Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Heroes - Season 4

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: The Sylar/Parkman storyline
Cons: Pretty much everything else
The Bottom Line:
This season struggles
How the mighty have fallen
Nothing to see here

The Descent Concludes

Yes, I was the one person who kept watching Heroes as its decent continued in season four.  No, I'm still not completely sure why I continued.  There were moments of great storytelling here, but for the most part it was an overdone mess.

Once again, season four opens with our characters trying to live normal lives.  Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) is working as a paramedic.  Claire (Hayden Panettiere) is starting her freshman year of college.  Hiro (Masi Oka) is running his father's company with a little bit of hero work on the side.

Of course, if things stayed that way, there would be no show.  Hiro quickly realizes that he is very sick, and every time he uses his powers, he is that much closer to dying.  Claire's roommate dies not too long after they've met.

The real danger comes from a carnival, however.  The carnival is populated with people with powers, and most of them see it as a place where they can be themselves without being ostracized by normal people. However, Samuel Sullivan (Robert Knepper), their leader, has a sinister plan all his own, and he needs everyone with powers to accomplish it.

Meanwhile, the most interested storyline of the season involves Sylar (Zachary Quinto).  His body has been forced to think he is the late Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar), but "Nathan" is beginning to suspect that something is very wrong with himself.  Meanwhile, Sylar's personality is haunting Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) who used his mind shifting ability to create the fake Nathan.  Will Sylar get his body back?  Will he drive Matt crazy in the process?

I must confess that I watched this season more out of morbid curiosity and habit than I did because I was being entertained.  Each episode seemed to stretch a little story to fill the entire episode.  There were complete episodes that not only didn't seem to advance anything, but also didn't seem to tie in to anything either.  It was almost like the writers didn't really know what to do, so they just churned something out.  What little storylines we did have were pretty predictable, too.  I will say the climax this year was better than some of their others have been, but not by too much.

And I haven't even gotten into Tracy's (Ali Lanter) stupid story lines, the time travel episodes that were pretty much pointless and confusing (yet again), and new character Emma (Deanne Bray).  Emma is a deaf woman who's power is to see the sound that music is making.  Uh huh.  Yes, we do find out there is more to her power in the second half of the season, but by then I pretty much didn't care about her at all.

The only thing worth watching this season for is the Sylar dynamic, especially his scenes with Parkman.  As always, Zachary Quinto is an amazing actor, and he nails those scenes.  Greg Grunberg really steps up his game in those scenes as well.  If the entire season could have focused on them, I would have loved it.  As it was, they didn't explore the dual personalities in Matt's head nearly as much as they could have.  Even so, watching fake Nathan slowly figuring out what was really happening was pretty good as well.

I'm laying the fault of this season clearly on the writers.  The actors do the best job they have with the mess of material they are given.  There are some pretty fine performances here.  I just wish the material were up to the actors.  The special effects continue to be top notch as well.

Depending on how you count, there were either nineteen hour long episodes or eighteen episodes, with the first being a double long episodes.  Either way, you get all the episodes here in wide screen and full surround.  The discs also contain four commentaries, deleted scenes, and several featurettes.

The last episode aired in February, but the show wasn't canceled until May.  That means the last few minutes of the series finale set up what would have been the next story arc and leave us with a "cliffhanger."  I put that in quotes because I was very ho hum about it.  It's something they've done before, actually, just not quite this dramatically.  Either I was so bored with the show by that point or it was poor recycling, but I can't bring myself to care about the fact that I will never find out what happens next.

Heroes started out with such promise.  It's sad to see it devolved to this mess before it was done.  Do yourself a favor and skip season four.


  1. Well said and concluded ! Except I'd really love to see season 5 or some kind of epilogue ..

    1. I don't know. Considering how far this show had fallen, I worry what an epilogue would do to it.