Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Everyday Superheroes

Heroes looks to be one of NBC's "please, oh please, bring our viewers back" offerings (right up there with Studio 60, but that has Sorkin, and therefore has a solid chance of not sucking). The website contains annoying amounts of Flash, but has bios of all of the "heroes" (near as I can tell, people who suddenly develop superhuman powers. Because that premise has never been done before) and some pictures of them being superhumanly pretty.

As is usual for ensemble casts, there are very few women and two of them are blonde. The one who isn't appears, from her bio, to not actually have a Power of her own, but to be the largely ignored sidekick of her druggie-artist boyfriend. Because naturally, the woman with dark skin and hair couldn't possibly be Super. (Yes, that was more venom than is deserved. I'm in a Mood.) The teenage girl gets the invulnerability (one of my personal favorite Super Powers), but she's also the Male Mid-Life Crisis Wet Dream fodder (bedroom eyes on a high school student? Only if they've got dark rings around them from staying up too late talking on the phone and cramming for a test).

Then there's Peter, the man who thinks he can fly. He's a male nurse, constantly overshadowed by his virile politico brother. Apparently, instead of growing a foot-long penis, he's growing wings. (OK, developing the ability to fly. Still, I saw X-3; the euphamism isn't lost on me.) Dear NBC, putting a male nurse with an inferiority complex in your shows does not equal better gender parity. He's still not a woman.

Will I watch it? Hell, yeah. Have you been reading this blog? I dig super humans. Not all of them, and not uncritically, but they appeal to my sense of "truth is more than reality" and various bullocks like that (I keep meaning to write up something witty and meaningful about my love of super ability, magic, and other reality-enhancing fictions, but I don't think I could listen to myself pontificate for that long). Hell, if I could have anything I wanted, it'd be flight, invulnerability, or a prehensile tail (in that order, but that changes daily). So I'll give it a shot -- might go after the pilot this evening, as I've heard it's available somewhere online, and I've heard folks squeeing all over it. I don't think it'll create any new entries on my lost of Favorite Enhanced Humans (comics!Wolvie -- just about any 'verse -- for the win, there, though Jenny Sparks and any number of the officers from Alan Moore's Top 10 are right up there), but it could be entertaining.

But just once, I'd like the networks to take a chance. To recognize that for every formulaic cast that becomes a huge success there's another that flops entirely. Because it's gotten to the point where I can't tell the blonds apart. Hell, I haven't been able to tell the guys apart for awhile; my mom has to sort me out every time I watch Without a Trace with her, because the two TD&H Fibbies look so much alike that I get confused as to how that person is in two places at once. (Mom: "they're not the same person! Look, that one's Latino!" Me: "... oh, yeah, I can sorta see the difference WHEN HE SPEAKS SPANISH." They fucking look the same!) Would it have killed you to cast a red-headed dude? Or, you know, someone shorter? Or fatter? Or darker skinned? Or OMG THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME!

Sorry. I get a little riled when I can't tell who's who. (You should see me try to remember names in undergrad courses where the students are all trying to look like A&F models. It really developed my appreciation for artsy kids who dress weird.) Maybe "Heroes" will sort out character differentiation with the whole super powers bit. But it still would be cool to be able to tell them apart before they start flying.


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