Can Heroes win back my love?

I didn’t write about Heroes much (at all) last season, and for good reason.  After a brilliant debut, the second season pretty much redefined “letdown”.  You know this, the fans know this, and even creator Tim Kring knows this.  So the show’s third volume – “Villains”, which debuted with two episodes last night – is crucial to the success of the third season and the show’s future.

It’s going to take some time for me to really immerse myself back into the world of Heroes again, but so far so good.  The balance between action and dramadraction – was just about right.  Seeing as the last new episode aired about 10 months ago, I found it surprisingly easy to pick up the show’s various storylines.  That probably also has to do with some of the lamer ones being done or forgotten entirely.

So let’s start with the positive – adding new villains to the mix is a good idea.  I loves me some Sylar, but without the element of surprise or mystery he enjoyed in the first season, he doesn’t seem quite as malevolent.  The new baddies who busted out of Primatech’s holding cells seem like a particularly amoral and violent bunch, as evidenced by their murderous protest over high gas prices.  The heroism of the show’s main characters only works convincingly when contrasted against ultimate evil, and right now Sylar doesn’t cut it anymore.

And as I mentioned earlier, there are good doses of action to go along with the more slowly developing parts.  And let’s face it – the fun in this show has nothing to do with seeing if the heroes get to save the world.  It’s frigging NBC, you know the world will not blow up on this show (not for long anyway).  So that whole conceit is a non-starter.  No, the fun part of the show is watching one set of freaky people fight the other set of freaky people.  And last night they sure got their freak on.

Even Mohinder got into the act, when he very wisely injected himself with an experimental serum designed to throw his adrenal gland into overdrive and get some powers of his own.  And true to form, it appears to be backfiring nicely, so it looks like we’ll get to see the modern equivalent of Brundlefly.  Apparently the power to get a clue will continue to elude poor Mohinder

Most importantly, it looks as if many of the main characters will be used to their full potential again.  Hiro is back in the present and is already mixing it up, and Peter seems to have found more constructive uses of his time than chasing after distressed Irish barmaids.  And even Noah Bennet is back in action after his release from Primatech.

There were only a few sour notes last night, in fact.  I know a lot of people have the hots for Ali Larter, but she really is a lousy actress and adds little to the show.  But if they have to keep her around it’s good to see they may have ditched the “Jikki” premise and given her a whole new character.  And I wasn’t entirely pleased to see the return of Maya, one half of the Weepy Latin Twins combo of season 2.  But even her tendency toward whininess was curbed somewhat by her horrible taste in men.

There are a ton of other points I could get into, but this really isn’t meant to be as much of a review/summary as it is a list of impressions. So all this is to say that I was obviously interested enough in Heroes – despite last year – to watch the first two episodes.  And while it’s still very early in the game, the signs of a turnaround for the show are present.  Whether or not the show can win back my love remains to be seen, but we’ll at least continue seeing each other for awhile longer.

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