Culture > Television

Heroic fate

Television | Heroes has hints of the supernatural

Issue: "2006 Daniels of the Year," Dec. 16, 2006

Heroes, NBC's new hit drama about ordinary people who learn that they possess superhuman abilities, could become the next X-Files or Lost. The show's believable and quirky characters, fascinating dialogue, dreamlike filming, and short story arcs make it addictive television, although its penchant for mild gore and violence could turn away some viewers.

The characters-a cop who can read minds, an indestructible cheerleader, a politician who can fly, a Japanese man who can stop time, and others-are products of evolution, but Heroes (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET) also hints that something supernatural may be at work. A narrator at the close of every episode tries to put the comic-book action into context-as if the show might have a theologically driven sensibility, or at least theological terminology thrown in just to create intrigue.

The common link between the characters is a professor from India with a list of people who've developed these superhuman powers and a jealous watchmaker who finds a way to assimilate the powers of some of the people on the list-by killing them. The characters also seem to have a common future "written on their DNA," and how this philosophy of fate-or is it providence?-plays out will be interesting to watch.

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"Was the die cast from the very beginning or is it in our hands to alter the course of our own destiny?" asks the narrator. "Of all our abilities, it is free will that truly makes us unique, and only with it can we find our way back to being human. With it, we have a tiny but potent chance to deny fate."


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