Monday, September 22, 2008

"Heroes" Redux: The dreams and time warps continue: when special abilities become fiat currency

Tonight NBC kicked off its most visible series, the sci-fi “Heroes” by Tom Kring, in its third season. This year’s season will be called “Villains” and the first episode is called “The Second Coming.” It recalls to me the title of the third chapter in my first “do ask do tell” book called “My Second Coming.”

The two-hour premier “film” was proceeded by a one hour party at the Edison Theater in LA, with a lot of Hollywood camaraderie. They showed the heavy makeup of one female character with mud and charcoal, taking six hours to do. They demonstrated how the action shots were done with green screens, especially the scene where Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and Nathan fly off superman style in a kind of paired annihilation.

One of the most remarkable lines occurs when a female hero is to be hit by a train, and says “If you can’t feel anything, are you still human? I need to prove that I’m alive.”

Sylar (Zachary Quinto), however handsome, continues his habit of killing to steal other people’s abilities.

Some how the concept of the series has never gripped me as much as has Smallville or The 4400. The story lines seem to wander and become dreamlike. That may be appropriate inasmuch as one of the Heroes can manipulate time. When you dream, time expands and seems to take much longer than the dream does. And often in a dream you are in “second life” copies of a familiar place where the surroundings are contained in some way in a “thirteenth floor” fashion.

I've wondered if the "end of life" comes as a dream that doesn't stop. Since time almost stops in a dream, maybe it can stop forever and the person remains conscious forever in the dream, relative to his own sense of time (even referring to relativity as Einstein developed its theory).

The dialogue often refers to being “special.” On Smallville, Clark Kent once said “I’m different, not special.” But in Heroes, abilities seem to become almost like currency.

The calamities that may happen to New York (the asteroid wave, the Shanti virus pandemic) really don’t, and you never really get a sense of “mega disaster.”

Back in the early 70s, I had a coworker say "God is my only hero." Other heros (or "super-ocelots" as we called them when I was in the Army) were said to have "clay feet".

NBC's website for the show is here. Its pictures, in rotation, include a picture of Sylar in nose intubation (not for long)

The musical dissonance played during the show's "Eclipse" trademark has always fascinated me.

Update: Sept. 24

Time Magazine offers an article "Q&A: What Happens When We Die?" by M. J. Stephey, on tracking consciousness during near-death experiences, research by Dr. Sam Parmia at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, link here. It was reproduced this morning on Yahoo!

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