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"Heroes" and "The Nine" – Early Reviews

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2006-09-18


I couldn’t wait to see the pilot episode to the series Heroes, set to premiere this fall on NBC. Unfortunately, Heroes wasn’t worth the wait.

In Heroes, people all over the world (which means mostly in the United States) are slowly discovering that they have special abilities far beyond that of mortal men. An office worker in Japan teaches himself to bend-time and teleport, an artist in America learns of his ability to paint things that have yet to happen, an Unbreakable teen in Texas discovers that she’s practically indestructible while a mother in Las Vegas sees an evil version of herself in a mirror.

Which is interesting, except there was virtually no underlying story to go along with all these seemingly random events. There’s an X-Files like government conspiracy vibe running through the show and characters keep unknowingly running into each other throughout the episode (*cough* Lost *cough*) but other than the discovery of their special powers there’s not all that much of an underpinning story.

According to a bit of narration at the start of the episode, these “heroes” will one day join together to fight some sort of greater evil. So is that the story? Or is the story about these people living with their powers in a world that can’t accept them (X-Men)? What about super villains? Is this more Spider-Man or Unbreakable in tone? I’ve seen the first hour of Heroes (billed as “Chapter 1”) and I’m as in the dark as to what’s going on than before I saw the show.

Unfortunately, Heroes has a lot of sloppy, unfocused, writing and stock characters – drug-addicted artist, snooty Texas cheerleader, charismatic politician… I’ll give Heroes a try for a few episode at least, but my “Spider Senses” tell me that it won’t be long before I’ll be teleporting away from Heroes via my remote control.

Heroes is set to premier Monday, September 25 at 9:00 P.M. on NBC.

Also premiering this fall over on ABC is the series The Nine. In The Nine, a group of nine strangers find their lives intertwined when their paths cross inside a bank during a botched robbery that turns to hostage standoff. 52 hours later, the crisis ends when police storm the bank and the hostages are freed. These nine hostages emerge as changed people into a world that is exactly the same as when they left it just over two days prior.

In this pilot episode, we learn of these characters lives before the robbery, their initial meeting in the bank and then the series flashes forward the 52 hours to the end of the standoff. What exactly transpired in the bank over the last 52 hours will be doled out over future episodes of The Nine.

One problem with the show is that it seems as if just about every one of the characters are hiding some sort of major secret. One is a cop with a gambling problem while another is contemplating suicide. I understand that everyone has their secrets we hide from the outside world, but the hidden secrets in The Nine seemed a bit a bit contrived.

Still, the actual premise of The Nine is extremely interesting; exactly what happened to them over those 52 hours and how will this event affect the rest of their lives? Some of the hostages view the experience as a positive event while others see it as life shattering. Can one ever truly recover from such an emotional trauma?

According to ABC, main crux of the series will again be akin to Lost (a theme of many shows this season) where each week the audience will see a bit more into exactly what happened inside the bank while learning more about how this experience has changed these freed hostages.

The Nine might just be a winner next season and I am genuinely interested in seeing where this all goes. One question, though: surely there can’t be a second season of The Nine, right? How many seasons will viewers stick around to see exactly what happened inside the bank?

The Nine is set to premiere Wednesday, October 4 at 10:00 P.M. on ABC after Lost.

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