The ”Greatest American Hero” critiques ”Heroes”
I’m happy to report there’s not one caped or spandex-clad individual in this superhero drama. Heroes is more X-Files than Superman, more Hitchcock than Stephen J. Cannell (who was, of course, the creator of The Greatest American Hero). It’s a brooding mystery thriller that leads us down a rabbit hole with no bottom. The heroes are complicated young people finding their way in an already complicated world — and, like my character, they lack a basic instruction manual. When the cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere) awakens to the realization that she’s impervious to physical harm, it puts a whole different spin on the age-old teenage question ”Who am I?” But even more interesting than watching these folks discover secrets about themselves is seeing how the writers weave the story lines together into a tapestry as complicated as any black widow’s web. Just as you think you have the show figured out, it goes in a completely different direction. While the flying scenes are less effective to me — maybe I’m prejudiced as a former airborne supe — the other special F/X are clever, seamless, and help to drive the story forward. Altogether, it’s great television. I wish I were part of it.