Sunday, December 07, 2008

[GM]Dave, M.D.

A lot of people seem to be talking about the show Heroes.

Let's get something straight from the start: I love Heroes.

I don't watch a lot of TV. Between my well cultivated video game obsession and the fact that TV is basically 95% retarded, I rarely take the time to sit down in front of thing.

Heroes is one of the very few exceptions to that rule.

Unfortunately, there is something very wrong with Heroes.

This is extremely serious as no one seems to be able to figure out exactly what's wrong with the show. Also, should this problem continue, the show will probably be cancelled.

This is bad.

Thus, I have no choice, but to explain what the problem is.

To do this, I will be using another of my favorite TV shows... House.

Differential diagnosis, bitches.

DrHouse>> Patient is experiencing ratings trauma.
DrHouse>> He's losing watchers every minute.

DrHouse>> Ideas?

Cameron>> Uhh... Genetic issues?

DrHouse>> No.

DrHouse>> Show had great genetics.
DrHouse>> First season was perfectly healthy.

Foreman>> From these charts, it appears to be systemic.

Foreman>> There are problems in every area.

DrHouse>> But there has to be an underlying condition.

Chase>> Amyloidosis?

DrHouse>> Why does someone always suggest amyloidosis?

Chase>> I don't know.

DrHouse>> Moving on.

At this point, the "patient" has a seizure.

In case you don't watch House, the patient always has a seizure.

Or rectal bleeding.


Let's go with a seizure.

DrHouse>> What was he doing when the seizure occurred?
Cameron>> He was... Oh my god...

Cameron>> Time travel.

Cameron>> He was time traveling.

Chase>> That's gotta be it then.

Chase>> Time traveling would decrease viewer satisfaction.

Foreman>> It would also explain the systemic failures.

Cameron>> That has to be it.

People familiar with House know this exact moment of the show. The team has figured out a concrete, definitive, definite cause to the problem.

Everything is perfect.

Then you look at the clock and realize the show still has 34 minutes left.

They're not right.

Cameron>> That wasn't it.
Cameron>> We took him off time traveling...

Foreman>> But he only got worse.

Chase>> I don't understand.

Chase>> Why
do we always suggest amyloidosis?

This is when House stares off into space while popping pain meds or bouncing a ball.

Several close up face shots later, he finally understands.

DrHouse>> What if time traveling isn't the cause?
Chase>> It has to be the cause.

Cameron>> The show seized during a time traveling episode.

Cameron>> It has to be.

DrHouse>> You're both retarded.

DrHouse>> What if...

DrHouse>> What if time traveling isn't the cause...

DrHouse>> What if it's a symptom?

Foreman>> What do you mean?

DrHouse>> There was time travel during the first season.

DrHouse>> Problems didn't occur until later.

DrHouse>> Maybe the real cause is leading to the time travel.

Cameron>> What could cause time travel?

DrHouse>> Maybe the patient is trying to repair the damage.

DrHouse>> He thinks time travel is the answer.

DrHouse>> But that's just making it worse.

Foreman>> So, we're looking for
something else.
Foreman>> Something that changed...

Cameron>> But what changed between season 1 and 2?

House looks at the white board.

Suddenly, it hits him!

Not the white board. The answer.

Stop being so literal.

DrHouse>> SYLAR!
DrHouse>> Check his Sylar levels.

Cameron>> But Sylar was in season two...

Cameron>> Oh my God...

Chase>> What is it?

Cameron>> Character development.

Dun dun daaaaaaaaaaa!

Everyone thinks the problem with Heroes is the time traveling.

That's bullshit.

Sure, the time traveling gets annoying. All the jumping back and forth requires a lot of concentration.

The last thing I want to be doing while I'm watching TV is thinking.

But time traveling by itself isn't the major problem. I could live with it.

The problem goes much deeper than that.

It's also a disease that has affected countless franchises before Heroes.

See, an idea starts out pure. Someone somewhere has this great idea for a story that makes complete sense and is incredibly original.

It's successful, but for reasons no one expected.

The makers then try to capitialize on that by changing their original idea.

Boom. Headshot.

Story dies.

The entire point of Sylar was that he was a monster. He was evil. He was darkness.

There wasn't any reason for it.

He didn't need a reason.

He just chopped people's heads off.

And we LOVED it.

Ask anyone that watches Heroes and they will tell you Sylar is awesome. Sylar is the entire reason many people started watching the show.

Unfortunately, Sylar isn't the hero.

When the show became incredibly successful and the studio figured out it had a lot to do with Sylar, they decided Sylar should become a star.

They made him into a person.

He whines and cries.

He has mommy issues.

They tried to turn him into one of the good guys, for God's sake.

And that's what is killing the show. We're tuning in to see the heroes fight an inhuman monster and we're getting little Billy Sylar throwing a hissy fit.

That's not what we paid to see.

Think about some of the great fiction characters of our time.

Darth Vader.

Remember how awesome he was in the original trilogy? Even though he was the bad guy, he was still a huge bad ass.

Arguably, the best movie in the series is Empire. Darth Vader wins, freezes Han Solo in carbonite, and chops off his kid's hand in the process.

And that's for being a whiny little bitch.


Then, the new trilogy came out and we found out he's just a misunderstood kid who misses his mommy.

Again with the mommy issues.

Do you think we freaking care if Vader's mother died?

We don't even care that he had a mother.

We wanted a big motherf&%@er that cut off hands and bitch slapped people.

Instead, we get two (TWO!) movies listening to Dawson Leery cry because he had bad dreams about Joey dying.

While we're on the subject of Star Wars, let's talk about Han Solo.

Han Solo was intended to be a scoundrel. He was meant to be a bad ass who doesn't care what anyone thinks.

We loved that shit.

Then, they re-edited the movies.

They even changed the cantina scene so Han shoots Greedo in self-defense.

And then, the internet went batshit crazy.

Han was supposed to be a ruthless bastard that killed Greedo for just being annoying.

That's what we wanted.

But then someone who thought they know us better than we do decided Han should be a nice guy.

Big mistake.

We don't like these guys because they're likeable.

We like them because they're evil.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that if you're reading this, you're probably a Final Fantasy fan.

I know... Big stretch.

Can you imagine if they remade FFVII and we found out Sephiroth was just misunderstood and that he needed a hug?

Yeah. Think about that.

The problem with Heroes is that they messed with what worked.

Sylar worked.

Sylar was evil and horrible and terrible...

And we loved it.

If they want to fix the damned show, just go back and make Sylar the big, bad, unstoppable evil he was in the beginning.

Problem solved.

Also, Hayden Panettierre going topless couldn't hurt.

I'm just saying.


At 7:47 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

First? Holy crap. My dreams have come true. I can die now.


You're right. We time traveled to the future and Sylar was a nice guy. I enjoyed that. It was a weird change, but the fact that it was so unexpected made it work. But it was in the future, not in the "now" of the show. It's a lot easier to accept a change when it hasn't actually happened yet.

Looks like they are trying to make Sylar go back to being evil. I hate how they did it, but if they do it right he can go back to being the faceless, merciless nemesis of the show.

The other thing is that he has been getting too much face time. He should show up, kill someone, screw something up, then disappear again.


Once again, proof that [GM]Dave is the smartest person on the planet.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger bookwyrmpoet said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Will said...

Well, I think that Sylar being nice is what the future is going to be, but
in the other 2 seasons, they chain the future (duh). Thus, to save th world, as always, I believe that Sylar is going to be evil. However they had to show us that he was turning good, thus the future was unchanged. With him slowly going back to evil, we can start to see the future changing (thus May on the way).

Also, what the fuck is up with the father. He needs to be more evil like. I feel they can do more with his eviliness, buts thats just me.

End Spoiler

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

I don't know, I think the show worked best when it was called X Men, but your idea is totally legit too.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Oh, also, Sephiroth DID have mommy issues.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Bufuman said...

I don't watch Heroes, myself. I'm with you on the "95% of television is retarded" boat, so I really don't give many shows a shot. Pretty much all I ever watch are Futurama re-runs.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Calamarth said...

I'm not sure the problem really lies with Sylar alone. I'd rather look at the character development as a whole. The way everything spins around these days, it's just crazy. Everyone are the biggest push-overs that ever existed in human history.
It's so early that I can't think of a really good example that doesn't include Sylar, so here goes: in one episode Elle is the love of his life, and he's imagining their future together, and in the next he fucking chops off her head? I mean, come on, at least give some of these characters some ideology or whatever to cling on to for more than one fucking episode.

... as they did in season 1.

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Chrishh said...

I've only watched a bit of heroes, simply because I keep missing the starting times. I should sort that out really.

At 3:29 AM, Blogger J. Scarper said...

Daniel, how come I didn't think of it that way?

You're right, all that Oka-san stuff, he WAS in mommy trouble XD

At 3:31 AM, Blogger Shiraki said...

I don't watch Heros as much as I should, but from the episodes I did watch Sylar lost his memories and got "turned" good and in the most recent episode hes come to his senses and gone back to his heartless self. So for me hes back to being bad ass yay. As for Sephiroth he does have an extensive background for being the way he is. Sephiroth finds out that he is a creation, not a person and then he goes all crazy.

At 5:42 AM, Blogger David said...

Dang it. I thought the problem might have been Lupus.

But overall, very accurate post.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Meilin said...

Ctrl F lupis = not found til the comments.

GM Dave, you have failed the House formula!

(I still laughed my ass off. Don't feed me to a dragon)

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Autumn said...

Kristen Bell running around in nothing but a black shirt for the last episode definitely didn't hurt either. Too bad the rest of the episode was one long, sustained WTF moment.

I think this could be a winning formula: more Kristen Bell, more Hayden Panettiere. Hell, get Peter David on board, name it Blonde Justice and have them hug and cuddle a lot. I'd watch.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Hunter said...


While I have to agree that humanizing Sylar was a big start to the decline, it wasn't just that we lost Sylar as a villain though. We didn't get anyone good to replace him. Who did we get as villains?

Season 2 we had Adam: guy who can't die...okay we already have a hotter (albeit a bit whinier) version of you running around. You don't really offer a threat to our heroes any more than that gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe you just can't seem to get rid of. Not real threat, but annoying once in a while.

Season 3 we got our Level 5 escapees. So we get the villains who were already so stupid that they got caught once before? And Arthur Petrelli started off pretty good, he killed Adam (thanks for that btw), and then he sucked all of Peter's powers out and left him with just his power of being ultra-emo. But he hasn't done anything since then! The most evil thing he did was make Hiro think he was a ten year old boy. I mean come on!

I agree with GM Dave, we like our villains to be ultra badasses that beat people up and don't tell us about how they are feeling beyond "I feel like killing someone."

At 11:11 AM, Blogger RurouniZanza said...

Agreed. first season was awesome, but something has started to gradually degenerate the series.

Last episode 'felt' like they were finally going back to basics with the show.

But I'm honestly tired of seeing Sylar going back and forth between good and evil and just wish they'd get it over with.

Hopefully the ending of last episode makes Sylar stay evil (Hope he really killed the chick, then I'll celebrate).

Regardless, tonight is the last episode of the first half of season 3.

Let's see what happens.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger strovayn said...

"Can you imagine if they remade FFVII and we found out Sephiroth was just misunderstood and that he needed a hug?"

Ok I made an account just to comment on this... Sephiroth DID need a hug. Dude was all goodie goodie before he started having mommy issues. Check out FFVII: Crisis Core.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Kyle said...


Maybe I should watch Heroes.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Aen said...

You make a good point, but I think Hero's pathology goes far beyond the Sylar malady.


Sylar going good would have been a valid point if they presented a much darker alternative in the form of Arthur Petrelli. But they guy comes off as milktoast, at best.

Sylar has a much bigger track record then Arthur. He has countless murders under his belt. The only time I've seen Arthur do the deed is on Maury Parkman. Nonchalant and badass, but not nearly enough.

For a season called Villains, it's certainly lacking any real instance of them.


Also, the story is pretty much relying on red herrings and deus ex machine to advance the plot. It's driving itself on in a pretty sluggish way, and I'm partial to plots where the characters drive the plot.

That's my two cents on the whole Heroes syndrome. I've come close to stopping watching it, but the "What's gonna happen next?" still has a firm grip on me.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Aen said...

BTW, Dave, your use of parody and metafiction is masterful and hilarious.

Seriously, man, why the hell aren't you writing professionally? I vehemently sustain you could seriously remedy the retardation in contemporary TV.

Reveal thyself and deliver us from bad TV, [GM]Dave!

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Everyone here is mentioning Heroes, I feel I should focus on the "House" element.


I read that 36 minutes left part and felt instantly connected. It's SOOO true, but yet I still find the show AMAZING.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Lissuh said...

I liked Sephiroth for the sole reason that he killed Aerith with an overcompensatingly large sword.

I don't care about his mother.
He probably killed his mother.
Hell, Aerith in all likely-hood IS his mother.

And if that's true, he's 7x cooler than he was before.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger Drekal said...

Thinking about it, Sephiroth is probably not the best example to use. Throughout the game, you do find out a fair bit about his personality, and an extended sequence is devoted to his fall from sanity.

It would be best to say that he straddles the line between the two extremes mentioned: Wussification (which should be a word if it isn't already) and Monstrous Badass.

He's seen before he becomes a big bad. We got to know a bit about who he was, and saw him completely lose it. But rather than Darth Vader, he didn't cry about his mommy issues. He burned a town to the ground. Badass character development. It's possible to do, but is turned aside for the sake of humanising the villains.

Kefka, on the other hand, is probably a better example of your point. We learn next to nothing about him, but he's there from near the start of the game. And in each scene he's in, he's being evil and insane. No reason is explicitly given for his insanity, or why he decided "screw it, destroy the world time!"
This makes him the monster with no character development. An overwhelming obstacle for the player to overcome, and little more. No character development whatsoever and the better for it.

But yeah, you're right about Sylar. He was best when he was this big evil monster, not... whatever the hell he's supposed to be now.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger tom said...



At 9:47 PM, Blogger David said...


The cake is a lie.

But Sylar is a bad ass once more.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Brandon said...

Brilliant. Artfully put to the House analogy. Unfortunately I have to disagree. I think the problem with Season 2 was that they listened to their fans and they brought back all the characters. Sylar should have died. I was so tired of his character and he was just the same guy in season 2 with fewer powers.

The problem is reverse character development. They are quite literally erasing season 2 starting with Adam and working their way forward. What in Season 2 lasted more than an episode or two of this season? All of the good guys have gone dumb again. Season 1 was cool, everyone was learning about their powers. Season 2 had a good idea in trying to expand those power. Season 3 they've just made a bet to find out how many good guys they can take the powers away from or make into stupid jackasses.

Peter and Hiro, our two favorite good guys, powers nullified. Nathan, Mohinder, and Claire, Jackasses. Matt, off on his own adventure and having nothing to do with the plot. Why does papa petrelli always appear at the exact moment to make stuff stupid? Why turn Hiro into a 10 year old boy? Why not just appear earlier and kill him in his dream state? Why not appear earlier and take the light from Hiro's mommy? Why not be cool instead of a stupid jackass?

This season has had its ups and downs. I loved the scene where you see the good guys all in a room and the bad guys all in a room. It was epic. But what happened just after? Everyone went their own ways and there is no semblance of order.

Any and all characters are allowed to develop. Its a good thing. But if you ever remove that development, it will tick people off. People want to see the characters grow and blossom, not turn stupid every time it helps the 'plot'. I don't think I'll be watching season 4... if there is one.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger dementiaN said...

Wow. You totally called Sylar being a bad ass killer again.

"Ooo cake" - Best line ever?

At 11:28 PM, Blogger RurouniZanza said...

Yes! finally Sylar is back to his good old murdering self.

I personally liked the episode for the exception of Hiro "lost in time" bit.

Oh and Sephiroth's mother is Lucrecia and he didnt kill her. Not that Lissuh cares anyways.

At 4:39 AM, Blogger Kinam said...

Like someone else, I just signed up to comment after having the whole Sephiroth bits being commented, and it's kind of disheartening to see some of the stuff skipped over ... Sephiroth DID kill his mother Lucrecia ... she died during child birth as was explained in the storyline somewhere along the lines (either in the main FF7 storyline, or in Crisis Core, can't exactly remember)

Either way though it's kind of a weird life for Sephiroth, a child infused with Jenova cells before birth ... a father that wasn't explained very well (was it the doctor that impregnated her, or was it Vincent, or was it that the Jenova cells were implanted directly into one of Lilith's eggs?). As he grew up under care of the scientists, he was told that Jenova was his mother. Eventually finding out the truth by seeing the information in the mansion's basement library drove him mad and on a path to find his "mother" and eventually attempt to screw over the world...

Anyway I digress ... I think I only watched one episode of Heroes, and that was in the first season, where the oriental dude went and stole a sword that helped him control time or something like that ... it seemed strange to me and seeing as I didn't know what had happened prior, I couldn't attach to it at all... Glad that I'm not really missing anything spectacular

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Adenis said...

Badass character?

Then you people probably like Kefka Palazzo of FFVI.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger RurouniZanza said...

Here we go =]

Seems Kinam never saw Vincent's secret cutscene behind the waterfall in the original FFVII.

Otherwise you would know that Lucrecia was alive... and Hojo was the father as it was explained in Dirge of Cerberus.

The following is quoted from wikipedia if you want to look it up:

"[Sephiroth] was originally the unborn son of Lucrecia and Hojo. He believes that his mother is Jenova because that is what Hojo told him; it is doubtful he knows that Lucrecia even exists."

Any more questions?

At 8:52 AM, Blogger fanduck said...

I'm going to disagree with you on this one. First, Season 1 was incredibly popular because it was refreshing and original and had a great production value. However, it had A LOT of problems. Half the episodes were awesome, the other half were boring and awkward. Most of the characters were unlikeable, both as actors and characters (cough cough Peter). And do I even need to ask WHAT THE HELL DOES "SAVE THE CHEERLEADER SAVE THE WORLD" MEAN????? Worst of all, the season finale was a lackluster disappointment at best.

The second season was like a rollercoaster that built up very slowly, then once it was at it's peak, instead of dropping at 90 mph, it took an escalator down slowly and safely. I blame this on the writer's strike.

My point? Season 1 gained a lot of fans on principle, then the rest of the season coupled with Season 2 lost most of those fans. That's the ONLY reason Season 3 is doing poorly. The plot is fine, time traveling is awkward and presents logical problems, but nothing a little style can't overcome. And Sylar is GREAT! It's impossible to go 3 seasons with a person being mindlessly evil, especially when the actor himself is so likable.

Need I remind you, Vader became good in the end of the trilogy. For a better comparison, look at Ben from Lost. He started out as the bad guy, but as the season has gone on, he's become one of the most likable characters in the show as his polarity is never really revealed. He's no longer just a bad guy, he's a guy who will sacrifice himself one episode, and stab somebody in the back the next (and there's usually a good reason for both). Sylar could be such a character, and the fact that he's a great actor, makes it all the more likely.

Final thoughts. Season 3 is spec-freakin-tacular! I haven't talked to a single person in reality (read: off the intertubes) who thinks otherwise. Heroes is in a weird place right now. It's the kind of show that you can't skip a season and still be able to enjoy. Hopefully the creators will figure this out.

Final Final thoughts: I loved when Peter acted like a bad guy early in the season. I hate him so much as an actor that I would love for the show to give me a reason to hate his character too.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger D_Blumen said...

I think those who complain about Arthur Petrelli regressing Hiro to a 10 year old are missing the fact that he was interrupted by Ando.

On the Sylar WTF episode with Elle: remember that his power has a really big influence in his personality. The whole love of my life thing came from the fact that Sylar didn't have "The hunger on him". And for him being a badaa, jus two words: "Oooh! Cake!"

Arthur Petrelli is not a lousy villain, he's just not the type to do the dirty work, he's more a mastermind. But tell me you didn't fear him at least a little when he was introduced.

About Matt and his own adventure, it had to do with the actor's personal stuff. I just think that in order to be fully able to criticize Heroes, we should wait until the season (or volume) ends.

Most of the twists are created to produce a WTF! reaction, but I think that instead of just analyzing each event independently, we should focus on how every element interacts with each other

At 12:02 PM, Blogger VLD said...


Nice call on they Sylar is teh villain again, genius.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Jinx said...'s not lupus?

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Kinam said...

bah, yea, I totally forgot about that scene RurouniZanza ... it's been years since I played the whole thing through ... as my PS died on me a long time ago, I've still got the original disks -.- I've thought of trying to find a copy of it for the PC to play, at least legally and not a torrent of it.

Oh well, either way, right after I posted that I did look up on the wiki page as you did and read up on some of the storyline I didn't remember over the years... so yea, GG ^^

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Heroes has gotten good again in the past few episodes, but I do agree that up until now it's been a little blah. The "What's next?" factor has brought me back, just like the other poster said. As for "Cake?" was awesome. I will say, I'm sad they've messed up poor Mohinder's face, though, he's an unsung hottie of that show for sure.

At 7:20 PM, Blogger RurouniZanza said...

No prob Kinam =]

The cake is indeed a lie!

At 7:33 PM, Blogger [GM]Dave said...

The show did not experience any rashes, photosensitivity, or ulcerations. Also did not present with arthritis or serositis.

Urine tests showed normal protein levels and blood tests showed relatively normal levels of both red and white blood cells.

Likewise, tests for immunological disorders and an ANA test all came back negative.

It's not Lupus.


At 12:53 PM, Blogger Egnar said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:36 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

So we can cross off Lupus from the board.

What no one has mentioned yet is this sharp increase in the saturation of new characters as well as divergent, not convergent, plot lines.

Taken together with the death of so much viewership, there is a clear solution. A brain tumor that causes Leprosy.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Paantu said...

Sorry Dave, Heroes has Lupis.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger L.C.W. said...

On the plus side, tonight's episode (end of season 3) should have totally made you love it all again.


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