My notes, from a column that appeared in Sunday's Beacon Journal, after the jump.
Not long ago, I spent part of a weekend watching three episodes of Lost I had stashed on the DVR. I did so because, with Lost, if you miss one or two episodes, catching up to the plot and the twists therein can be almost impossible. There's not a ‘‘previously on’’ long enough to encompass everything that series can shove into a reasonably revealing episode.
More recently I sat down with the season finale of Heroes, which airs at 9 [tonight] NBC. I wondered whether I could keep up because I had dropped the show from regular viewing a few episodes into the current season. Maybe I had missed too many complications.
I worried too much. The fate of the world was still in question. The show still loved double-crosses. And shape shifting to the max. Allusions to the burdens of superpowers. Pretentious voiceover. Milo Ventimiglia still acting with one highly arched eyebrow.
In other words, the show is not nearly as textured or compelling as Lost. I am happy to have saved about 15 hours of TV time by skipping the middle of the season.
Sure, Heroes has its moments, and the finale starts off reasonably well, and another season is expected. (Monday's season finale ends with the opening of another narrative arc.) According to Forbes.com, Heroes is also NBC's biggest prime-time moneymaker, although that might change.
‘‘The high-concept sci-fi series has shed viewers and buzz in recent years,’’ says the business site. ‘‘Thanks to the performance of years past, however, the price tag for the male-skewing show remains costly.’’
Still, Forbes.com added, ‘‘expect it to fall the way the show's status has.’’
And that's where we get to the problem. After a dazzling first season marred only by an unfortunate first-season finale, Heroes stumbled in its second go-round, introducing uninteresting characters and fumbling with many of the folks from the first season. A strike-shortened season made the mistakes all the more glaring.
It was supposed to be better in the current, third season, only it wasn't. Then, as the season progressed, there was talk that the return of producer Bryan Fuller, who had left Heroes in other hands to focus on Pushing Daisies, would lead to a creative resurgence.
But by the time he was back, I was gone. In fact, last fall, I wondered which show was more stupid, Heroes or the revamped Knight Rider. I admitted that Knight Rider was more stupid -- and unapologetic about it -- but that Heroes was more embarrassing. It didn't want to be stupid. But even in the season finale, it is.