Monday, November 27, 2006

Just for one day

I still haven't been able to stop watching Heroes, but it and Torchwood are both one reason away from being dropped. And one minor point that is not enough on its own is the whole Americacentric thing Heroes has going.

It opens with "Ordinary people across the globe discovered extraordinary abilities..." Sorry, no. I don't care if you call an entirely local tournament the World Series, as far as everyone else is concerned America is not the whole world, and having one powered member of the cast start off in Japan does not qualify as "across the globe", even if half the cast is in Las Vegas and the rest are in New York.


Anonymous said...

Actually, Morhinder started out in India. But your point is still valid.

I've heard a lot of concerns about Heroes over this point and...

- the fact that the one main Black Hero is a gang member who has been in prison (never mind that he's basically a decent guy)
- the one Hispanic character is a drug addict (never mind that he's tried kicking his habit and he only goes back to drugs for a greater good)
- all the women with powers were attractive blondes (in the first few episodes, anyway)
- all the women have physical, more "male" powers (super strength, fast healing), this perpatuating the "unless we make them specially physically strong, women have no business having power" idea that seems to pop-up in so much science-fiction and fantasy.

But comic books in general are guilty of this kind of thing, especially Marvel. How often do they do a story that takes place outside of New York City? Sure, the F4 go to all these different dimensions, Thor goes to Asgard and there's countless space adventures. But when on Earth, how often do they really leave the realm of NYC? See what's going on in Africa or whatnot?

Unless it's a book like Black Panther which takes place IN an African nation, not much if ever.

Hell, even Heroes, until recently, was mostly taking place in New York with occasional side-treks to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Odessa, Texas.

The plot is, at least, operating on a global level. Save the world and all that.

I get the feeling that with a rather famous Brit actor coming onto the cast later in the season as well as Hiro's father entering the picture with the intent of bringing his son home that things are going to become more global as the season progresses.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree on Torchwood, it's pretty much crap no matter how much more I want it to be, but for Heroes I have to disagree. Just to play Devil's Advocate here ...

They are only 9 episodes in. At 40 minutes per episode, we're talking just 6 hours of air time. For a show inventing its own continuity from scratch, with at least 8 plot lines (Hiro, Claire, Mohinder, Isaac, the Petrellis, Niki, Glasses, and Matt) and 20+ named characters, it's not half bad that they've managed to squeeze as much development in as they have. (In fact, I think they are maybe moving a bit too fast. How did Peter figure out that he can use the powers of those around him? It's a possibility that he figured it out, but it's a big leap.)

I like it. I think it's fun.

Marionette said...

Note I specified people with powers. Yes, it's nice that part of the story occurs in India, but has anyone there exhibiuted powers? Has anyone outside the USA apart from Hiro exhibited powers?

LurkerWithout said...

The last couple episodes introduced an Indian kid who had some kind of dreamwalking power...

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I was going to mention the kid in India, but Lurker beat me to it. Maybe there will be some further development involving a wider range of characters from a wider range of places coming into the picture. it would be good to see heroes from Europe, Western Asia, South America and everywhere else.

I see many of the comic book elements coming a mile away in the episodes, but my wife and I are hooked on it.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the child from India, they have referred to a 'Haitian' who may or may not be someone we've seen before.

While I would certainly appreciate more global characters, it's been more diverse than I would have expected from a show aimed primarily at a US audience.

LurkerWithout said...

I believe the Haitian is the black telepath/mind control dude working for Claire's dad...

Also as of last week their were at least two "mental power" female characters. And I'd say both flight and phasing would count as more "physical" powers, both held by male characters...

Marionette said...

Yeah, I think the whole male mental (passive)/female physical (active) idea that's doing the rounds is a non-starter. Photographic memory is hardly a physical ability, flying is entirely physical, and while Cheerleader Girl's power is physical, she almost always uses it in an entirely passive, reactive way. And while Hulk girl is active, it is in a way over which she has no conscious control.

Elliot said...

Mohinders sister was also genetically gifted, her father said her mutation caused her death and started him on his journey of discovery in the first place.

Obviously, an American network show is generally going to be set in the US. Both for fan association and for cost reasons. Heroes was a risky proposition already, an ensemble drama is expensive at the best of times, adding in the special effects and this thing is already very pricey. Start sending cast and crew around the globe and the costs would be astronimical.

I never got the impression the phenomina was at all exclusive to the US. Perhaps there was a greater density there as opposed to India. This might seem odd with the much greater population in India, but medical records and networked files could be the reason he picked the US to start his search. Perhaps some other countries have even greater densities, but language could be a barrier to his research.

Heroes has not claimed to represent all of the worlds mutants, but is focused on what will probably be that world's first super team. It only makes sense that a team would primarily consist of people from the same country. Maybe they can add a Canadian with claws or something.

Derek said...

Ditto on Torchwood.

Captain Jack? Torchwood? How could you go wrong? Apparently by marginalizing the character and changing the organization.

Captain Jack should be larger-than-life (an inadvertent pun given his current Undead status). He should be a take-charge, guns-blazing, fly-by-the-seat-of-anyone's-pants kind of guy. Instead, he's reserved and brood-y and not nearly as charming as he was on Doctor Who.

And this "Torchwood" he works for is... what? Newly disassociated from the government? Yet somehow extremely well-funded? Yet somehow operated by a bunch of incompetent, sex-crazed children?

And that's the other (and final, I promise) thing that's turned me off of the series. Everything is sex, sex, sex. I'm no prude. I'm not saying there shouldn't be sex in the show. Heck, with a show about Captain Jack, that's impossible. But it seems like every scene, every being encountered, every character interaction revolves around sex.

You can almost see the dry-erase board in the writers' office. "Ask yourself: Is there some way we can make this sexier?"

It's artificial. It's sad. And it's boring.

Sorry to rant like that. But I feel so much better now.

S Bates said...

Having not seen Heroes yet, all I can say is that I agree with Derek regarding Torchwood. There is too much emphasis on the sex. Just because it's a post watershed show doesn't mean that everything has to be about, or involve, sex.

However, "Yet somehow extremely well-funded?". Well, if by well-funded you mean providing five people's moderate wages and all the pizza they can eat (at least for the Cardiff branch anyway). I get the impression that most of the hardware they "acquire" by other means.

Although Torchwood isn't brilliant and I have been somewhat disappointed with it, I still find it mildly entertaining and probably the best thing on BBC3 (even if I do watch it on BBC2).

Anonymous said...

America IS the whole world. Now watch it or we'll spread a bit of "freedom" your way.

You've been warned.

Eric TF Bat said...

Not being American, I'm not bothered by the sex in Torchwood. I think it makes sense - especially recent developments with Owen as revealed in the "Telepathic Tosh" episode. I'm surprised at the lack of nudity, actually, but I suppose they have to make it at least conceivable that it will be screened in the US eventually.

And hey, I don't mind the americocentric Heroes either. These two and BSG are the only shows I watch -- all three via BitTorrent since Australia is not big on screening good TV at reasonable times. I think they're all pretty damn good.