The fourth season of Heroes premiered on September 21, 2009. In its first season, Heroes was beloved by critics and viewers, all of whom are sadder and wiser now.
Just The Facts
- Heroes is a science-fiction television series airing Monday nights on NBC. The plot centers around a bunch of super-powered people, most of whom are young and freakishly attractive.
- The Season Four premiere of Heroes had 6.1 million viewers. By comparison, the Season Two premiere in 2007 had 14.1 million viewers. Many factors contributed to this precipitous ratings decline, most of them having something to do with the show being sort of crappy these days.
- One of the main villains in the new season is played by Darth Maul, thus suggesting that Season Four will be the Phantom Menace of Heroes.
- This is distressing to fans who were hoping that the terrible Season Three was the Phantom Menace of Heroes, and that this season would be more like one of the other, less-awful Star Wars prequels.
- The Heroes Season Four premiere was universally admired by fans of blatant Guitar Hero product placement.
Stolen from the desk of one of the Heroes staff writers:
TO: Heroes writing staff
FROM: Tim Kring, Executive Producer
RE: Season Four Premiere!!!
Hey, everybody, it's time to start brainstorming ideas for the opening episode of Season Four. Since last year's tactic of liquoring up a half-dozen chimpanzees and setting them loose at a typewriter didn't work out too well, I guess this time we're just going to have to write the script ourselves, huh?
First order of business: We need some cool new villains. Apparently viewers are still miffed that Volume Three, titled "Villains", failed to introduce a single memorable bad guy. And they're distinctly grumpy about how we turned our resident sadistic, psychotic, brain-stealing serial killer into a ziti-baking, waffle-making, Elle-dating, Peter-rescuing weenie with daddy issues. Let's play it safe and just swipe some already-established villains. Like whatshisname, T-Bag from Prison Break. He was pretty badass. And... I don't know. Someone cool. Darth Vader, maybe. Can we get Darth Vader? How about Darth Maul? Darth Maul's probably available, right? Darth Maul and T-Bag. I like it. We'll make them carnies. Everybody knows Carnies = True Ultimate Evil. They should probably have super-powers, but we'll figure that part out later. Just make sure Darth Maul gets into lots of cool knife fights.
Never underestimate the bond between evil carnies.
If there's one thing we know, it's that viewers love Claire. She's a normal, everyday teenager -- just like many of our viewers! -- only she's much, much more special. You know what viewers of an action-oriented sci-fi series about people with cool super-powers really want to see? Lots of scenes of some teenager adjusting to life at college. We'll have scenes of Claire meeting her new roommate, scenes of Claire taking an algebra placement test, scenes of Claire's dad visiting her on campus, scenes of Claire's mom visiting her on campus, scenes of Claire striking up a friendship with some random creepy girl... Oh! Here's a thought: This might be a good place to wedge in some product placement for our awesome new sponsor, Guitar Hero. Only we have to be totally unobtrusive and subtle about it. You remember in the first few seasons how we sneakily worked in all those lines of dialogue how Nissans are, like, the most totally rad car you could ever possibly hope to drive? I bet no one ever guessed Nissan was one of our sponsors! Same principle here: We just need to write a scene where Claire rocks out to Guitar Hero. Make it a really long scene, just so viewers can see how fun and awesome Guitar Hero is to play.
So Sylar killed Nathan Petrelli in last season's finale, and now Nathan is actually Sylar, only I don't know if viewers will figure that out, since nobody watched last season. Maybe we should have Nathan turn to the camera at some point and say, "You know, I'm actually Sylar now," just so viewers get the message. Or we could show Nathan sitting in his office, moving coffee mugs with his mind and shooting blue electricity from his hands. I'm pretty sure that's what United States Senators really do all day long anyway, so that'll add some gritty realism.
Everyone keeps nagging us about how much better the show was back in the first season, so let's press the ol' reset button on Matt Parkman and stick him back in his Season One plotline: He'll be back in Los Angeles, back in that naggy marriage everybody enjoyed so much the first time around, back working as an LAPD cop. Um, no one's going to remember that Matt was kicked out of the LAPD for telling absurd lies about being able to read minds, right? That's not going to look like a gaping plot hole or anything, is it?
Peter Petrelli... I don't know. What was he last season, a nurse? A paramedic? Paramedics are cool, right? Why don't we have him still doing that? Hey, does anyone remember what Peter's power is these days? Is it still that same power-absorbing shtick, or did we change it? We changed it, right? Didn't we? I'm sorry, I get so confused. So much random crap happened last season, it's hard to keep track. Like how we made Peter and Sylar brothers for a while. That was weird, huh? Let's make sure we never mention that again.
Tracy's hot. No confusion there. Is she good? Is she evil? Have we figured that out yet? Eh, never mind. We'll wing it. Let's hook her up in a sizzling new relationship with one of our other regular characters. Noah Bennet, maybe. He's divorced now, right? His wife dumped him, didn't she? I've kind of blanked out the second half of last season. It's weird. I mean, I know I watched all those episodes -- hey, I even wrote some of them! -- but it's just this huge empty void in my brain. Yeah, maybe Darth Maul could knife Bennet, and maybe Tracy could visit him in the hospital, and then something sexy could happen between them. Like... they could share a cup of clam chowder or something. Chowder is sexy, right?
In a crazy, mixed-up universe, Tracy is still hot.
So we had some complaints about how Hiro and Ando were too wacky and silly last season (I've even heard the word "pointless" bandied about in reference to their plotline, which hurts, frankly. There was a strong, crucial plot purpose behind having them randomly stop that random wedding in India. I'm almost sure of it). Let's shut up all of our critics by giving them a super-serious plotline this season. I know! Hiro's dying! Doesn't get much more serious than that, does it? In your face, critics! Yeah, Hiro's got a terminal disease, and he wants to spend his last days correcting his past wrongs. So he goes back in time and changes the course of history, thus shredding holes in the delicate fabric of the space-time continuum, all so he can... make sure Ando gets laid. With Hiro's sister. That's not weird or anything, is it?
Hiro and Ando: Bringing the zany to a plotline about terminal illness.
Guys, we've got a problem: Apparently viewers didn't respond well to Mohinder last season, even though Mohinder has beautiful eyes and mile-long lashes and thick wavy hair and a smile that makes angels have orgasms and a voice like the kind of honey butter you'd use on freshly-baked corn muffins... Look, point is, viewers aren't feeling Mohinder. Dunno why. It's probably not because we turned him into a gross, scale-covered, evil, crazy bug-man who could make cocoons out of his own bodily excretions last season, right? I'm pretty sure that plotline was a success. Whatever the reason, we've got to do some damage control. Here's the plan: Starting with the premiere, we won't show Mohinder or mention anything about his current whereabouts. Then we're going to cross our fingers, squeeze our eyes shut, and wish very, very hard that no one remembers he used to be on the show.
I feel good about this. This feels right. I think we're finally on the right track, like we're finally going to produce an episode worthy of our critically-acclaimed debut season. Yeah, I know, I know, I said the exact same thing at the start of last season, and at the start of the season before that, but I mean it this time. Really. I mean, look at it this way: The super-awesome thing about falling so far is that the only way to go from here is up, right?