Top.Mail.Ru
Heroes question - The Ex-Communicator — LiveJournal
? ?
The Ex-Communicator

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

July 30th, 2007


Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
03:58 pm - Heroes question
Heroes began on BBC2 last week, with episodes 1 and 2 back-to-back, but I only saw the start and very end, as a friend phoned about twenty minutes in, with some problems, and she needed to talk for about an hour.

I have a couple of concerns, but I may be completely mistaken, as this is just based on the few bits I saw. So if this is way out let me know.

I got the impression that there are only two female super-heroes, and these are both long-legged blondes who wear short skirts? The Internet sex worker and the cheerleader? Can this be true?

Also I got the impression that while the sexy cheerleader = good (as in 'American Beauty') the sexy adult woman = evil?

We saw this woman who is a sex-worker, to provide for her mixed-race son, and I thought - good for them, they've taken all these indicators that would normally be used to bash women: sexy, assertive, mercenary, single parent, 'impure', defiant, argumentative etc. And made her a hero.

Last I saw before my friend phoned she seemed to be about to kill two violent rapists. I thought, great.

Then I came back from the call, to the last couple of minutes of episode 2, and it seemed she was being positioned as evil. Is this right? What a shame if so.

(29 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:July 30th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ah. Niki/Jessica is a very unusual case.

She's a totally split personality and hasn't been aware of her alter-ego before now. She sees Jessica in mirrors, but in a crisis situation Jessica sometimes takes over. Jessica killed the rapists and set up instructions for Nikki to bury the bodies. The body already in the sand strongly suggests that Jessica has killed before and that Nikki has no memory of this.

Jessica is totally amoral. Nikki is a much gentler person and her son comes before everything.

There will be other female heroes.

The most ambivalent female character (I won't say if she has any powers or not) is Mrs Petrelli. Nathan and Peter's mother. Keep a close eye on her and watch how she interacts with everyone. Her storyline will develop.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 30th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Right, I see. Obviously I missed most of it, but I think I've got to sympathise a bit with Jessica's point of view. Like Jekyll on BBC1, she's protecting those she loves.
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:July 30th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Don't assume that Jessica cares for the same people that Nikki does.

Incidentally, keep an ear open for any mention of Linderman. Nikki borrowed money off him, but he crops up in other places and I missed a lot of them the first time around.
From:abigail_n
Date:July 30th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The female character you really want to pay attention to is Claire, the cheerleader. She starts off a little one-dimensional, but quickly becomes one of the most important and interesting characters in the cast.

Apart from her and Niki, there are no other major female characters with powers, although there are plenty of recurring characters (this is a show that quickly develops a very wide universe), many of whom are quite cool.

I noticed you mentioned Jekyll in another comment. What did you think of the finale? I thought the series went sadly downhill in its second half, precisely at the point when Moffat starting trying to answer questions and create a coherent plot. It's a shame, because the acting, characterization, and dialogue were all very good.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 30th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I feel a bit edgy about the narrow range of roles for post-teenage women in American films and TV shows: it's like all women are evil once they stop being girls.

I missed every other episode of Jekyll, because other things came up on Saturday evenings, and then caught most of the final, so I was a bit lost. I thought the scenes were exciting and the characterisation much stronger than I had expected. There was a better sense of danger than in the earlier episodes.
From:abigail_n
Date:July 30th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't think you would have been any less lost if you'd watched the intervening episodes. It really felt as though Moffat was trying to take his story in about four different directions simultaneously. And then he decided to tack on a twist ending, just for kicks.
[User Picture]
From:kalypso_v
Date:July 30th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I thought it picked up (one advantage of the second half was that Gina Bellman finally got something to do), but didn't pull off the final episode, not least because two supposedly major revelations had been obvious for weeks. And the pacing was always too slow; I think they could have done it in five episodes, at most, or cut each one by ten minutes. Or else given Meera Syal and Fenella Woolgar more scenes, because I always looked forward to seeing them, whereas the other girl, the psychiatric nurse, was a bit drippy.
[User Picture]
From:kalypso_v
Date:July 30th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)

PS

(Link)
I'm with you on the shortage of frumpy brunettes in Heroes. I rewatched the pilot last week, and thought it was a lot better now I knew who these people were and what they were going on about, but I don't think it's ever going to go on my favourites list.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 30th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)

Re: PS

(Link)
or you know any women who aren't improbably pneumatic leggy blondes, and any idea that a woman can assert herself, even to protect her own life, without being rendered morally evil

humph, this is very irritable of me, seeing as I only saw a few disconnected minutes
[User Picture]
From:kalypso_v
Date:July 30th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)

Re: PS

(Link)
There are female characters who aren't leggy blondes, but I didn't think they got enough airtime.

I'm a bit shaken, actually, because I noticed that a newspaper review this week described Hiro as "nakedly racist comic relief". Hiro and Ando are the only characters I actually like; Mohinder's quite dishy, but seemed a bit short of character development.
From:abigail_n
Date:July 30th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
(Link)
There was certainly a lot of padding in the back half of the series. The fourth episode, for example - the one with the flashbacks to Tom and Claire's courtship and marriage - told us very little we hadn't already known. But I think the problem has more to do with plotting than pacing. I don't think Moffat knew what kind of story he wanted to tell, and ended up creating a muddled mess. Everything else - the slack pacing, the obvious twists (although kudos if you worked out the bit with the mother, which flew right over my head), the underused characters (I liked Katherine, but she was heavily built up in the first half of the mini and then ended up doing nothing except sighing over Jackman) - flows from this failure in plotting.
[User Picture]
From:kalypso_v
Date:July 30th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)

Probably a spoiler for Jekyll

(Link)
I hadn't thought through precisely who she was, but I was a bit surprised none of the characters made a connection. And I thought the bad hair was a giveaway - it was trying so hard to conceal her secret that it drew my attention.

The value of the fourth episode was that it began to establish Claire as a character, whereas in the first half she didn't get to do anything but shout at Tom for not telling her what was going on.
From:abigail_n
Date:July 30th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Probably a spoiler for Jekyll

(Link)
I was a bit surprised none of the characters made a connection

Consider, though, that these are the same people who keep wondering how a Victorian gentleman who died without issue could have descendants.

I thought Claire really came into her own in the third episode, in which she and Hyde are trapped in the cellar. I had been rather bored by her before. I actually think Claire is the series's one great success. You see her for the first time and think 'whiny, bitchy tart who snagged herself a rich husband.' And then you spend more time with her and it turns out that, yes, she is a whiny, bitchy tart who snagged herself a rich husband, and she's also incredibly strong, and she loves him and her children very, very much.
[User Picture]
From:kalypso_v
Date:July 30th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Probably a spoiler for Jekyll

(Link)
I didn't think Claire quite shook off the shouty role in the cellar; she was finally being given some answers, but seemed to spend most of the time ignoring them and demanding something else.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
(Link)
It makes me think that the kind of people who get to write and plan TV shows live in a sort of bubble, I suppose consisting of planning meetings and working lunches, where there aren't any women except extremely gorgeous young women who aren't that assertive, and slightly older gorgeous women who are a bit scary. Not that there's anything wrong with those women, it's just that there are so many more types they could portray.
[User Picture]
From:several_bees
Date:July 30th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I watched the first couple of episodes of Heroes last year and I'm a bit appalled that I didn't even notice that they did this with their women characters.

(And relatedly, The Avengers - I've been watching the repeats on Friday nights on BBC4 for six months now, and didn't realise that there were no black actors until I read, a couple of weeks ago, that this was an official policy, along with "no women killed" and "no extras in street scenes"; and that there is only one black actor with a speaking part in the whole series.)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 10:49 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yow! Avengers had a 'whites only' policy? My god, I'm astounded.
[User Picture]
From:several_bees
Date:July 31st, 2007 11:44 am (UTC)
(Link)
Not quite "whites only"; I'm pretty sure there were at least a few Asian actors, and that they weren't excluded by policy. But mm, apparently when they brought Diana Rigg in, and made Steed less thuggish and more bowler-hatted, the producer added some rules to maintain an air of fantasy with no "social realities": no women killed, no blood, no black actors. (All of the rules are broken at some point, but it seems there were only three black actors to ever appear, and only one of those with a speaking part.)
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:August 1st, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Particularly astonishing when you consider that, of all the people in real-life who seem to have come straight out of The Avengers, top of the list surely has to be Chris Eubank.

(Who, a quick Googling has just revealed, was arrested earlier this year for protesting against the Iraq war.)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks for that. I am surprised because heroes is a high-end intelligent show from what I understand, and that's why it's so disappointing
[User Picture]
From:i_smell_shite
Date:July 30th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The best thing about hero's is the cliff hangers at the end of each episode. Hiro and Ando are my favourite characters. He is lovely, he's into sci-fi and starts off hardly speaking any English which is brilliant.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
I liked him instantly, though I only saw him for a few moments.
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:July 30th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I got the impression that there are only two female super-heroes, and these are both long-legged blondes who wear short skirts? The Internet sex worker and the cheerleader? Can this be true?

It can indeed. I have to confess that I did rather miss the fact of the overtly sexualised nature of the two main female characters, mainly because Ali Larter does nothing for me, and the whole cheerleader thing completely passes me by. To be quite honest, I didn't pick up on the fact that they were both supposed to be male-oriented sex symbols until katlinel pointed it out. The only female character on the show that I did find attractive was the hard-bitten FBI agent. Proof, if proof be needed, that I am indeed a lesbian.

Going beyond my own psyche for a moment, there is a genuine and serious failing here on the part of the writer and producers. It's not that they've got some pretty women on the show: TV is always full of pretty people, and there are plenty of pretty men there as well. No, it's the marked absence of any women in major roles who don't fit a very narrow concept of prettiness. Where is the female Hiro, or the female Matt? I don't actually believe there's any structural reason why they couldn't expand the diversity of female leads - hell, Battlestar Galactica had an impressive and popular older brunette in a leading role. No, it's that the writer has a good sense of the diversity of male life, and illustrates this with a range of credible, individual male characters, but doesn't seem to have figured out that women are actual people too, with as much depth and diversity as men. Hence, not only do we get very stereotypically sexualised females, but their motivations are stereotypical as well. Coping as a single mother, maintaining status in the cheerleading squad, dealing with daddy issues... none of these are invalid character motivations in themselves, but would it have killed them to have had a woman who really wants to be top dog at World of Warcraft, or who finds all this superpower stuff an unwelcome distraction from her research into biological warfare?

You know, I didn't think I was so annoyed about this.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
(Link)
women in major roles who don't fit a very narrow concept of prettiness

Of course, I totally agree with this. But also I think there is a place for people who aren't attractive in TV shows.I was going to mention Deadwood, but I bet everyone on that show has got someone who holds a torch for them.

the writer...doesn't seem to have figured out that women are actual people too, with as much depth and diversity as men

Which is the issue in a nutshell. Actually I think that's what feminism means, not that women are all good or special, just that women's happiness and preferences and the rest are worth as much as anyone else's.
[User Picture]
From:vilakins
Date:July 30th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Heroes has a very narrow view of women which pissed me off greatly; even the influential older woman who turns up later is manipulative behind the scenes rather than powerful as herself. There were several reasons for me not to watch it (sexism, nuclear explosions, and a serial killer) but Hiro trumped them all.

There's a tough FBI agent and another superhero who sadly isn't in it much, but yeah, that's pretty much it. As for Niki/Jessica, the actor just annoyed me.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I will carry on watching it, because it has been so well thought of by my friends, but I am sorry it isn't quite as good as it could be.
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:July 30th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ah, it just shows how blind I am that I didn't notice. Or that it's par for the course and I simply have given up expecting anything better.

The main thing I was thinking re: the lead female characters was how much better Claire was than Buffy. They're characters with similar origins -- both blonde cheerleaders with unwelcome super-powers -- but Claire turns out to be much less whiny and a lot more able to deal with it than Buffy. So I really didn't mind that Claire wasn't "kick-ass", because I liked her much better as a character.

My favourite characters are Peter, Hiro and Claire, and I think that's because they were all heroic in their different ways.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
I am interested that everyone endorses the Claire character, who I only saw briefly, so I couldn't judge. I'm certainly not against young and kick-ass female characters, I just wish there was a wider range.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com