TV

Heroes Might Actually Stop Sucking: The Details

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It’s official: suddenly free Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller will return to Heroes as a consultant. Actually, this was known a while ago, but the real news is that Fuller has a plan for fixing Heroes. A plan! I don’t think Heroes has anything resembling a plan since season 2 at the latest (and that was a pretty shitty plan). Fuller tells Entertainment Weekly‘s Michael Ausiello:

AUSIELLO: Where did Heroes go wrong, in your opinion?
BRYAN FULLER:
It became too dense and fell into certain sci-fi trappings. For
instance, in the “Villains” arc, when you talk about formulas and
catalysts, it takes the face off the drama. And I think the goal for
everybody is to put a face back on the drama. You have to save
something with a face; otherwise you don’t understand what you’re
caring about. I thought the “Villains” arc started out very
interestingly, and then became sort of muddy and dense and I couldn’t
get my hooks into the characters to understand their motivations. I
also started to feel confused about what people’s abilities were. One
of the great things about the first season is that the metaphor for
their abilities was very clear. Those metaphors seem to have gotten
complicated in the past two seasons. I share that concern with
everybody on the writing staff. It’s not like I’m coming in and saying,
“This is what you need to do to fix it!” Everybody knows what needs to
be fixed and everybody is sort of rowing in that direction.

Your work starts with episode 19, yes?
Yes. I’m fortunate to be coming into a very exciting story line. [Former co-exec producers] Jeph [Loeb] and Jesse [Alexander], before they left the show,
set so many great events in motion with the “Fugitives” arc [kicking
off Feb. 2]. It really is a fresh start. All of the characters are back
in their real lives. You see Peter as a paramedic. Claire is looking
for colleges. We get away from the world of formulas and quasi-magic.

Are the “Fugitives” episodes leading up to 19 solid? Yes.
Episodes 14, 15 and 16 are amazing. The whole “Fugitives” arc starts
out very strongly, and then it gets a little dense in the middle in
terms of the mythology. So I came in right at the point where everybody
was realizing, “Oh, we’re getting too dense here and we need to put
faces on stories because there is no face to a formula; there is no
face to saving the world.” So it’s turning this big ship back into a
character stream, and everyone on the writing staff shares that desire.
We need to get back into a character place, because that’s where this
story started: Very clean, superhero metaphors to everyday life. That’s
the path that we’re taking. But it is a big ship so it’s going to take
a little while to turn it.

Any plans to trim the sprawling cast? People
will die. And some will return. Matt’s wife [Janice] comes back. We’ll
find out what happens when you have a superbaby. We’re also going to
tell fewer stories per episode. We’re going to limit it to three or
four with one big one that you can wrap the stories around. We’re
altering the structure of the show so that there’s a very clear A story
that takes up a larger percentage of the show so that that story gets
traction.

All that sounds good, with the possible exception of Matt’s wife. While I had very much wondered where she and Parkman’s baby had disappeared to while he 1) didn’t care and 2) tried to have sex with an underage girl by telling her they did it in the future and while holding a turtle, I wonder if too much stupid shit has happened for that much continuity to matter. Still, I’d much rather them air on the side of continuity than utter incoherence, as they seem to have the entirety of this season.

You know, you guys have been uniformly awesome about catching Heroes‘ insane plot holes and utter contradictions (my current favorite–when the Haitian stopped Hiro and Daphne’s powers during their Germany meeting early this season, and Daphne could apparently walk just fine). Let’s hear yours  in the comments–get us ready for the mid-season finale on Monday.