Use Your Ability To Inform Others…

Finale Offers Smaller Cliffhangers… by Damien
April 23, 2007, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Blog, Finale, General, Links, NBC, News, Season 1, TV

HeroesAlong with those scenes, fans are getting creator Tim Kring’s promise that Heroes’ main story, the nuclear holocaust, will be resolved this season. “In this pod” — as Kring calls the groupings of episodes, first 11, then seven and now five — “these characters will come together. This is the culmination, the payoff.”

“Questions get answered” might as well be a Heroes mantra, along with “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World,” “Are You on the List?” and, for the final episodes, “It’s Time to Save the World.”

The producers know that viewers have become reluctant to commit to serialized shows, worried that they will be canceled or that they will be slow to provide answers. The latter is a complaint that has been leveled at a hit Heroes is often compared to: Lost.

“We’ve certainly learned from Lost,” Kring says. “But we’re a very different show. They started with a central mystery. We didn’t.” He hopes to include short story arcs next season, “so you don’t have to wait 23 episodes for the answer.”

When we last left the heroes, geneticist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) was hanging from the ceiling, suspended by killer Sylar, who also has empathic Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) in his grasp. “I come down off the ceiling in a fairly spectacular manner,” Ramamurthy says. “It’s a real turning point for the character.”

Family ties

At the same time, Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) is confronting the shadowy Linderman (Malcolm McDowell); Hiro (Masi Oka) is applying his newly recovered time-travel skills; and fugitive cheerleader Claire (Hayden Panettiere) is learning more about her relation to her biological father, Nathan, who is also Peter’s brother.

Blood ties of a biological sort run through Heroes, with Claire’s mother possessing a special power and Niki (Ali Larter) and D.L. (Leonard Roberts) the parents of a third hero, Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey).

In next week’s episode, Hiro sees an alternate reality five years into the future, with New York devastated and a government that hunts down people with extraordinary abilities. The question: Can they go back and prevent this dark future? Then the final three lead up to the heroes’ conclave in the finale: “How to Stop an Exploding Man.”

Then there’s the blood. “We have a little body count here toward the end,” Kring says.

Along with the big resolution, the finale will include smaller cliffhangers regarding the characters’ fates.

“People are really going to freak out,” says Greg Grunberg, whose Matt Parkman has the unenviable ability to hear others’ thoughts. In the finale, “there’s a moment of dialogue that’s one of the creepiest moments of the series, and there’s something revealed that sets the stage for the entire second season.”

It wouldn’t take Parkman’s mind-reading skill to hear the internal sighs of relief at fourth-place NBC, which desperately needed a new hit. For the season, Heroes is tied for 17th in viewers (14.8 million) and seventh in young adults (8.6 million), the most important group to advertisers. It held up after the winter break and beat Fox’s 24 head-to-head in both categories.

Kring says the pods have been great for storytelling, focusing the series into acts and providing opportunity for cliffhangers. But seven weeks is a long hiatus, and Heroes comes back facing ABC’s hit Dancing With the Stars. “We’re all on pins and needles to see how the audience reacts,” Kring says.

For Parkman and his fellow heroes, comic-book powers can be a gift and a curse, giving them the ability to save the world even as they are poked and prodded by a mysterious organization and killed and consumed by “anti”-hero Sylar. “It is, ‘Be careful what you wish for,’ ” says Grunberg.

For the actors, Heroes’ success is an unqualified joy, perhaps a bit surprising because of its offbeat theme, expensive production and arrival at a time of serialized glut.

“As a guy who watches television, I know we’re making good TV. But I had no expectations it was going to be this wide-reaching success,” Ventimiglia says.

Drama beats heroics

As the heroes have adjusted to their powers in fits and starts, some have struggled over what to use them for, as evidenced by reluctant flyboy Nathan and mirror twins Niki/Jessica, a battle of light and darkness in the same person.

Ventimiglia describes Peter going from “a guy who hasn’t fully harnessed his abilities” to a man who attains the confidence to try to save the world. It also puts him in a better position to take on Sylar, a character with similar powers.

“It’s not just running around doing good things. People stumble with their powers. They don’t always do the right thing. Life is in the gray,” Larter says.

Jack Coleman — whose Horn-Rimmed Glasses, aka H.R.G., went from a guest appearance to a fan favorite — says that focus on the characters, described as “everyday people with extraordinary abilities,” has helped lift Heroes from comic-book cult status to mainstream hit. “One of the real accomplishments with this show is that it’s very easy to forget you’re dealing with people with superhuman abilities and really get into the human drama of the characters.”

The heightened state of Heroes can nevertheless resonate in the real world, Quinto says. “Even though the context of the themes is comic book-esque, themes of people awakening to their own power and using it to save the world for good instead of evil are relevant in the world we live in today,” he says.

The powers have behind-the-scenes stories, too. Ventimiglia says Kring nailed down Peter’s empathic powers, making him “potentially the most powerful of the heroes,” months after the pilot was shot. Grunberg is amused by a person with wireless and downloading powers, a hero for these times.

Roberts loves the intersection of the characters, as in a scene where D.L. and Hiro meet as they save a crash victim. “Everybody was thinking, ‘What other combinations can we come up with?’ ”

The actors see the possibility for many heroic stories, with new characters, combinations and even origin stories. “This is the end of the first chapter,” Ramamurthy says. “It’s limitless.”

(Thanks to SpoilerTV through USA Today)


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