The Top 10 Times Heroes Jumped the Shark


Heroes is now one of my favorite shows for a different reason than most. I simply keep watching so I’m able to rip on it with my friends the next day. It’s kind of a fun pastime really, to see what new absurdity comes next, and there have been so many absolutely ridiculous moments that I’ve almost lost track.

The show was good once upon a time, but to use a common phrase it has since “jumped the shark.” Many debate over when exactly this happened, so I compiled a top ten list of the usual suspects. There are definitely more than ten moments, but I felt this was more than enough to make the case. My own approximation? That would be at number one.

10. Sylar Doesn’t Die


The ENTIRE point of the first season of Heroes was to stop this evil lurking menace called “Sylar.” All the Heroes were prepping themselves for the ultimate battle. Peter was racking up powers like collective plates and Hiro was learning the fine art of swinging a sword in a particular direction. So what happened?

The lamest battle ever, followed by Sylar being skewered by Hiro. But wait! He’s not dead! He turns into a cockroach! Wait, that’s just symbolism! He’s in Panama! With no powers! Gah. This was a stupid moment in Heroes history, but honestly it’s a mixed blessing as Sylar is the only character remaining on the show I don’t constantly want to punch in the face.

9. Days of Future Past


To be fair, Heroes isn’t the only show that’s done this, and this is a common story device in comic books, but I ****ing hate it. Throughout the course of an entire episode we get to see the “FAIL future” or what happens if our Heroes don’t succeed. In this case it apparently involves Hiro losing his accent and Peter getting a nifty scar.

However, during the entire show, you KNOW that we’ll return to present day, someone will change something, and we’ll never see this damn future ever again. So all the people that die in this alternate reality? Who cares? They wont even exist after tonight, and nothing that happens in this episode matters at all, except now someone comes back and says “Oh sh*t, we have to change everything or else Hiro will master English!”

8. She’s Back? Again?


Oh. My. God. I was doing the happy dance when Nikki/Jessica went up in smoke in the season two finale, so you can imagine my surprise when she showed up as the ice princess in season three. I believe there was a fair amount of yelling and throwing things on my part.

This was “explained” by “Tracy” finding some kooky doctor who said she was a clone, or a triplet, or something, and that’s why she’s there now and it has nothing to do with Ali Larter’s contract.

7. Sylar Kills Elle


Heroes doesn’t know much about a little trick those in the biz call “character development.” Want to make a bad guy good? Give him daddy issues and have him slowly realize that his thirst to kill is not natural, that he can achieve the same satisfaction through healthy relationships. Perfect, nice arc.

But wait, that’s really boring. Alright, nevermind. Let’s make him evil again. An entire half season of romance between Sylar and Elle was cast to the wind as one minute they’re doing it in the crosshairs of HRG’s sniper scope and the next Sylar’s cutting her head open on a beach. I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you for a bit more of an explanation besides one line: “I’ve realized I can’t change.” Well, why the **** can’t you?

6. Eclipse Part Deux Takes Away Powers


The idea bin was empty when the show decided to take away everyone’s powers for an episode. It’s a “wacky” twist like, filming the episode in 3-D or shooting it live! Look, your Heroes have no powers! See how they scurry around?

This might have been a useful plot device if it lasted for longer than one episode, but it didn’t, and it just led to a bunch of blindingly obvious moments like, “Oh Sylar’s dead, ahh nevermind, the sun’s back out.” Brilliant. Oh, and they gave Daphne polio.

5. Hiro Goes to Feudal Japan


Behold the birth of the “we have too many ****ing characters so let’s create useless subplots for them to keep them busy” style of Heroes writing, which was nearly all of season two.

Hiro goes back in time to feudal Japan for unknown reasons, gets stuck there, finds his childhood idol who turns out to be a drunk Brit, and teaches him how to be a Samurai. Nevermind that the guy is immortal and could take over a country with a blood alcohol level of .35 if he wanted to. This story arc lasted an absurdly long time, and just when you thought it might have served a purpose, Adam Monroe gets turned to dust by Arthur Petrelli. Oh well, thanks for playing!

4. What’s the Box???


Another stupid-ass Heroes tagline that was probably the most anti-climactic reveal in the show’s history. Prison Break did a similar episode with a mystery box, and their box contained a human head. And what did the Heroes box contain?


Specifically, Peter’s identity. Yup, the big reveal was that Peter….was Peter, which was only surprising to one person…amnesiac Peter, and definitely not the audience. This is a shark moment because it marks one of the first times the show did a needless teaser to desperately beg people to tune in next week.

3. Border Jumping with Sylar


This competes with Hiro goes to Japan for the title or “Worst Subplot Ever,” and I think it takes the crown. I love Sylar, but his idiotic cross-country trip with Maya and what’s-his-face yielded exactly NOTHING. Sylar got his powers back, hooked up with Maya, killed her brother, and Maya ran away into the arms of Mohinder Suresh.

Unfortunately her and her eye-black death power were so useless, the show didn’t even think it was worth it to kill her. They just wrote her out and she like lives in Queens now or something. Between this, Hiro in Japan and Peter in Ireland I’m having a hard time to remember if season two was made up entirely of useless foreign subplots.

2. The DC Floor Painting


Sure this just happened last week, and I believe the show jumped the shark eons ago, but it’s the most laughable example of plot recycling I’ve ever seen on any show. Heroes has always suffered from plot repetition syndrome aka. someone sees the future, it’s bad, everyone scrambles to stop it. Ripping off X-Men 3‘s government mutant hunting plotline was a somewhat welcome change from that, but now with Matt magically getting future painting powers, we’re back in the same old trap.

But seriously, going to the exact same loft, and painting over the exact same exploding floor mural with a different city? You’ve got to be kidding. It’s not even that they’re using the same concept, they’re using the same painting. This is when it’s safe to say the the idea tank has officially run out of the fumes it’s been running on.

1. Save the Cheerleader


Yes, I truly believe that the show ultimately jumped the shark way, way back midway through season one. For weeks we’d been reading the cryptic whispered tagline “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World,” and at long last, finally, the cheerleader got saved by Peter. At the time we thought, “great, maybe this will come into effect later down the line,” but here’s the only analysis I can come up with as to what “Save the Cheerleader was supposed to accomplish:

-Sylar doesn’t get Claire’s powers therefore allowing Hiro to kill him with his Hattori Hanso and this somehow stops the city from exploding.

However, as ratings fluctuated Heroes was forced to make sh*t up as it went, all of this went out the window because:

A) Peter was actually the one who explodes, and Nathan ends up saving the day with a simple flyover.
B) Sylar doesn’t even die when Hiro stabs him (as discussed in #10)
C) This season Sylar does cut Claire open and we learn that he can’t even kill her, and really, there’s nothing that actually can, thus rendering the phrase “save the cheerleader” entirely useless.

Three gaping plot holes with a flock of little ones surrounding it. This is why the show is the anti-Lost. A show like Lost may leave holes open, but even four seasons later it will come back and close them. Heroes leaves them open like gaping wounds, left to be prodded incessantly by people like me.

See my other hatred-inspired Heroes list here. I’m sure this won’t be the last one.

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  1. Some of these points can kinda be explained through the fandom and ambiguous parts of the show.

    #10 – You’re right. Season 1 was this great, self-contained volume that had excellent pacing and story. They could have ended the show right there (just without Hiro going back in time) and everyone would have been satisfied to a point.

    #9 – They’ve overdone the future storylines way too much. It’s one of the reasons why they’ve moved away from them in Volumes 4. But compare the events of Volume 4 to the Explosion Future and the Exposed Future. There are many similarities (one or both may actually come true).

    #8 – They really painted Nicki into a corner. She began with a very basic story in Voume 2 then…went nowhere. She got mind-tricked, signed her death certificate and then got blown up. Then she reappears as one of her triplets. At least Tracey is getting some good story now.

    #7 – There is a theory on this. Sylar’s sudden mood swing occurs at the same time Hiro goes back with Claire, changing the past at that moment that we see. The theory is that by moving The Catalyst from Baby Claire to Present Hiro, Sylar didn’t see anything special in Claire and thus didn’t change.

    #6 – This was just the writers confirming that we were right. The Eclipse is something important to their powers. We’d always wondered so they decided to put us out of our misery.

    #5 – Hiro’s story in Volume 2 was supposed to set up Volume 3 – Exodus, where Adam releases the virus and Odessa is contained. It looked like is was going to be amazing and was going to give deeper meaning to everything in Volume 2 that is now criticised for being shallow.

    #4 – I missed this. I only started watching Heroes last year so I don’t see how advertising is a fault of the show, just bad advertisers.

    #3 – Again, deeper meaning lost because there was a lack of Volume 3.

    #2 – More fandom. We’ve been trying to figure this out for a while. Why is it that every painting of Issac’s has come true except the really bad ones? Before now we couldn’t say “fate” definitively because there were no explosions on the horizon. Now, however, we might be able to say that a catastrophic explosion is bound to happen, anywhere, anytime.

    #1 – Future Hiro believed, just like everyone else in the future, that Sylar exploded, so saving Claire would presumably enable his younger self. The problem is that Peter is the one that exploded. It didn’t make sense that Sylar would explode anyway. Peter’s control index in Season 1 was below 20% whereas Sylar’s was above 70%.

    Now point A.

    Point B was just to keep Sylar in the show.

    Point C is still up in the air. Everyone, including Adam, believes that a shot to the brain stem will kill someone with rapid cell regeneration. Well it does, but not permanently as long as the item is removed before total decay (presumably). Then there’s decapitation that Angela thinks could kill Claire at least. The limitations of Claire’s power are still up in the air. Until we see someone with rapid cell regeneration lose their head, we’ll never know for sure.

  2. New absurdities…unexaplained plot developments…more questions than answers…sounds like Lost to me. At least Heroes wasn’t only scheduled for 2 years.

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