Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What I'm Watching -- Prison Break and Heroes

So after attending yet another Detroit Tigers loss last night (and another tonight as a matter of fact, not a loss (well, not for sure a loss) but a game) I finally caught up this afternoon on yesterday's second episode of Prison Break's season and the season premiere of Heroes. After watching all of the bonus features and listening to all the actor/writer/producer commentaries on the Heroes DVD s over the past month or so, I was ready for the start of the new season. And how was it? Good but underwhleming. But, since Prison Break is broadcast earlier, let's deal with that episode first.

Despite sluggish ratings its first two weeks Prison Break has gotten off to a great start in its third season. The show has consistently improved from season-to-season and this year is no different. The problem I had with the first season, despite thinking it was great, was that Michael was two steps ahead of everyone. Sure, he had a slight problem with the false break-out early in the first season, and some other problems along the way, but nothing seemed to really phase him. Season Two, with the introduction of Mahone, the FBI agent on the trial of Michael and Lincoln and the rest of the gang, upped the ante, because in many ways, Mahone was Michael's intellectual equal. It was a fair fight. This year, with the introduction of Lechero, SONA's prisoner/dictator, Michael has to think even more outside the box than he has in the past. Monday's episode, with the potential death of Whistler, the man Michael must help break out of SONA, was exciting, and only two episodes into the season we're already well underway. More people need to start watching this show, because it is continuously improving.

As for Heroes, the season premier was good, but certainly not great. Even airing with limited commercial interruption, it seemed they tried to pack too much into the little less than an hour that they had. Obviously, things have changed in the past four months (Matt Parkman survived his attack from Sylar, is living with Mohinder and caring for Molly after divorcing his wife, Nathan is a drunk and (not in Congress? Maybe in Congress?) after saving New York from his brother Peter, who showed up at the end of the episode in Ireland with no memory, Claire and her family have relocated and gone underground, and Mohinder is working with HRG to take down the Company from the inside) and they introduced a few new characters as well. It almost seemed like too much. And I hated how they handled the death of Hiro's father. The storyline of people going after the first generation of Heroes (or, maybe the "older" generation is more accurate) is fine. But how it actually came off, with a small masked figure tackling George Takei off the famed Heroes rooftop wasn't great. Maybe the masked-person seemed too small or non-threatening but it was somewhat mediocre for such a large and important death and story-point.

I did, though, like Hiro's storyline in feudal Japan. Having David Anders play Hiro's hero Takezo Kensei is an interesting but really intrigued choice and his character, as a drunk Englishman who somehow becomes a legendary Japanese hero, adds all sorts of interesting directions for them to go. And as a big Alias fan back in the day, Anders, who was great as Sark, should be good to go here. Curiously, the California born Anders, who played a British con-man on Alias, and is now playing a British con-man on Heroes, is doing so with a completely different British accent than he had on Alias. It should be fun to see Hiro try to "coach-up" his own hero and how he'll interact with Ando in the future.

Overall, a good start, but hopefully it'll get better, and less cluttered and rushed, in weeks to come (but with such a big cast and so many storylines, it may be hard to do so).

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