“ Genre: Television - Heroes / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Actors: Jack Coleman, Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia, Masi Oka, Sendhil Ramamurthy ... / DVD released 2009-10-12 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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I'm afraid that I have to start this review with a criticism. I started season three of Heroes over a year after watching the previous season and had forgotten most of the details of what had happened in the previous season. I had hoped that there would be something at the beginning of the first episode just to refresh my memory but there wasn't. On every other episode of the DVD there was a short recap of what had happened in previous episodes but not on the first one. This annoyed me for two reasons, the first was that I needed the reminder on that first episode and the second was that I didn't need the reminder on the other episodes. I enjoyed the series so much that I would watch two or three episodes at a time, making the recap irrelevant. I've written this review with that in mind and I hope that this will give you all of the information that you need to enjoy season three of Heroes but if you haven't watched the previous two seasons I would recommend doing so before watching season three. I think it would be difficult to start from this season.
==The Premise of Heroes==
The plot on heroes is so complex and involves so many characters that I couldn't possibly give a full description in this review. The basic storyline is that there are people with special abilities, people who can do things like fly or control peoples' movements. The list is endless and as this series progresses more people with different abilities are introduced. People with abilities mostly keep their abilities hidden so to everyone else they appear to be completely normal.
==Previously on Heroes==
As I mentioned this DVD doesn't recap on what happened in season 2. I thought I would just give a brief reminder of how we left the Heroes (and Villains) in season 2. If you haven't watched the first two seasons this is unlikely to make much sense to you and it will contain spoilers so please do not read on if you plan to watch this television show. It really is far too good to ruin with spoilers.
Season 2 was a short season due to the writers strike but they managed to fit quite a lot into so few episodes. Hiro travelled through time and met his hero, Kensei. He discovers that Kensei has abilities of his own and helps him to become a hero. Kensei is later revealed to be a villain called Adam.Meanwhile in the present day someone is murdering the founders of the company, Matt and Mohinder are caring for Molly, Sylar has lost his abilities, Peter is stuck in Ireland with amnesia and Mika is left with distant relatives while Niki is being cared for by the company.
Adam tries to infect people with the Shanti Virus and Peter and Hiro stop him. The season finishes with Adam being buried alive so that he can't escape, Sylar regaining his abilities, Niki is in a building when it blows up and dies, Noah stops Clare from exposing the company, Elle saves Mohinder and Molly and Nathan decides to reveal what he is to the world but is shot before he can do so.
Season three has a strange format. It's basically split into two. I don't know if this is because the previous season was cut short. I wish that they had released two separate DVDs, like Villains as part one and Fugitives as part two of season three because I would have liked to review both parts of the DVD but unfortunately they didn't. I watched season three with no idea about what was going to happen and found that there were a lot of events that surprised me. I think it would be better to watch this DVD without reading the rest of this section, I enjoyed all of the twists and not knowing what was going to happen next.
The first part of season three is called Villains so you won't be surprised to hear that it's about villains. Up until now most of the characters have been heroes, or at least mostly on the good side. Part one of this series introduces us to a number of cruel and sadistic characters who use their powers for their own gain. When some of these villains escape from the company it's up to the heroes to track them down.The second part of the season is called Fugitives. As the name suggests people with special powers become fugitives who are hunted down and detained by the government.
For me this was the best season so far of Heroes. When it comes to watching things on the television I have a short attention span. I often find myself picking up a book while I'm watching a film or playing on my DS while watching a soap...I just don't tend to find television stimulating enough to hold my attention. There are a few television shows that are different, shows that I give my undivided attention to. Heroes is one of those shows. I think part of the reason for this is the number of characters. Heroes has at least a dozen main characters at any one time and I often find myself becoming attached to the majority of the characters. What really impresses me is that each character is so well developed. Each character has it's own back story and as you would expect with people with special abilities the stories are usually really interesting. I love when new characters are introduced because you get to learn so much about them. Season three introduces a lot of new characters and I enjoyed learning about their background. It also explores the already established characters, revealing previously unknown information. What I really liked was that the way that by learning more about certain characters you learn about the history of people with special abilities. I don't want to go into any specifics because I found that some revelations were quite surprising and I don't want to ruin it for anyone.
I think another reason why this show gets my undivided attention while I'm watching it is that there's always so much happening. I think this has a lot to do with the number of characters. Many of the characters have stories that are somewhat unrelated to the other characters. Of course there's the common link of the characters either having special abilities or having something to do with special abilities. Sometimes I do find that there's a lot to follow and I really wouldn't enjoy watching this on television so much because then you have to wait for so long to watch the next episode which would be horrible because this is really compulsive viewing and I would probably forget what had happened in the previous episodes. Sometimes it is a little bit frustrating because you just get into one of the stories and they move onto another character and another story but at the same time it does keep me interested and on the rare occasions when I start to get bored the focus changes quick enough.
I did love the lack of predictability. At points this season lulls you into a false sense of security by showing you glimpses of the future which made me feel confident that certain characters were safe and that certain things would definitely happen while forgetting that the future can always be changed and has been changed in the past. There were so many twists that I didn't see coming.
I do think that this season should have been split into two, at least when it came to the DVD (obviously charging less than they did for the full season) because it feels like two separate seasons. Villains and Fugitives each has their own different story lines. They're linked of course in the same way that season one linked to season two and season two to season three but they don't feel like they're part of the same season. I guess it's better that they didn't try to drag out Villains and make it fill the entire season but at the same time the season feels too divided for my comfort.
In this series, in both parts, we see completely different sides to many of the characters. In particular Sylars character is explored more. I've never been a Sylar fan before but he has now gone from being my least favourite character to my favourite. He just made me laugh so much. In general I think this season is a lot funnier than the others and in particular I thought Sylar was hilarious. I do have a rather dark sense of humour and I think that Sylar's character appealed to that. I actually found myself laughing out loud a couple of times when watching him.
I don't know if the writers of Heroes were trying to make any political points when they wrote the series but I liked the way that people with special abilities could have been any minority group. During Fugitives they are treated like terrorists just because they have an ability (I think they even use the anti-terrorism laws) and I found myself relating this to my own families experiences when they first came to this country (my dad was Irish) and my own experiences of being part of oppressed groups. There were a lot of parallels with the way that suspected terrorists have been treated by the American and British (and other) governments. I guess for some people this might make uncomfortable viewing but I really liked it.
One of my favourite parts of this season was the flashback scenes to Angela's childhood. I loved finding out how the company was created and the backgrounds of those involved. It just made a lot of things fall into place. During this season of Heroes there is a lot of time travel as well as flashbacks and premonitions. This can make it a little bit confusing at times (another reason why it gets my full, undivided attention) but overall I think it was handled really well. There were a few times when I had to remind myself that something was just premonition or that it hadn't happened yet but mostly I found it easy enough to follow.
I would certainly recommend season three of Heroes. You will need to watch the first two seasons to really follow what is happening in this season but personally I thought that it was the best season yet. It's fast paced, full of action and it's the most amusing season so far. I enjoyed every episode and I was really disappointed when I got to the last DVD. I can't wait for season four.
I've tried my best to include no spoilers (apart from one which is marked) for those who have not yet endured this series of the hit show.
To put it bluntly, Heores season 3 is probably one of the biggest disappointments in recent television history. Season 1 laid down the groundwork for a series that could have run for years to come. The premise was excellent, and there was so much more to explore. The writing was succinct, the story-arcs were intriguing, and most of the characters were extremely likeable. We genuinely wanted to see how the characters dealt with their ever evolving abilities while building up to an inevitable disastrous finale. It was great TV.
And then season 2 completely threw all of these ideas down the pan. But avid fans that we were, forgave Tim Kring and his army of writers. After all they had struggled through the writer's strike and did their best to piece together something watchable for us. OK, so we waited for season 3. We knew everything would be back to the awesomeness that was season 1, they had learned from their mistakes and they'd already found a winning formula, what could go wrong?
The answer to this question is: everything.
Heroes Season 3 didn't learn from any mistakes previously made, it just continued the decent into TV oblivion. This time the story-arcs had non of the building tension of series 1, and each episode contained gigantic plot-holes. How the writers could forget or ignore so many details about characters and events is a mystery to me. The series was a mess, and the characters that were once loved, became annoying and contrived. Even the loveable Hiro lost all of his charm in this season.
(Below is a minor spoiler for the character of Peter Petrelli)
My biggest gripe of all with this season of Heroes is Peter Petrelli. By the end of season 1 he had accumulated so many powers he was almost invincible. This makes it hard for a writer to start producing story-arcs which could effectively be resolved every time with one character in the space of one episode, e.g. Peter. So, in season 2 they made him forget everything for a while. This worked to some success, but of course he was always going to gain his memories back. In season 3 they had to think of another way to get him out of the picture without killing him off. So they took all of his powers away. The reduced Peter to a character with no interest whatsoever. He wasn't a "Hero" any more. Thankfully they resolved this by giving him his powers back. But they didn't give him back his original powers -- and I wasn't very thankful about that. Instead they gave him a kind of crappier version of his old empathic ability to copy the abilities of others. This time he could only absorb a person's ability once he touched them. And if he touched another hero then this new ability would replace the old one.
Quite frankly, this was a terrible idea that ruined the whole character for me. They might as well have just killed him off.
(END OF SPOILERY RANT)
I stuck with Heroes hoping for improvements, hoping that the writers had learned something from season 2, but I was proved wrong time and time again. I must say, all of the blame lies with the writers (and whichever production execs messed around with the concept), the actors, as always, did the best they could. They were the band playing on the Titanic as it sunk to the depths of the Atlantic....