Sunday, September 23, 2007

Heroes All

On Friday, I finished watching the first season of HEROES. My viewing encompassed a startling array of media. I started watching episodes in real-time on HDTV. I fell behind, and started recording episodes on the DVR in hi-def. Those took up a lot of room, so I started recording the episodes on DVD, using the one-hour timer on the DVD recorder. The episodes looked great on playback; but unfortunately, each episode ran a little more than one hour. Result: the ends of the episodes were clipped off. For a show that often put startling twists into the last few seconds, that was a fatal flaw. So I downloaded the last seven episodes from iTunes (quickly, before NBC pulls its programming from iTunes) and downloaded them onto my iPod. I watched episodes both going to and coming from Japan; and watched others by hooking up the iPod to various TVs in the house.

Today, I bought the DVD set at Costco, so I can avoid all the hassles (and so that Amy can catch up on the series).

Is the series worth all this? Yes. This is the type of series that was practically made for me. It's a collaboration between a show creator (Tim Kring) who knew little about comics, and other creative folks (such as comics/TV writer Jeph Loeb) who are steeped in comics. There were so many wonderful touches -- the artwork by Seattle native comics artist Tim Sale (Isaac's art) and DAREDEVIL/ALIAS artist Alex Maleev (for another character's art -- I won't give it away); the cameo by Stan Lee as a bus driver; the use of genre veterans George Takei, Richard Roundtree, Malcolm McDowell, and Eric Roberts; Kirby Plaza (named after the King of Comics, Jack Kirby); and most of all, otaku hero Hiro Nakamura (who compares his time-space teleportation powers to the "Days of Future Past" storyline in X-MEN) and his Sancho Panza, Ando. (The actor who plays Hiro, Masi Oka, truly deserved the Emmy he was nominated for but didn't get for the episode FIVE YEARS GONE, in which he portrays both his optimistic current self and his hard-bitten, corroded possible future self.)

Further, the series managed to be both complex (weaving the characters and plotlines together in often startling ways) and easy to follow. Kudos to the producers for setting up several mini-arcs that come to definite resolutions during the season, rather than simply stringing out endless mysteries without resolving them.

One aspect of the show, however, that sometimes took me out of the story was the use of familiar locations. A scene supposedly set on a Japanese street was actually filmed at Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Plaza in LA's Little Tokyo. (The space shuttle sculpture was a dead giveaway.) And what was supposed to be a Texas airport lobby in one episode was plainly the lobby of the Long Beach Convention Center -- evident from its unique fish-scale wall and swirling-ocean carpeting. One of the perils of living in LA: recognizing locations.

1 comment:

Donald Burr of Borg said...

Ha! I *thought* I recognized that "airport lobby" scene. I remember walking around AX with a vague sense of deja vu...