Saturday, June 16, 2007

Save the cheerleader!

Ah the joys of narrative complexity! Heroes is a hoot because it plays the game according to the new rules laid down by Lost.

Flashbacks, flash-forwards, precognition and visually-rich dream sequences are all encouraged, as are whole epsodes where the main plane of plot development is either abandoned or bent back on itself.

Evil is elusive, rarely represented by a single antagonistic individual or force. And some of the forces of antagonism may not be malign as such.

Meanwhile some of the good guys are themselves morally compromised and others acquire personal objectives that may conflict with their pals.

Sometimes the viewer knows something that some or all of the characters don't, but there is nearly always a big fat mystery (and several little ones) present in every scene. Peculiar circumstances are allowed to remain unexplained for many weeks.

It is safe to assume that there is, at any one time, at least one really significant fact about each character that the scriptwriters have withheld from the viewer.

Some characters die properly, others don't.

I thought Invasion was a fun series, but perhaps one of the reasons it failed to appeal to the Lost audience was that it didn't always show the convert's zeal for these new commandments.

All told it's practically a new art form, suitable primarily for long-session small screen viewing. When cinema directors try to adopt this narrative style, the results are often confusing to anyone that doesn't watch enough television.

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