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. Regarding the title of my previous post, yes, I was wondering if Heroes had jumped the tracks, plus I wrote it to encourage discussion based on the vibe of previous comments. No “fooling” anyone involved there.

    As far as this season goes, I just watched tonight’s episode, and it’s official: I’m sick to DEATH of Hiro.

    What happened with Ando will OBVIOUSLY be reversed by a quick jump back in time, and that’s one of the most infuriating things about this show. Why, just a little earlier didn’t he just time jump back to before he got clocked in the bar????? I mean, seriously, WTF? There have been multiple instances in this show where screw ups could have been fixed via a whopping 2 minute jump back in time, yet for some reason, Hiro NEVER does it. He’s not only clueless, the character is starting to border on retarded.

    Ando gave the best summary of their exploits as “heroes” I’ve heard on the show: As heroes, they suck.

    And as far as the formula and “we split it up so no one could get their hands on it.” Are you kidding me? It’s THAT dangerous, it exists on only two pieces of paper, and you didn’t just put a damned match to it?

    And then there’s Suresh – I suppose the excuse with turning him from a goody two shoes into a friggin’ sociopath is that the serum has affected his mind, right?

    Sure, the show has a cool factor, but the annoyances this season are really getting close to overriding any enjoyment I get out of watching it.


  2. I actually whole heartedly agree with you on this one. It’s like fans are becoming haters for no real reason. Heroes is not Shakespeare. Don’t look at it to be. It’s meant to be a fun show, which it may not have been last season, but is gearing up to become this season. And, while it’s not saying much, it’s a far more intelligent show than Smallville, which is STILL on the air. So why tune out? What is it you’re unsatisfied with? Are people finding it too convoluted? Well wake up folks, comic book storylines are convoluted!

    This episode “Angels and Monsters” is getting fairly low ratings on TV.com, and IMDB. And honestly, I felt it was a fantastic episode. It answered everything about Linderman, it introduced the idea that not all the Level 5 people are bad, and it gave us a real full glimpse at who the major badguy this season is! And guess what, we should have seen this one coming, ever since we saw the Old Generation’s photograph in Season 2.

    The overall season seems to be focusing on the fact that the Heroes are turning into villains. And that is quite intriguing overall. The fact that we know the end of the season will show them ultimately triumphing over true evil in the end, will mean they’ll have to battle with their inner temptations to continue as villains, and abuse their powers. That’s quality writing in a good vs. evil show! It’s going to flesh out the characters in a way they’ve never been explored before in the series, and has in many ways done this so far, showing that even the best-natured characters have the capacity for evil and temptation!

    I urge you to stay with the storyline, and at least see where it ends, because I think it’s completely back to form, and worthy of viewing, at least for half a season more (as this Volume ends in December, and a new one begins in January)!

  3. You all know Ando and Hiro probably planned that right? If you were shocked and actually believe Hiro killed Ando, that’s just kind of dumb on your part. No offense.

  4. Wow that was a huge fanboy rant. I hate the term wannabe critic. It’s like your putting critics up on this high level so far above everyone else when at the end of the day they are just a person with an opinion like everyone else. A critic has nothing special to offer that can’t except they have better grammar. Tell me how that makes their opinion more valid?

    This season while still entertaining has become a bit of a joke. The twists are laughable and it’s falling down the cheese drain at an accelerated rate. Seasons one wasn’t really very cheesy I just watched it again last week on dvd and see none of this cheese you refer to. This season we get everybody with a shocking new power so is this gonna happpen every season ? We get mystery twins, Sylar is Peters brother, Parkman thinks he needs to follow a turtle, Peter is a good guy wait no a bad guy or is he a good guy, Same with Sylar, HRG works with sylar and can handle what ever he did to his daughter (Which was basically a metaphor for rape). I could go on and on, but lets stick with those.

    Time travel is great for a little bit but it gets old when it happens in every other episode.

  5. I started to get tired of Heroes last year with the pointless Peter/amnesiac
    Hiro/feudal japan storylines ,
    But this year its worse because they are savaging the chracters beyond repair .
    didnt anybody get the clever idea that a season called Villains might be more fun if the Heroes were fighting the Villains instead of BECOMING them?

  6. A cheap rip-off of the X-men fails after continually failing to produce original content?


  7. Daniel, what Sylar did to Claire is a metaphor for rape? Just because she gave him some _ _ _ _ ?

  8. Note to Heroes writers: Episodes really can’t be ALL setup and no resolve or advance.

  9. Suresh is becoming a spider, man! He’s got gooey webs, he’s about to sprout about 4 more sets of appendages, he webs up his victims and either is already consuming them, or is storing them to be consumed. (And apparently he pumps them full of venom so they don’t even say MMM MMFFF MMMFFFF! (“Get me off this crappy pants show”)

    What they promised (?) they wouldn’t do for Sylar–show him consuming mass quantities of grey matter–they’re probably going to do with Suresh: Show his slow decline into beastliness and probably sipping Maya’s spleen through a straw. At least I can say this much. It couldn’t happen to a nicer gal.

  10. What was this Big Reveal about a founder of the Company? Was anyone else thinking it was supposed to be someone we knew? Obviously Mr. Petrelli is that guy. But who “killed” (it’s not really kill on NBC RESET BUTTON: Villians) Peter and Nathan? I sure thought it was going to be Charles, who seems to exist either outside time, or inside minds, who would be revealed.

  11. OK I’ll keep going…

    It strains credulity (more than how a random gene can produce the ability to create rifts in space) to think that Adam had this intricate plan, OR the knowledge of gathering forces at “the star wars canteena bar.”

    I get a kick how Smallville weaves a comment or two into each episode…Chloe will use the phrase Man of Steel or Jimmy will say “faster than a speeding bullet.” I think tonight’s episode, Monsters & Angels, used the words monster or angels about a gazillion times.

    And this constant conversation between Hiro and Ando about the definition of a hero….puh-leeeeze just use your powers, and as Kofi says, heat up the bromance (did I actually just say that?), these guys are Best Friends, eh?

    Gee, could it be that Hiro stabbing Ando (which of course will be Reset somehow) is the reason Ando starts to hate his friend’s butt? That and that Hiro never listens to the voice of reason.

  12. I watched tonights Heroes episode because Prison Break was postponed due to the MLB Playoffs…

    I thought this was the best episode so far this season,,,?

    Let’s get real folks Hiro is always going to be the fall Hero. He has been since day 01.

  13. Interesting how Daphne was NOT told that Matt could read minds (his original manifestation), but that he could project things into others’ minds. That is a badass power. It seemed like Mrs. Petrelli had this kind of power, but apparently she’s just a controlling wench and no one disputes anything she says.

  14. Chilling scene: After the recaps of Peter telling Sylar, ‘I’ll never become like you. I won’t let myself do that.’ Then soon into the episode, he’s frakkin sawing his mother’s head off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. I think when we encounter critics, if anything, it stirs imagination, originality and is the nexus for conversation where folks can talk about their different opinions.

    If it weren’t for different opinions, sometimes, I’d miss facets of the issue the opinion was about until someone noted their aspect of it.

    Civil discord is possible in a realm of opposite realities… or opinions, and that’s the fun of it, regardless of where it occurs.

    At least in this medium, we can express ourselves quicker than we could writing to a newspaper and waiting a day or more to see if our comment made it.

  16. Its just a show JC,,, sheesh…

    Yeah there’s some inconsistencies, big woop… My gawd let’s not loose perspective on reality…

  17. @C. Bartowski
    Of *course* Hiro planned what he did to Ando. I thought it was clear in my comment that he did it with the intent to “undo” it.

    Yeah, I didn’t like the “amateur critic/Joe Sixpack” comment, but I thought I’d let it ride and let Kofi deal with the blowback, if any.

    Why make that comment to jc but not to Kofi? Kofi’s post was a lot more emotional than jc’s point by point critique of the show.


  18. For a show on its 3rd season – it still doesn’t follow its own rules.

    We still see most powers and characters used incorrectly and some of the worst dialogue on primetime TV.

    Everyone’s ignoring the reasons people are getting sick of this show. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the people still watching are all for it either – My friends and I still watch for the sake of watching but we really dislike how this show is falling apart.

    Solution – make death a real threat, stop time travel, stop basing stories on potential future happenings and those seen in paintings (why is the only way to depict the future through white eyes and paint brushes?), make villains villainous. I have no interest in Claire having an attitude and being bad….borrrrinnngg.

    There are no good plotthreads other than the HRG/Sylar thing and that was cut rediculously short. Of the supposedly terrible villains that broke out, how many are left? Wow that was epic…not.

    I’m bored of the special effects tests and seeing Hiro’s lame attempt at comedy. I’m bored of Ali Larter being so many different people, none of which contribute to show. I’m bored of Nathan and these slight attempts to keep him interesting (scarface in the mirror, religion, linderman imagination, re-running for politics). I’m bored of Time travellers not doing the obvious. I’m bored of stupid coincidence (Hiro porting to future RIGHT when and where him and ando have a little scene – Parkman ending up in desert where where there happens to be another future painter who knows him).

    Can we have a show with a non-apocalyptic future prediction storyline and no paintings? How about having villains be bad, goodguys be good and them duking it out over some grand story arc. Seeing current characters play both sides in a future that may not even happen is not that entertaining for the general audiences. Seeing just cool special effects isn’t either…oh and so neither is seeing every character having abilities now…it takes away the point of how these people are special.

  19. The issue I have is the writers having the character’s use their powers only when it is convenient. The time travel especially is annoying, ie. Hiro was so stuck to his principles that he couldn’t go back in time 1 minute to stop Chick Flash from getting the formula? Really? And one time Peter was being shot at and apparently forgot he could turn invisible.

    Other issues
    -unresolved plotlines
    -having Peter be too powerful where any danger he is in lacks drama
    -everyone being related
    -reliance on time travel as a plot device

    I have other issues but these are the main ones. I suggest that Kring buddy up with Paul Dini in order to bring Heroes back to where it needs to be.

  20. Jeff Cannata of the Totally Rad Show put it best.

    Movies and TV shows essentially enter a tacit contract with the viewers.

    What this means is that characters need to behave in the way that makes sense. But in heroes, what we’re seeing more and more of is that the decisions people make, usually make little to no sense.

    If you were in that situation, would you act in a similar way? This show continues to completely fail in that way and this makes viewers not as entertained or as engaged in the show because of the writing.

    I could list examples, but just think of each plot thread and how the characters re-act or act in situations.

  21. @Rob
    “characters need to behave in the way that makes sense.”

    Absolutely. If we, the viewers, think of something the character could have done using their ability/ies, then it gets ridiculous. Yeah, they are new at this, but they LIVE with the abilities. We WATCH them once a week. And I would hope that they would PRACTICE the abilities to see what the range/limitations were (like CLAIRE).

    So yeah, the formula should NOT be lost. Future Peter should NOT be dead, etc etc etc.

    And for goodness sakes, PLEASE. Give us some other major arc storylines besides ‘the world is going to end’. I’m begging you.

  22. Hey Kofi,

    you didn’t point out any of the issues I addressed in my posts here or in the other two heroes 3 threads…other than the time travel thing.

    Sylar’s future son is meaningless. He’s a character that doesn’t even exist in the show’s main timeline, a character we never met before and with how the show works – he’s probably a character that won’t exist anyways.

  23. and I think we all want heroes to be a show about people with powers…I’m not sure where you got the idea that someone wants the show with people who dont have them…did someone say that?

    I think what people want is a show that doesn’t have every character with powers, thus keeping some realism and some significance of the abilities – allowing them to be more meaningful.

    The idea of everyone being capable of acquiring these special abilities is weak. It destroys the idea of genetics from the first season, let alone evolution.

  24. LOL, Kofi the complaints address specific points. I want them to have powers, I just want them to use them logically. I think the writers shot themselves in the foot by making some of the characters TOO powerful in seasons 1 & 2 and are now dialing them back. Same thing with the time travel issue that is now a monkey on their back because it’s so dumb when bad events aren’t erased by a 30 second “reboot.”

    Unfortunately the Pandora’s box is now open.

    Another “for instance” is why couldn’t Sylar hear what HRG was saying to vortex guys? One of the first powers he picked up in season 1 was super-hearing.

    You’re doing the same thing we are, but in the opposite direction. You’re not addressing the specific points that we bring up, instead you’re just complaining that we’re complaining.



  25. @ Everybody

    All I’m hearing is complaints. Still the only suggestions like fixing:

    -unresolved plotlines
    -having Peter be too powerful where any danger he is in lacks drama
    -everyone being related
    -reliance on time travel as a plot device

    …Basically you want a show about people who DON’T HAVE POWERS. Comic books are convoluted. X-Men, for instance, has more time anamolies, time-warp relations good/evil characters and unkillable super-people than any other comic EVER. And it is STILL good, even when a particular storyline might begin to drag.

    Give Heroes a chance to correct its course. Now that Papa Petrelli has been revealed as the leader of the bad boy gang sides will be chosen, we’ll know who’s good and who’s evil and the battle will begin. And, to keep the stakes high, I guarantee that people will begin to die. (Doesn’t look to good for Mya right now.) For F’s sake: Sylar’s future son got killed!!!! Peter tried to get at his mother’s brain!!!! He broke Sylar’s neck in the first 30 sec of last night!!!! Things are vicious!!!

  26. Um, Hiro had no problem doing a “micro” timeshift about 4 times in a row in the scene where he unearthed what’s his face at the cemetery. He is obviously also going to go back and undo Ando’s death.

    As to Sylar and overhearing the conversation, he was obviously interested in knowing what they were talking about. I would think that he wouldn’t even have to actively “call up” that power – just wanting to know what they were discussing and straining slightly to hear it would have allowed him to.

    This is fun. :-P


  27. Season 3 (so far) is good and all, but the writers need to devote a little more screen time for the sub-plots in the series and have the characters make more logical, sensible decisions. Still, a fun show to watch.

    But I really would like to see Hiro and Ando become enemies at some point in the show rather being hinted at in overused “future-apocalyptic-vision” cliche that’s becoming a little to rampant in the series.

  28. Ambiguity is the point of this Season. So is that theme raised by the villain in “The Incredibles”: “If everyone is special, no one is.”

    What people are asking for is a simple us vs. them setup. Clearly defined sides and then a long what, 18 episode battle??? I like how this season is shaping up: that some characters who we think have had solid, upstanding morals (Peter, Claire) are suddenly finding themselves teetering on the edge overlooking the darkness, even though they mean well. That characters who meant ill (Sylar) are finding reasons to reform and tame the beast inside them (The classic Wolverine theme). I like that a handful of characters don’t yet know what role they’ll play (Parkman, Speed Chick, Hiro) and will likely have to make some hard choices. I like the uncertainty. These are uncertain times. It’s not that EVERYONE has powers now, it’s just that those that do have emerged and started to group. You can’t have that “Gods among men” theme from S1 run forever. That is just a starting point.

    As for the powers argument. Hiro can’t go back in time and change everything. That’s why the second ep this season was called “The Butterfly Effect.” Going back risks screwing things up, or bringing about that which you hoped to avoid (Adam becoming a Villain b/c Hiro meddled in the past.) Of course Sylar heard, or at least inferred what HRG was trying to do. No need to trot out super powers needlessly, Vic. And using powers “logically????” The whole point is that many of these people are not ready for the power they find themselves with; they use their powers emotionally instead of logically. It’s the danger of Molhinder’s serum: giving power to those not ready to properly wield it. In fact, it seems that there more complaints about the characters like future Peter who have mastered their powers b/c those characters are “too powerful.” Go figure.

    What do I want to see happen? I want the characters to choose their sides, I want Papa Petrelli to set his evil scheme in motion; when the dust settles, I want the main characters to be standing on unexpected sides of the line and I want the serum destroyed, or at least have it end up in the hands of normal humans, who discover that a super-war is taking place in their midst, causing a pro-human, government organization to spring up, tasked with “ending the meta-human threat.” I want to see all our heroes hunted and persecuted, forcing heroes and villains alike to band together to survive.

    THERE, see, that’s what I mean by a solution: tell me what you would like to happen, what kind of plotlines or story-archs would bring you back to the show.

  29. I’ll tell you what I’m waiting for:

    Dressed in black, bad-ass Hiro.

    I’m tired of him being a dork.