Heroes vs. Lost

Today, blog after blog will be discussing the season finale of Lost and a great many of them will be comparing it to Heroes. So I’m going to contribute to the fray with my comparison. Read more for the details.

I’ve been a huge Lost fan for awhile now – since the very first episode of season 1. Season 2 intrigued me – the hatch, Desmond, the orientation videos, the criss-crossing of passenger lives… I was hooked! Season 3 cashed in a lot of that good karma with slow moving reveals and plot-thin/flashback-heavy episodes that moved forward very little. Somewhere along the way, the producers and writers got a little sidetracked – perhaps because they felt compelled to stretch the story out indefinitely with no end in sight. But whatever it was, Lost was losing me as a new show, Heroes, emerged.

Heroes, on the other hand, was a masterpiece for former comic-collectors like me. It was a self-contained storyline, and presumably, the writers knew where they were going with the season since episode 1. I LOVED Heroes, and there were some scenes during this season that inspired the “WTF?!” moments that I was missing from Lost. When HRG (now “Noah Bennett”) had the Haitian shoot him and wipe his memory, I was stunned. I leaned up in bed and said “Holy @%!” And then I wrote this piece on why Heroes was better than Lost. But the funny thing is that, despite my little rant, the episode that I called “just dumb” ended up being crucial to the finale storyline, since Hurley’s appearance in the van dramatically altered the action.

Whatever Lost …er …lost in the mini-season of season 3, it certainly regained the second portion of the latter half. With answers coming faster and faster – facts on the purge, Dharma, Rousseau, Mikhail, the hatches, Jacob, the hostiles, Juliet, etc. – the show picked up and hit its stride. This finale did not end with me being as mesmerized as the incredible season 2 finale, but it certainly gave us a ton of information and raised a slew of new questions. Sadly, I was a little disappointed that I noted Jack’s RAZR-esque cell phone, because it seemed a pretty big detail for the producers to have missed, so I wasn’t caught by surprise when Jack’s story ended up being a “flash forward.”

As far as answers go, this finale probably gave us more understanding into the characters, especially some of the Others, and gave us more plot movements, than any other Lost episode… arguably ever. Even Ben’s flashback – a treasure trove of information – didn’t give us as much action as the finale.

Heroes, on the other hand, is the perfect kind of show to which I can commit. I knew, from the get go, that the writers had said that rather than serialize over years indefinitely, they would wrap up the storyline in one season. To be brief: they did, mostly. Of course, several of the Heroes survived, some improbably, and it looks like many will be back, including Sylar.

As much as I loved Heroes, the fact is, the season final was mostly a snoozer, necessarily. We all knew how it had to end. We knew the bomb had to go off. We knew that it ended in New York. So a lot of it was winding down rather than ramping up to a *one massive cliffhanger.*

Sadly, I was let down by Heroes, though. First of all, some gripes: what in the blue hell was with Peter showing up on the Devereaux building? And when he asked for an explanation, he gets “it doesn’t matter.” What? Do the writers honestly believe that’s enough for us?

Secondly, deaths. Mohinder died. But then didn’t. Peter died, but then didn’t. Claire has died a few times, but then didn’t. Parkman died. DL died. Linderman died. Nathan died. Peter died. Sylar died. But sadly, I don’t buy it. As far as I’m concerned, Tim Kring and crew might bring any of them back, no matter how bizarre the explanation.

And then there’s the issue of action. Heroes has, for most of the season, built up the action only to let me down – big time. Peter from the future, who claims, “I haven’t had a big battle in a while,” fought for 2 seconds without breaking a sweat. The final showdown with Sylar was just pathetic. He smacked Peter around, who, despite having a million powers, decided to… punch him? And not use any other power? Not even invisibility? And Hiro ran Sylar through with a sword from a distance of 10 feet. Can’t Sylar stop time, or bend the sword, or hear him coming from that distance with his super hearing, powers he’s already demonstrated? When Hiro tried to kill him from 2 feet away, he failed, but from 10+ feet, he succeeds. Ih… what?

Then a few things: if the storyline was truly about love, why did Peter have Nathan sacrifice himself, rather than just fly into the stratosphere himself? Or better yet, why didn’t Claire kill Peter in the name of love – romantic love, familial love, whatever? Now THAT would’ve been a shocker. I’m afraid – really afraid – it’s because we’ve been duped and Peter and/or Nathan are both still alive via some scheme the writers have cooked up.

Heroes was a great storyline, but the constant rule bending, improbable actions, and lack of utilizing the powers have left me a little cold. Ultimately, I felt a little cheated by Heroes, and it’s their own doing. The long hiatus from February through late April killed it for me, and I was sold hook, line, and sinker. A hiatus doesn’t work; it actually accomplishes the opposite thing, and often ends with a viewer losing steam. Heroes slowed down as the conclusion approached.

Heroes was a great show marred by some simple problems, bad timing, primarily, amongst them. Lost, on the other hand, has left me on a high note, opening up a big mystery while revealing a ton of information. While I enjoyed the entire season of Heroes, I’m remembering it in my head with some disappointment. While I was often frustrated with Lost, I’m looking back on it with satisfaction. With more and more viewers turned off by serialized drama that may or may not see a conclusion, Lost is doing right by its fans now by giving us breadcrumbs of the mystery while keeping the questions coming at a digestible rate.

This season goes to Lost. For the sake of the 12 million plus loyal viewers, I hope I can say the same for next season.

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