Since last week’s Pop Culture Confessions was pretty successful, I thought I’d make this a recurring series of questions for people to pontificate.
Today’s question: what bit of pop culture do you regret getting involved with? It could be because it took up so much time, or that the payoff wasn’t what you wanted, or maybe that the quality just kept gradually going downhill until you were hatewatching it just to see how it ended.
Which brings me to Heroes.
Tim Kring’s series about ordinary people who can suddenly do extraordinary things was a major hit when it premiered back in the halcyon days of 2006. The first season was extraordinary, from “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” to the introduction of Sylar (and Zachary Quinto). At the time, I was riveted. I was a huge comic book nerd growing up, and there really wasn’t anything like it out there (Iron Man was still two years away from hitting theaters). I still remember how enthralled I was by all the reveals and a sense of anticipation each week as more of the story was revealed.
Little did I know it was all downhill from there.
Part of it was that the bar was set pretty high by season one, but part of it was that it was clear that Kring & Co. hadn’t really thought bigger picture (apparently the plan was to rotate cast members, but was scrapped when NBC realized how popular everyone was). It suddenly became less about people getting used to their new powers and more about a conspiracy involving “The Company” and (ugh) the Petrelli family. The Petrellis started out as just two brothers, Nathan and Peter (played by Milo Ventimiglia, leading me to believe his weakness is crock pots) who both have abilities. That was soon expanded to the mother and father who are (surprise!) part of “The Company”, which had a paper company as a front (sidenote: NBC missed a great opportunity for an Office crossover). As the family got more and more involved, it got more and more difficult to keep track of what was going on, until it just went batshit crazy.
Season 2 was a bit all over the map, while Season 3 just went off the rails, ending with (spoiler alert) Sylar killing Nathan, but the mindreader in the group takes control of Sylar and makes him think he’s Nathan (since Sylar can shapeshift…yes, this is very confusing for me too). Season 4 kept that theme going and went Carnivale on us with literally a carnival of people with powers. In between, you had time travel, supervillains, more conspiracies, a competitor to The Company and Sylar taking over the telepath’s mind somehow.
I stuck with the show for some reason until the middle of the fourth season, but only out of spite. It was clear at that point it was going nowhere, and I’d wasted a few dozen hours of my life waiting for it to get back to the Season 1 form that would never return. I gave up, deleted it from the DVR and never looked back, though I debated watching Heroes Reborn, because I’m a masochist.
While there are other shows that were a waste towards the end (hi, Dexter), this is definitely A1 in my list of shows that I regret ever diving into.
Time for you all to confess!