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Lost, Jericho and Heroes.

October 3rd, 2006

Two seasons ago we were introduced on ABC to the Lost television phenomenon in a wild new two-hour premeire that changed some of the perceptions we have while we watch a television drama. Lost combined tragedy and a well developed mythology into a show that was more about an island, than the people that crashed in the spectacular tail-falling-off crash that became its tell tale signature moment.

This season the other networks are playing catch-up, two new series try their hand at a serial television drama that after their premeire’s have many questions that have left unanswered.

Jericho has a post-nuclear war (or so we think) town in Kansas that starts off with little knowledge about what has happened. At the end of the first show (a one-hour premeire, so comparisons to Lost’s first airing need to take that into account) we know that nuclear explosions have happend somewhere west of Jericho, assumed in the show to be Denver, and that another explosion in Atlanta (we really don’t know if it is nuclear, but the cast has assumed that it is, so we’ll go with it) took the life of one of the character’s mother, this was revealed in a shocking answering machine message. After the second episode, the mysterious (I think he has something to hide, and so does his wife) Hawkins listened to a morse-code message and has started pinning red pens on a map (how convient to have that set-up in his basement/fallout-shelter) to include the aformentioned Denver, Atlanta and also San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia (my recollection starts to fade…) and more and more. There are certainly questions, but the execution of the drama on television has left some holes in the plot, that makes me wonder if this will really be a long-lasting show. It airs currently before the Lost time-slot on another channel, and so I don’t think it will pull people away from Lost, but might end up losing viewers if ABC wants to play time-slot games (a few minutes here, a couple extra minutes there…).

Heroes on NBC is another thing all together. This had a refreshing vignette of stories aligned along the ‘x-men’ like premise that humans are continuing to evolve and some ‘special’ humans are developing ‘super’ abilities. The character mix is interesting, and while the USA seems to have a lock on the random genetic mutations, there is at least one Japanese hero, or Super-Hiro (yes, I spelled that right) that is developing his time-shifting/transportation abilities. Seriously, this guy is awesome, and his quirky, geeky, innocent persona is gonna make this a fun show to watch. We also have a suicidal cheerleader with super-fast healing powers, a cyber-porn mother with an unknown power that kicks some mobster butt, but can’t remember ‘how’ (kina hulk like, in that she wakes up with gaps in her memory), a disfunctional brother duo that can fly or at least levitate. We also have a heroin addict artist that has the ability to see and paint the future, and a cop that has the ability to read minds. The show also has a mysterious Indian scholar that is following his deceased father’s research into the ‘super-human’ field, and a bespeckled mystery man (who just happens to be the wolverine-cheerleaders dad) that is also trying to figure out the mystery (with a far more nefarious goal, we are led to believe). There is also a looming catastrophe in a mid-town Manhattan blast that is surmised to go off on November 8th (Heroes, it seems is loking their clock to the actual airing of the episodes, last night Hiro thought he had teleported to NTC on October 2nd, but is faced with the fact that he jumped to November 8th…) All in all, Heroes is executed much more deftly than Jericho, and NBC seems to be behind the production of this show in a major way. They already have an online comic, an online blog, and interviews with the production team.

One of the features that Lost pioneered is the fusion of the internets with the series, including secrets available on the Lost website that fostered a slew of fan-sites and communities. It seems that definately Heroes, and to a degree Jericho (they have an online map of the fictional town) are trying to have the same ‘viral’ type of marketing. Both shows are intriguing, and I’m holding out hope that Jericho can become a bit more engaging. It is interesting that in both shows, the horror of a nuclear blast seems center to the story…

UPDATE: Big Orange Michael has his hero recap posted, always enjoyable to read.

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