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In which I am a "Heroes" fangirl

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Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:00 am

From am a fangirl. I don't usually just watch television, channel surfing. If I watch shows, it's religiously and obsessively. My last obsession was "Veronica Mars," which had an excellent first two seasons and a bordering-on-awful final season. I was very disappointed in the final season and its cancellation, but glad that none of my favorite characters were killed.

Tangent: My favorite characters in nearly every show I've watched tend to be killed or at least maimed. This has gone to ridiculous lengths, to the point that I once mentioned that a character in "Fullmetal Alchemist" was starting to grow on me, and he was killed less than 30 seconds later. This extends to books as well - Potter fans, I am so, so sorry.

Anyway, my current obsession in "Heroes," and so far, only two of my favorite characters have been offed (well, technically three, but the last was due to old age, so ...), which makes me happy. Despite my love for the show, though, this new season seemed to take a while to get into the swing of things. If not for the Japan and New Orleans storylines, I might have lost interest, thus saving many characters from death and/or maiming.

However, unlike "Veronica Mars," where the CW and the show's writers and producers were seemingly oblivious to its sucktastic doom, "Heroes" producer Tim Kring was all too aware that the season got off to a slow start, and called in this apology from the picket lines to fans, via Entertainment Weekly (behind the cut, because of spoilers):

THE PACE IS TOO SLOW ''We assumed the audience wanted season 1 — a buildup of intrigue about these characters and the discovery of their powers. We taught [them] to expect a certain kind of storytelling. They wanted adrenaline. We made a mistake.''

THE WORLD-SAVING STAKES SHOULD HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED SOONER The premonition of nuclear apocalypse created a larger context that unified every story line last season. Kring now sees that Volume 2 (the first 11 episodes of season 2) would have been better served if Peter's vision of viral Armageddon had appeared in the season premiere rather than episode 7. ''We took too long to get to the big-picture story,'' he says.

THE ROOKIES DIDN'T GREET THEMSELVES PROPERLY New Heroes Monica (Dana Davis), Maya (Dania Ramirez), and Alejandro (Shalim Ortiz) ''shouldn't have been introduced in separate story lines that felt unattached to the show. The way we introduced Elle (Kristen Bell) — by weaving her in via Peter's story line — is a more logical way to bring new characters into the show.'' (That said, Kring says a few newbies won't make it beyond this second volume, which wraps Dec. 3.)

HIRO WAS IN JAPAN WAY TOO LONG Hiro's (Masi Oka) time-bending adventure in 17th-century Japan — where he mentored samurai hero Takezo Kensei (David Anders) — finally came to an end on Nov. 5. But Kring says it ''should have [lasted] three episodes. We didn't give the audience enough story to justify the time we allotted it.''

YOUNG LOVE STINKS Kring regrets sticking Claire (Hayden Panettiere) with a super-dud boyfriend and forcing Hiro to moon over a cutesy princess. ''I've seen more convincing romances on TV,'' he admits. ''In retrospect, I don't think romance is a natural fit for us.''

I totally disagree that Hiro was in Japan too long. I thought that storyline was fun, and Hiro and Yaeko were totally cute together.

However, the other points are pretty much true. I think Maya and Alejandro has been kind of a rip-off of Simon and River Tam of "Firefly" (and I'm sorry about Wash, guys). The whole Claire/West storyline has bored me and honestly, creeped me out a little, considering he's all stalkery and she thinks it's hot. Um, no. And I do agree that Elle and Adam were introduced much better than Maya and Alejando (I'm up in the air on Monica - I think it's less that she was introduced poorly and more that her power is fairly stupid).

I think it's fantastic that Tim Kring is in touch enough with his fanbase to see where the complaints and problems are, and to actually address them and work to start fixing them. I realize that the last couple of episodes were written months ago, but they are much better in terms of story development, pacing, and tying everything together. I hope it keeps up! I'd hate to know that my "Black Widow of Fiction" status extended to entire shows, and not just characters.

And can I just add, I'm really looking forward to Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse." Two shows to obsess over at the same time will be a totally new concept for me.