
J.J. Abrams cleaned up Star Trek by shifting the time line.
Fringe has started season two in a parallel dimension!
Who cares if it’s cliche? JUST DO IT. Clean up the mess of the past two years and create a new mystery for watcher to follow. Here are step by step instructions for the writers and NBC.
Stop production of your current episode. Rewrite the episode to focus on Hiro’s mortality and have him realize he is about to die. At the “last moment” have Future Hiro from season 1 appear. Future Hiro also seems on the verge of death and he explains that he used almost all his remaining energy to not only jump through time – but also through alternate time lines. Future Hiro explains that he and present day Hiro must both go back in time to change where everything went “terribly wrong.” Keep this element purposely vague. Combined they can go back and fix it. With an emotional scene – the two of them disappear and the screen turns white. End of episode.
Next episode: New York City, Present Day… VOLUME SIX: REVISION. One at a time you start showing the core Heroes team from season 1, but you learn (through conversations) that the events of the shooting at the beginning of season 2 never happened. You now have mysterious elements to play with and set up:
-If the time line shifted again, who is still alive and in what direction did their lives go in the past two years? RE-INTRODUCE your favorite characters without the baggage of bad writing from the past. Is HRG’s family together? Is Suresh still researching the DNA mystery? Etc.
–WHAT HAPPENED TO HIRO? Establish that after the final battle in the square in NYC (end of season 1) Hiro disappeared. Where did he go? NOTE: You can bring Hiro’s dad back as someone looking into this. George as a guest star = AWESOME.
–WHAT WAS THE ELEMENT/SOURCE OF EVIL THAT CAUSED THE TIMELINE TO GO SO WRONG? Was it something Papa Patrelli did once he secured time travel powers at some point? Was it someone else? Was it Sylar surviving from the future causing problems in the past with powers acquired by killing Hiro in the alternate time line?
Plot out the story and FOLLOW IT. Get back to the imporant and fun mysteries that were set up in the beginning:
-WHY DID THE ECLIPSE START ACTIVATING HEROES POWERS?
-WHERE DID THE POWERS COME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE?
-RE-DEDICATE SURESH TO SOLVING THESE MYSTERIES AGAIN FOR THE RIGHT REASON (He is your “Xander” – the normal human of virtue among the super powers. Keep him normal this time.)
Use this idea and advertise that the show runners “listened to the fans.” Tell the story of how the current story line was solved by a fan on the Internet. A grass roots solution for the show will help the fans see that there is a true fresh start for Heroes instead of the “same ol’ same ol'”. This will give the show a better shot at the ratings. The Internet can word of mouth will get it there.
Spread the word and argue the idea – you never know. Things like this work from time to time.
Story concept (c) 2009 Tom Croom