Digital News Report- NBC’s Sci-fi smash hit Heroes premiered in September 2006 to an average of 14.2 million viewers per episode. The second season, which was disrupted by a Hollywood writer’s strike, dropped to an average of 13.1 viewers per episode. Numbers have slowly been declining ever since with the current season three average at 8.6 million viewers per episode.
In November 2008, NBC fired Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb from the production staff of Heroes reportedly due to creative differences and budget problems. In December it was announced that Bryan Fuller, whose ABC series Pushing Daisies has been all but canceled, has signed on a two-year contract to NBC. He will rejoin the Heroes writing staff before the end of Season 3. Tim Kring promises that these changes will bring about a stronger focus on character development and story telling.
Fans have criticized the show for seemingly repeating plot elements over and over again leading to a stale and repetitive narrative. For example, Claire, the indestructible (former) cheerleader seems to constantly be in flux between feeling that her father is too over protective and not paying enough attention to her. Perhaps this can be dismissed as simply an indecisive teenager, but there is no such excuse for the constant gain and loss of Peter’s powers. Such repetitive plot elements have led some to abandon the show as they’ve felt they’ve seen these stories before in both season one and two.
Other criticisms have targeted the rather choppy writing of season two. This has often been attributed to the writer’s strike, which cut the season down from 24 episodes to 11. Some point out that regardless of the shortened seasons, things such as Claire’s sudden and inexplicable relationship, Peter’s amnesia, and Hiro’s disconnection from the main plot for the majority of the season would have happened anyway and could have even been worse with the full season.
With the drastic changes, one can only hope for the excitement and appeal of season one will return. I’m sure that’s one thing that both fans and NBC executives can agree on