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  • Heroes: Not a Star Vehicle?

    **NOTE: There are some comments in my post that COULD be considered spoilers by some but I in no way reveal any shocking plot twists or story elements. Hence, I'm not spoiler tagging my entire post. THIS IS YOUR WARNING!

    This was just something I remembered last night while looking through the amazingly gorgeous Heroes Season 2 promotional pictures and it just had me wondering. Back when the show started, Tim Kring, the creator and mastermind behind the show, did an interview (I believe with HeroSite - I'll try to find the link to the interview ASAP) and was talking about how the show "will not be a star vehicle" - meaning that there will be no one focus of the show to boost upwards a specific actor/actress in Hollywood. He garunteed that everyone would get fair play and that the payoffs would be even for everyone, basically.

    But is this really how Heroes has turned out?

    Hayden Pannettierre (a last name I can't spell to save my life no matter how hard I try) and Masi Oka are the two actors on the show that have gotten a SIGNIFICANT boost in popularity and with their careers - especially Masi who went from having a brief guest appearence on "Scrubs" to being nominated for an Emmy for "Heroes." Nobody really knew or cared about them before "Heroes" and their characters were the focus of Season 1's storyline concering the bomb.

    Meanwhile, characters like Matt Parkman (the cop who can hear people's thoughts), Niki Sanders (the single mom with a She-Hulk alterego), DL (the fugitive convict who can walk through walls), Micah Sanders (Niki and DL's son), and even Nathan Petrelli (excluding the final slew of episodes from 1.18 to 1.23), are stuck on the sidelines and play minor roles, if any roles (like Matt and Niki), in the overall storyline.

    Looking at the actors themselves, Ali Larter, Greg Grunberg, Jack Coleman (HRG, or Mr. Bennet), and Adrian Pasdar get very little press-time and very little recognition for their awesome portrayals of their characters. At the Emmy's, Masi Oka gets the nomination for Supporting Actor while Jack Coleman (who I believe is the best actor out of the netire cast) gets no recognition at all.

    My question is: does all of this contradict Kring's statement that the show would not be a star vehicle for anyone and that their would be equal focus amongst all the characters?

    Personally? I think that this does contradict what Kring said. It's not a drastic difference but there is a significant difference. I get that some characters will be more popular than others which will increase press-time for the actors that play them, but wasn't the whole cast supposed to get equal story-time and focus?

    It's obvious to anyone and everyone who knows me that I'm madly in love with Niki Sanders and her alter-ego. She was the one who most intrigued me and had me hooked on this show. And it also helps that I love Ali Larter. I find it extremely troublesome that she played practically no role whatsoever in the seasonal storyline and just got left straggling on the sidelines with another favorite character of mine, Matt Parkman.

    And, again, I definitely believe Jack Coleman deserved the Emmy nomination over Masi Oka for delivering the best, most consistent performances throughout the season. In "Homecoming" and "Company Man," especially. Masi Oka, and Hiro, remain simply as comic relief in my eyes with only two episodes ("Six Months Ago" and "Landslide") where he showed that he deserved the nomination over Jack Coleman.

    Now, I get the Hayden-lovin'. She's a very young, AMAZING actress. Hell, I think she deserved an Emmy nomination over Masi Oka, honestly. But my issue lies with Claire and how she was at the center of the entire season, essentially while other characters were merely sidelined with only minor roles in the season.

    But how does everyone else see this? That's always been a question on my mind. How does everyone else see this drastic difference in focus between characters and actors? Am I losing my mind again?
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  • #2
    I think it's an ensemble piece. Like "Lost", there are going to be characters with more frequent or compelling storylines, but that will always be cyclical, and will also be influenced by what grabs the ratings.

    Like I said elsewhere, Hayden is clearly the face of "Heroes" at this point, and Masi Oka probably right behind (or at least his "YATTA!" moment, which is probably still the iconic image of the show).

    They won't always have the best storylines, but they'll probably always be in that Jack/Kate/Sawyer tier of the story. Peter probably will, too. I'm sure they could get Nikki a bigger part in the storyline if they hook up her and Peter (which would probably go pretty well, based on fan reaction).
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    • #3
      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
      They won't always have the best storylines, but they'll probably always be in that Jack/Kate/Sawyer tier of the story. Peter probably will, too. I'm sure they could get Nikki a bigger part in the storyline if they hook up her and Peter (which would probably go pretty well, based on fan reaction).
      Right. Which that always irritated me about "Lost" - the fact that, while it was an "ensemble show," there were a core three that got much more focus than anybody else. But my real question is: is that right? What are the chances of them actually cycling out the "core three" characters so that it's a different Jack/Kate/Sawyer combination? Because, while I love Peter and Claire (most of the times), there are other characters who deserve their time in the limelight.

      Hell, even Sun gets more focus on Lost than Niki and Matt do. And, to add insult to injury, Shannon got more focus than DL got all season - and she only had 1 flashback episode.

      I just don't think there's any real, consistent balance.
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      • #4
        Egalitarianism is a myth. Jack/Kate/Sawyer carried "Lost" for so long because that's what people were responding to -- Jack wasn't even supposed to make it through the pilot, but test audiences wanted him. They can't force intricate Claire storylines on an audience that's changing the channel. And, it's starting to wear off -- the second half of Season 3 was a lot more balanced because they were starting to get bad feedback.

        That's how "Heroes" will go -- as long as Peter, Claire, and Hiro are getting the best feedback and ratings stay high, that's what we'll get.

        In both shows, the ensemble is just too big to be sustainable. "Firefly" had nine leads, and Joss felt like it was probably too many -- in the case of "Lost" and "Heroes" there have been at least a dozen.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
          Egalitarianism is a myth. Jack/Kate/Sawyer carried "Lost" for so long because that's what people were responding to -- Jack wasn't even supposed to make it through the pilot, but test audiences wanted him. They can't force intricate Claire storylines on an audience that's changing the channel. And, it's starting to wear off -- the second half of Season 3 was a lot more balanced because they were starting to get bad feedback.

          That's how "Heroes" will go -- as long as Peter, Claire, and Hiro are getting the best feedback and ratings stay high, that's what we'll get.
          True, you're right. It does all come down to ratings. But they can't keep spinning major storylines around solely Peter, Claire, and Hiro. People, like myself, who prefer other characters will get tired of it and lose interest. Much like with Lost where if you don't like Jack or Kate or Sawyer, the major storylines will bore you - especially the "love triangle."

          But, since you are right that Peter, Claire, and Hiro bring in the best ratings and feedback, that doesn't mean that they can't extend the stories and bring in sideline characters like Niki and Matt and Micah and DL, who were just floating out there with no significant roles until the very end. If they can't change the core three, then they can at least adjust the storyline so that everyone has a role. Not just Peter, Claire, and Hiro.

          Originally posted by KingofCretins
          In both shows, the ensemble is just too big to be sustainable. "Firefly" had nine leads, and Joss felt like it was probably too many -- in the case of "Lost" and "Heroes" there have been at least a dozen.
          I disgree. I think it's just a matter of finding the right balance between everybody - which I think started to happen in Heroes in the last 8 episodes or so where things really started coming together. Unfortunately, Lost took 2 and a half seasons to really find a suitable balance and I really hope Heroes doesn't take that long. Though it is a sad possibility.
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          • #6
            To me what really set Peter, Hiro and Claire apart was the truly iconic line from the beginning of the series that became like a tagline: "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" while it may have seemed like a throw-away line when being written in, that was the initial line that brought the first of the heroes together and set them on their path, and in doing so intimately linked Peter, Hiro and Claire together as being the three key characters with this line.

            After the line aired it popped up all over the place. They were even putting stickers over Bring it On: All or Nothing, saying "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" in HMV and Virgin stores. That simple line became the thrust and drive of the show, and got a lot of publicity and press, automatically putting these three characters into the limelight.

            I hadn't heard anything of Heroes at all, as I was totally swamped from my SPN love, until I saw that line cropping up everwhere and I questioned it, and the first thing I heard about the show was about Peter, Claire and Hiro.

            Thus to me it feels as though, while perhaps unintentional, this line has automatically connected these three characters, and put them in the focus of the season one arc, and thus given them a lot more screen time than originally intended. After hearing the message from Hiro, it convinced Peter he had to save the world, it left viewers wondering why claire was so important, and when Hiro found out he had come back in time to warn them of this, he became further convinced it was destiny to join with Peter and Claire and save the world; thus creating the core three characters.

            I don't know if I am the only one who feels this way. But I do feel as though, these characters emerged as being connected and having major focus in the season because of this. And I don't know if Kring knew that in using this line it would illicit such a reaction, and/or put these three in the spot-light of the series. That's just how I always figured it had happened, as an accident from the writing.

            Feel free to draw your own conclusions from this, that was just my random-ness lol.
            SJ
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            • #7
              I think you're right heather, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Was it intentional? No, probably not. The problem with shows with such big casts, like Grey's Anatomy too, is that so many people get sidelined, rather than just having it called as it is, and saying- 'these are the stars, these are the supporting characters'. It's kinda the opposite of season seven Buffy where we were told Buffy and the scoobies were the stars, but the potentials stole so much of the storyline.

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              • #8
                Well come to think of it, it happens on every show, some characters get less spotlight then others..
                I have always grown to love the side characters (Seeing how I like Tara that's pretty much a given), even if their were some other major characters I loved them over the others, like I love about four/five characters before Buffy and she's more major then any of them.

                Same goes for Nikki and I am starting to like DL as well and they are both side characters, sure I like Claire and she's pretty, and Peter is cool along with Hiro (It took me about 30 seconds to figure out his name as I was writing this) but I prefer Nikki and DL over them, and I think Matt could be used as a better storyline as well (You think Syler would have gone for him, hearing people thoughts would be a big advantage).

                And it's the same with Lost, sure I like Kate and Sawyer, but I like Sayid/Shannon/Claire/Charlie/Sun better, and I am always annoyed that Jack gets more storylines then anyone else, Claire has only had about three, Shannon only had one by herself, and Sayid is should be part of that tight group yet he gets maybe 2-3 episodes each season..

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