Heroes: Season Four (2009) Review
(More customer reviews)Season four of Heroes had the show taking steps back in the right direction. After the disaster of the past two seasons, the show titled this season "Redemption" to try and earn some respect back. In my mind, they did earn redemption. This season wasn't as good as season one, but Heroes was fun to watch again. Heroes hasn't been fun at all since season one. This season finally started to organically develop the characters again and introduced many new characters I enjoyed.
This season starts a few months after season three, and all of the characters are dealing with the repercussions. (spoiler) For instance, after pushing Nathan's mind into Sylar's body, Sylar is now trapped in Matt's head. Sylar for the first half of the season tried to get back into his body, and along the way insults Matt in the most hilarious ways possible. (end spoiler) These guys together was one of the best parts of the season. The new characters this season are all very cool, which is something that hasn't happened for a long time with Heroes. We get to see the main villain Samuel Sullivan (played by the ever charming Robert Knepper) develop over the season and we see how and why he develops his evil plan near the end of the season. My favorite new character this season was Emma, a deaf file clerk at Peter's hospital who develops synesthesia (the ability to see sound as color). Her and Peter's relationship was another highpoint of the season. I really liked how this season focused on the characters instead of another generic "Let's save the world again guys!" story like they've been doing for a while now.
The story also slowed down this season into something smaller and digestible. Instead of trying to cram everyone's storyline into one episode, this season only included about 2-3 in each episode. This allowed the individual stories more time to develop and slowed the pace down to something enjoyable. When watching this season on TV it was too slow when there was a week in between each episode, but I recently streamed the season on Netflix and the pacing was much better when watched back to back. There was a real slowdown mid-season though that did kill the momentum that the season had been building before then. Watching it on TV, this slowdown was painful to watch week after week and I wondered if Heroes' return to quality was only temporary. It was as if they had only created enough story for 13 episodes but then had to stretch it out into 18 episodes. After this lull in pacing though the season picks right back up and finishes with the best season finale of the show yet.
I don't want to spoil this season for those who haven't seen it yet, but suffice to say the turn around Heroes has done in quality this season is almost unbelievable. For a while there Heroes was one of the worst shows on television, but this season managed to crank out material that was lots of fun to watch. The people giving this season one star have stopped caring for Heroes long before season four started. These people are suffering from disappointment, which is worse than being bad at first and then getting better. Heroes was great at first, and people invested time and money in it expecting it to get better. However, Heroes got worse and worse. People are now bitter about the show and aren't willing to give it a chance. If you are willing to give this season a shot, you will see how much better Heroes has gotten.
Update 05/16/2010: Heroes has been canceled. While it's sad the show has been canceled on its rebound, it's not surprising considering how awful the second and third seasons were. In the second season, the characters puttered around and things moved very slowly. In the first few episodes a lot of nothing happened. It slowly picked up as the season went along, but then the writer's strike hit and they gave us a crappy wrap up as a result. The worst part was (spoiler) they forgot Peter's girlfriend in the future. I know she was probably erased or something when the timeline changed, but it made no impact on Peter what-so-ever in the third season. (end spoiler)
In complete contrast, the first volume of the third season had the characters running around at a frantic pace doing everything under the sun. The worst part about it was that they didn't have very good continuity between episodes. It produced entertaining individual episodes, but as a whole the volume made no sense. The second volume of season three was much better than the first. It had a central storyline to focus on and slowed the pace down. On the flip-side it took a few episodes to find its feet, and the finale was god awful. (spolier) They focused on Claire and the door during the huge Sylar/Nathan/Peter fight?!?! You teased us in the first season finale, but now you actually have it and do the entire thing off screen? There is no excuse for something that stupid. I almost quit Heroes when they had that as the "big climax" of the season. Thank goodness I didn't. (end spoiler) In the end, although it was much better than season two and first half of season three, it only managed to be decent.
It has been said time and time again, but it is true: Heroes had huge potential but wasted a lot of it. From characters dying and coming back to life inexplicably (How many times did Nathan die?) to running around in circles for storylines (they held on to that future painting gimmick for a seemingly endless amount of time), Heroes just never lived up to what it wanted to be. Seasons one and four are good, and the second half of season three is OK, but the rest is just garbage.
I'll probably do a more complete review of Heroes as a whole when they release a complete series box set, but this is already a good summary of what went wrong with Heroes. Despite being canceled, Heroes isn't quite dead yet. NBC is making plans for a two-hour TV movie to wrap up the series, so we will get more closure than the season four finale offers (which does serve as a decent series finale if the TV movie falls through). Although Heroes is gone, which most people would say is for the better, it has undeniably left a mark on sci-fi television and pop culture in general.
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Experience all the intrigue and suspense of Heroes: Season 4 in this 5-disc set that includes all 18 gripping episodes from the fourth season\'s volume, Redemption. As the Heroes mourn fallen friends and face dangerous new foes, prepare for a wild ride — filled with shocking twists and turns — through an ominous funhouse that culminates in a Brave New World. Then step right up and explore hours of exclusive, behind-the-curtain magic with the show\'s writers, stars and artists.