Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On the return of an old friend who was sorely missed.

As much as I ADORE Pushing Daisies, I am soooo happy to see Bryan Fuller back on Heroes.

He made his return to the series during the production of last week's episode, and wrote this week's installment, "Cold Snap". In one week, the show is back on track.

I haven't gotten actively excited about the show in months. This is is the first time in longer yet that I was actively talking back to the screen. This woman at work and I used to get together Tuesday morning and go over the episode, chatting about what happened, who did what, real watercooler stuff. She got laid off a couple months back, and this is the first day i actively missed her because it's the first time in I don't know how long that I actively wanted to talk about the episode.

Bryan Fuller is the diseased maniac behind the aforementioned delight Pushing Daisies, the great missed opportunity Wonderfalls and basic cable darling Dead Like Me. He was responsible for possibly the best episode of Heroes to date ("Company Man") and was widely considered the show's heart. Now that ABC lost faith in Daisies, his dance card was open again and he was welcomed back to Heroes with open arms.

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

He hit the ground running. "Cold Snap" got all the problems the show had been having out of the way like a fast gun of the gas pedal will blow all the buildup out of your engine with a frightening "KA-BLOWWWW!"

First off, no more Poor Powerless Hiro trying to live vicariously through Ando, who had a power that didn't quite make sense to the average user. Thanks to Matt Parkman Jr's new ability to "activate" things, Hiro's got the ability to stop time back. Alas, like Peter Petrelli, he's been nerfed, as he can't (yet) teleport through time and space, but at least he's back on the board. Yes, we get that you can be a hero without powers, but now that he knows that, leaving him without powers was just annoying.

Similarly, Ando, whose power was to be able to buff other Abilities, himself got buffed, as he can now hurl bolts of power. How did it happen? Who knows, who cares? He touched himself, maybe. (Oh, grow up...)

Secondly, after weeks of Matt Parkman (Senior) pining after Daphne like a little puppy, Fuller finally made the relationship worth something, just in time to take it away. Brilliant scene. Damn close to tearing up.

Similarly, Nikki (Ali Larter) finally got out of the hotbox and DID something. Once again, a great scene, followed by a quick removal. Don't fret, Ali Larter fans; people who suffered through season two will recall there were THREE sisters, so we ought to be meeting the third any time now. Hmm...they've been saying the Big bad of Season Four would be a female villain...

Angela Petrelli got another chance to shine in the episode, primarily in a short scene with Daisies alumna Swoosie Kurtz, playing a woman friend of Angela's (and, I'm betting, her sister.)

Over and above everything else, the one thing that made this episode work was the emotion. You really felt for the characters again, something that simply wasn't there in a long while.

Advice to the executives of NBC - do not let Bryan Fuller leave. Bind him to you with promises. Offer him anything. Keep him on this show. I can't think of such a precipitous drop of the quality of a series after a writer left than Michael O'Donoghue leaving SNL.

HOW in the hell did I not figure out who Rebel was? There's really only one answer - I Just Didn't Care. Were I more invested in the story, I'd have probably spent more time figuring it out. But on the whole, my last few months of watching Heroes has been on the level of "Well, it's been good so far, maybe it'll get better. Like Larry Miller's comparison to a stagnant relationship, I was taking the milk out of the fridge, noting it was sour, and putting it back, thinking "Maybe it'll be fresh tomorrow".

Well this week, I opened the carton, and found it was filled with ice cream.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Heroes is back. Get on board.

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