“Hero Worship”

I’ll save you the trouble of reading this entire review: I love the show Heroes. It might be the best fantasy show, and one of the best serials, currently on the air. Like Desperate Housewives and Lost, there is a mystery at the heart of it. Even when the show occasionally meanders, there is still a forward momentum to the show, unlike some serials (*cough* LOST *cough*).

Mining somewhat familiar territory, from comics like Rising Stars or other shows like The 4400, Tim Kring (Crossing Jordan) brings us this nerd’s fantasy that plays to our daydreams of getting super powers (flight, telepathy, regeneration, teleportation), of being special, and joining in the mission of fighting the good fight. Ordinary people of all races, nations, and walks of life, from cheerleaders, cops, nurses, to single moms, develop super powers. If the show captures a comic book spirit precisely, it should: Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween) is an executive producer. Ironically, in this age of a mixed bag of comic book translations, it takes a television show to remind us of what makes comic books great and why they touch such a cord in our culture.

Heroes builds its own mythology, but is accessible despite the number of (geek) insider jokes. It’s obvious that the show is about mission and community. The show even has it’s own guide, fan favorite, Japanese time-space bender Hiro (Masi Oka), who essentially narrates the heroes journey.

“It’s our heroic journey. You don’t have to have superpowers to be a hero.” –Hiro

None of us are living up to our full abilities. We have huge potential that sin has taken away [think of sin as human error, a failure to fulfill human potential (and thus sin becomes that which dehumanizes us)]. In fact, a lot of us would rather believe the lie that we are not different, that we are not special. We then get caught up in empty ways of doing life, going through the daily grind, going through the motions, un-engaged and missing the point of life.

Our journey begins by appreciate who you are and your own gifts or, as the Cheerleader’s mom puts it, “you should know who you are and know that it’s enough cause who you are is special.” We are Eikons of God, created in His image to relate to Him and to others. Created for a purpose.

“Do you ever get the feeling like you were meant to do something extraordinary … I’m not talking about what you do but who you are. Being special.” –Peter

This is the crux of the show Heroes. “Every hero must learn his purpose. Then he’ll be tested and called to greatness,” Hiro tells us. As each character figures out their gift, they have to then choose how they want to use what they’ve been blessed with. Some will choose to work together to succeed in safe guarding mankind.

“You told me many times how lost you felt. Before it all started. This is what you’ve been waiting for. Be the one we need.” –Hiro

W.E.B. DuBois used to speak of a Talented Tenth, that group of us who steps forward to be leaders. Heroes speaks to this same idea. How there is this called out group of people specially gifted with a sense of shared mission. This ekklesia, we’ll call them, seeks a sense of community and meaning in life, choosing to use their gifts to impact our world. To be selfless and fight injustice. In effect they become an alternative society to the ways of this world, a saving presence working toward the redemption of the entire world.

“That you are the instrument of a flawless design. That all of life may hang in the balance … in the end, all that matters is love.” –Charlie (Jayma Mays)

In a world filled with pain, when we so often feel as if no one looks out for one another, there are people that care, who want to make a difference. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rituals and routines of our lives that we lose sight of the fact that we are to be part of the solution, not the problem. Where a bunch of ordinary nobodies, men and women living and caught up in a story, accept the mandate of building a sense of community, loving each other, and serving the world. We are to be missional.

“You do not choose your destiny, it chooses you. And those who knew you before fate took you by the hand cannot understand the depths of the changes inside.” –Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy)

Heroes focuses on the human-ness of special people, their gifts being extensions of who they are. The telepathic cop (Alias‘ Greg Grunberg) wants to be able to better communicate with his wife. The over-protected cheerleader Claire (Hayden Panettiere) now can’t be hurt. Nurse Peter (Gilmore Girls’ Milo Ventimiglia) who wants connection with his family has the ability to draw on any power he is near. His politically ambitious brother Nathan (Judging Amy’ Adrian Pasdar) gets to fly. The show is shot beautifully, often looking like fluid comic book panels. Each week I dread coming to those three little words that conclude each episode:

To be continued …

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