Holding out for a hero

Farah El Alfy
6 Min Read

What is it we love so much about a hero? Putting that word in any title seems to guarantee a hit, whether a movie (remember “Accidental Hero? ) a song (think Enrique Iglesias, Bonnie Tyler or Mariah Carey) or a TV Show.

NBC’s “Heroes (2006) has created a stir around the world, drawing in more and more viewers. Egypt is no exception. Whether they wait impatiently to watch it on satellite, eagerly download each episode or lazily buy the complete first season on DVD (available in the black market only a phone call away), Egyptian audiences have been bitten by the Heroes bug.

The show is entertaining, funny, mystifying, somewhat romantic and highly dramatic at times. But there are more important elements that make this show stand out from similar wannabe superhero stories. The key behind the show’s success is mixing a gorgeous cast with well-developed contemporary filmmaking and an intriguing concept: almost each character possesses a hidden supernatural power.

In the first season, we get to know each character’s “special gift – some embrace their power while others hide it.

One of the main characters is Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), a pretty blonde cheerleader from Texas that has the power to heal – she is physically indestructible. Then there’s Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), an adorable Japanese geek who can bend time, going back and forward, freezing time and teleporting himself and his sidekick Ando anywhere in the world. Then of course, there’s everyone’s favorite character (mine anyway), Peter Petrelii (Milo Ventimiglia): The man who loves unconditionally and is willing to repeatedly risk his life to save the world. He has the power to absorb other’s special abilities, making him one powerful hero.

Worth mentioning is Nikki/ Jessica Sanders (Ali Larter) an alluring tall blond that gives a new definition to multiple personality disorder. One side is a weak devoted mother trying to survive, the other is a savage, money-hungry murderer.

The cast is rich with a child who can communicate with computers, a man who walks through walls, a flying politician and much more.

At first glance, the characters could very well be part of any popular television show. They are young, fit and attractive. However, you quickly realize that they can only be part of Heroes, a show that traverses fantasy, reality and science.

Like a comic book with fantastic colors and a perfect cast, the show is put together brilliantly. The episodes are called chapters and seasons are marked as volumes. Subtitles appear in every scene identifying the characters and their location.

One of the strengths of the show is how the characters come together at different times and spaces. In the first season, they join forces to stop a disaster from happening in New York.

That’s no easy task and they face one obstacle after another, not least of which is the villains who enjoy some unique destructive powers of their own. Syler, one of the main antagonists, has the ability to take their powers by cutting their heads open. He gets stronger as he accrues more of their abilities.

The mysterious Mr Linderman, a casino mobster we know very little about, is another seedy baddie who seems to want to stop their heroic efforts. Many of the characters – both good and evil – are linked to him.

Claire’s father is one suspicious character. He seems to be working for an organization that captures “special people, and it remains unclear whether he s a good guy or bad guy.

Several main characters are killed along the way, which leaves you wondering who will make it to the end.

There are also others who help the heroes. Dr Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a geneticist from India, warns them of possible dangers they may face due to their powers.

The first half of the first season leaves room for many potential love stories, but none blossom as the main focus shifts to the young heroes’ struggle to stay alive and save the world.

Hopefully, the second season will have a more romantic spin.

The world created by Tim Kring has appealed to people everywhere, crossing cultures and boundaries. Maybe one thing we all have in common is the fantastic dream of having supernatural powers.

The real villains in “Heroes are not Syler or Linderman – it’s those evil cliff-hangers that leave audiences anxiously awaiting the next episode.

With seven episodes out from the second season so far, we will soon see whether the writers can continue to come up with storylines as exciting as the powers of these unlikely heroes.

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