Heroes’ Ratings In Sharp Decline

Published 7 years ago by , Updated January 23rd, 2013 at 7:44 pm,

2008 heroes Heroes Ratings In Sharp Decline

The marketing team behind NBC’s superhero drama Heroes spared no expense in getting viewers revved-up for the show’s third season, “Villains,” which promised to correct the turtle-crawl pace of season 2 by delivering a rogues gallery full of super-powered bad guys, along with more of the action-packed throwdowns that made the end of Heroes debut season worth the long journey of 22 episodes.

Well apparently NBC’s money would’ve been better spent on other prime-time fare, because the Nielsen ratings for Heroes are currently falling faster than a drunk girl in heels, with a whopping 22% of its viewership having turned away from the show as of the October 6 episode.

But are the criticisms and complaints about how Heroes has (just barely) unfolded this season as meritorious as they seem? Or is this yet another case of “Joe Sixpack” trying to play amateur critic?

(You’d better believe we will discuss.)

I try not to editorialize too much on this site–even though it is a blog and that’s what blogs are pretty much for. Regardless, I always believe that the best opinion for the public sphere is the even-handed one–an opinion that is at least CONSIDERATE of counterpoints of view that may be out there.

However, in this rare case, in defense of one of the few shows I still truly enjoy, I must draw my daggers.

En Garde.

About a week ago I posted a heated comment after reading Screen Rant‘s own Vic Holtreman’s post: Is Heroes Season 3 Awesome or Ridiculous? (BTW, whenever someone frames a question that way 9 out of 10 times they’re just trying to dress up their negative opinion to look pretty. Can’t fool me.) My tirade basically had to do with the fact that… oh hell, just read it verbatim for yourself:

Kofi Outlaw said,
October 8th, 2008

This season is EXACTLY what we all wanted to see since season 1. You all claim that it was the Characters that made season 1 so special? Have you watched Season 1 recently??? MAJOR CHEESE FACTOR. (“Save the cheerleader, save the world????”) [With S1] We all were waiting for the super-powered showdown to save NYC and even that climax, while good, was a bit underwhelming.

Season 2 was a wash because it took SO long developing the characters and the story arch that we all were like “where’s the action???” That’s why only the last 3 eps of S2 were good, and why the show lost viewers

Now in S3 we have action, we have good twists and turns, good VILLAINS (Marlo from “The Wire?”) and many of you are COMPLAINING ABOUT IT???? It just goes to back up what I always say about TV, which is that the audience doesn’t know WHAT the hell it wants. Everybody is a wannabe critic who thinks they know how it could’ve been better. Write Tim Kring if you feel so strongly, then.

If you’ve “fallen off” the show, good riddance. Go watch Knight Rider while I keep enjoying this thrilling season of a show I enjoy immensely.

While I might’ve betrayed that “objectivity” I pride myself on, I stand by what I said. It is amazing to me that people can have such short memories, or sometimes fail to connect the dots between past and present to see an emerging pattern. To put it simply: Heroes “Villains” is a direct emulation of season 1, only with a much higher ante and weaving a much more intricate pattern, to be revealed (hopefully) in due time.

Ever the Zen master that he is, Vic tried to quell a Screen Rant behind-the-scenes email fight by stating that it is specific elements–convoluted time-hopping plot lines, shallow characters, bad dialogue, blink-and-you-miss-it editing–that are flushing Season 3 down the crapper. Well, if you’re shaking your head in agreement with ol’ Vic’s assertions–if you too are part of the 22% of viewers who are trying to divorce yourself from Heroes at this crucial juncture, may I remind YOU as I reminded Vic:

Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 6:29 PM
S1 was JUST LIKE THIS: Random quick snippets of story and character that slowly (SLOWLY) wove into a purposed design. [DUDE, RANDOMNESS FORMING PURPOSE] WAS THE THEME OF THE WHOLE FIRST SEASON!!! At first, if you remember, an episode was

- Peter/Nathan bromance
- Claire high school angst drama
- Hiro/Ando hijinks
- Nikki gorefest
- Parkman’s cop/family snore fest
- Mohinder’s back and forth and back from India story
- Sylar mystery
- HRG/The Hatian mystery

That was the exact formula

It irks me that the show is going back to basics, and people are now like “it’s too quick-moving, I wish it would go back to basics…”

I mean really: HAS THE WORLD GONE INSANE???? After Season 2 “Generations,” (a season which was never fully developed story-wise, BTW), don’t you think that Heroes needs to be doing a little bit of narrative catch-up? And talk about ‘judging a book by its cover’: tonight’s episode “Angels and Monsters” is only the fifth installment of a twenty-two episode season! That’s more than 3/4 of the story yet to be told!


Why is Linderman in Nathan’s head?

Is Sylar really Peter and Nathan’s brother?

Is the Nikki Sanders/Tracy Strauss triplet storyline going to bear fruit or fall flat on its ass?

Will Peter go “Sith Lord” on everyones’ ass now that he has absorbed Sylar’s murderous “hunger?”

What kind of freak is Mohinder morphing into now that he gave himself the super-shot?

Will we ever truly care about Parkman?

Are Ando and Hiro really going to have to fight to the death, thereby ending TV’s cutest bromance?

What other sadistic villains do Tim Kring and company have waiting in the wings?

(And just try and tell me that the episode where HRG and Sylar teamed up to stop that first batch of villains wasn’t cool. Try and tell me that.)

sylarhrg Heroes Ratings In Sharp Decline

These are all good tidbits of mystery that can potentially blow up into badass episodes–if people give them time to develop properly. Understand: you can’t have an intricate story line develop properly and have it all happen NOW! NOW! NOW! It doesn’t work like that, people. Just ask yourself: how many lingering questions did the first two episodes of “Villains” answer? Is that not the kind of mystery resolution fans had been clamoring for? Trust in the storytellers for god’s sake, they’ve earned that trust!

I’ll end this rant by saying this: while our source, Reel Comix, is quick to point out that this 22% drop does NOT include the number of DVR or online viewers who watch Heroes every week (the final figure will be calculated later), the show’s popularity IS in the steepest decline of its 2.24 season run. That basically means that more people are displeased with “Villains” than they were with “Generations.”  And to me, that is all kinds of wrong.

Finally, take heed comic book fans. Tim Kring is the best thing we’ve got in our corner right now, as far as television is concerned. (Do I need to bring up unpleasant comic book TV shows of the past like Birds of Prey?) And if no one else will say it, I will say it here: Smallville is a joke. And not a funny one.So if you want to see quality comic book dramas on TV anytime in the near future, Heroes cannot flop. Here’s a tag line for you: “Save the show, save comic book TV.”

villains heroes Heroes Ratings In Sharp Decline

Seriously though, if you are displeased with the current direction of Heroes, be steadfast. Pay close attention to what you don’t like in each episode and send Kring and Co. an email. The makers of Heroes have stated in the past that they are exploring new terrain; that they aren’t the biggest comic book savants around; and that fan feedback is an important element of their brainstorming process. So put down the complaints and pick up a purpose and just maybe you’ll get back the Heroes you seem to remember so fondly, without throwing out a beautiful baby along with some dirty bath water.

There, I’ve said my piece. I’m cool now. I calmly await your daggers.

Source: Reel Comix

TAGS: Heroes
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  1. the indian dude turning into sum kind of mutant spider is ridiculous. as for killing off adam monroe….

  2. This might seem nitpicky, or like something that no one else cares about, but since everyone else is leaving their opinions, I figured: why not? Someone stated earlier that we should write Tim Kring about improvements to the show. I’m all down for this because I’d planned to do that anyway. Here’s my beef: As a serious fan who has a little problem with the convoluted nature the show has taken on, nothing disappoints me more that the lack of diversity in women currently on the show. I’m an African-American young woman, and one of the things that initially drew me to the show (besides it’s all-around awesomeness) was its VAST diversity of people. Anybody could watch it and see a bit of “Hero” reflected in itself (I know that sounded cliche and cheese-tastic, but it’s true!).

    Now, as far as the men are concerned, the diversity is still there: Mohinder, Hiro, the black guy who can manipulate fear, the African apocalyptic painter, the Italian Petrelli family…even Vortex Guy was what I’d call “Ethnically ambiguous.” But if this show was a representation of “ordinary people,” then that definition as it applies to women (in THIS season)requires you to be Caucasian and blond: Claire, Claire’s real and adopted moms, Elle, The Flash Girl, the Niki Combo…the ONLY woman of color left on the show is Maya, and we haven’t seen very much of her.

    It wasn’t always this way… I remember Simone (I think that was her name; Issac’s Girlfriend), but she was killed off so fast, as you can see, I can barely remember her name. Then can SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED TO MONICA?! She had super bad-assed power! She can watch something and then just know how to do it immediately? You can’t tell me that’s not bad-assed…especially when she pulled that wrestling move on those dudes holding up the restaurant way back when. I LOVED her, and it was as if her character just evaporated into thin air! There’s been no mention of what even happened to her…season 3 just began like she was never there. I have to say, as a black woman watching the show, that was REALLY disheartening. I haven’t stopped watching because I truly love the show and believe that there’s nothing else on tv like it, but is it too much to ask for some more women on the show who don’t look like Barbie? I’ll be writing Kring about it…

  3. Ooops…I meant, “…anybody could watch it and see a bit of “Hero” reflected in THEMSELVES.” LOL

  4. I’m with you, Kofi. I just wrote about this in my blog, and used you for inspiration.

    This is my first time watching this show – I tried a couple times last season and lost interest, and the only reason I started this time is because Brea Grant is an acquaintance of mine (or was three years ago), and I was curious to see her as an actress.

    But I love watching heroes turn into villains. Everyone who said “How about we have good guys and bad guys and watch them fight?” has no clue how to tell a story. Is that less predictable than “Hiro teleports back to right before he gets punched out in the bar …”? (Congrats … you hit the nail on the head there … aren’t you so proud?)

    No, I want to watch these guys create their own destinies in the most ordinary way possible – as petulant and arrogant human beings who have no concept of just how much hubris their power has given them.

    I’m scheduled to be a Nielson reviewer sometime soon, and I’m with this show until the end.

  5. I like watching characters not act completely out of character. Which is what makes this season a disappointment. People do radically change to the degrees that they have in heroes.

  6. @MizzCash

    I never thought about that but on the most part, you’re right. The only mutated females this season who are not blond are Mrs. Petrelli and Maya, who lost her powers to father Petrelli. I think the girl who could do what she saw was killed in a fire, but I didn’t have my gensing today so I might be mistaken. :-)

    I think they should introduce other female mutants who are of different races, like the men.

  7. >>”That basically means that more people
    >>are displeased with “Villains” than they
    >>were with “Generations.” And to me,
    >>that is all kinds of wrong.”

    That is just a completely incorrect statement. I know many people who were extremely displeased with season 2, but decided to give season 3 a shot before quitting the shot. Many people are willing to forgive one bad season, but not two in a row.

  8. Meh I enjoyed seasons 2 more than season 3. Season 2 made sense the characters made sense the plot made sense and it was very story and character driven. This season is ridiculous with all the side switching and acting out of character moments. Season one was great season 2 was pretty good and season three is terrible.

  9. @John “Kahless” Taylor

    Thank you so much for your agreement! :) As for Monica, I could have sworn at the end of season 2, the last we saw of her was with the little boy, Micah (Niki’s son…by the way, where is HE?!) and they watched outside in horror while the building burned that had Niki inside it. I THINK. That’s the last time I remember seeing her.

  10. It’s kinda like Spider-Pig in the Simpson’s Movie. What ever happened to that little pink guy?

  11. It’s because a good story is a good story, and the story itself will draw people to watch it. Things logically will add up, and if the writing is truly good, and if there are really things of value to see within the story it will earn a dedicated following. But if the story isn’t done well, and if it’s not well written, and the job has not been done correctly then people will be lost, and no longer want to see the story.
    If you read Story and Stucture by Laurence Perrine he goes over fiction, and story writing and the study of it. He talks about the things that writers should know when writing a story. He talks about it’s okay to begin a story with a coincidence or with chance, and that all the ready or watcher in this case requires is a logical progression from the beginning of the story. But if the story ends on coincidence and ends in chance it’s far more likely to lose the reader, and for the reader to no longer believe in the story. They question and say “He would have never done that.” That’s not consistent with that person’s character. So instead of being able to completely believe in the story the watcher is filled with doubt and an inability to take the story seriously because it was not written well.
    People that watch shows don’t know what makes a good story, or why one story is better then another, but for some reason just like a well written song, there is something about a good story that resonates on the inside and makes them want to keep watching. So don’t blame the watcher’s there honestly is just something about this season and some events that are happening that seem like this stories been tampered with. That’s it’s not real. Certain characters that are not plausible and believable. Character’s who used to be believable but now because of choices the writers have made the characters no longer seem real. Seem like themselves. They are doing things, and acting in ways that are not consistant with the characters from the original season. We find ourselves saying things like “He would of never done that” Every good person doesn’t become evil. In fact the way Peter was it doesn’t even seem plausible that his character or Clairs for that matter had the possible of even becoming evil. Which is what made us want to watch the first season so much. What to see how these good people overcame their problems. Then Sylar was an amazing villian in the first, a Villian you could seriously respect. and when he did what he did they were all consistent with who he was. So many characters in this show are doing thing that are not consistent with who we knew and know them to be. That’s what’s destroying this show, that’s what’s causing people to say I don’t need to follow this anymore. Because I no longer care, or believe in the characters, they’re doing things that I know a person like that wouldn’t do. Good fiction is suppose to reveal truths. It’s suppose to show us things we wouldn’t be able to know otherwise. And these current episodes are very empty. They are like candy, and are escape literature, having little to no substance whereas the first season was full of it. Full of discovery, and the writers of this story seem to have lost their way.
    I will say there are flashes of brilliance. This last week’s episode was pretty good, Claire helping the other electric girl . They just need to be consistant and protect their characters, you can’t change every single character that was good to evil, and then try to change an evil character to good and expect for people to be able to believe that. Maybe if they decided to change one character that would of been nice, but they decided to take most of the characters and explore their dark side. I do think there is hope though and I will continue watching to see what happens.

  12. Uhh, I don’t get all the naysaying. I just recently purchased the dvd’s and have watched the show straight through. I am half way through season 3 and LOVE IT. Season 1 was entertaining and a little goofy camp but had good bones. Season 2 was a huge mess with too many characters/plots that didn’t allow for anyone to have any good development. Season 3 took you right back to what was good about season 1 and then kicked it up a notch. LOVE IT. That doesnt mean it was perfect. Nothing is but the character development was there. The plots were more consistant. For God’s sake people it’s sci-fi if you don’t like where they are taking your fave character don’t worry he’ll be reborn in a couple of eps in a whole new guise. In short, I guess what I’m saying is that while not every ep will please you I would rather take the good with the bad then have no Heroes at all. (mumbles) LOVED season 3.

  13. You really need to study fiction and and the writing of stories so you can understand what truly makes a good story. Why we watch fiction to begin with and what good fiction entails. What captivates audiences and keeps them watching what makes the difference between a great movie that’s interpretive that we can get something from, and a movie or story that is empty and is merely written for entertainment and that there is nothing that can be extracted from it.

    The presence of truth in a well told story and real characters that are plausible, whether they have super powers or not is unable to be ignored. People will actually find it hard not to pay attention, and will find themselves watching a whole show and wanting more. Also when truth is present and the story is good, people don’t even mind watching the story again. The test of whether a story is good or not is whether it’s as good or better the second time through.

    This is why some shows go into syndication with great success and people still want to watch the shows years later. Because the writers wrote a captivating story that presented truths, or characters that presented truths.

    The empty stories are short lived, entertaining and fun the first time, but because they lack substance there really is no reason to watch again. Also the attention of people during the show is unable to kept, people tend to want to turn the channel because subconsciously they can’t believe what there seeing due to bad writing.