Uber-reliable Hollywood rag Variety has reported that comics scribe Jeph Loeb and co-executive producer Jesse Alexander have been relieved of their duties on NBC’s Heroes. The news comes midway into the third season of the comics-inspired drama which debuted with stellar ratings and a rabid fanbase, but has since limped into mediocrity since its first season.
According to the article, Loeb and Alexander, who have been with Heroes since the beginning, were let go due to “frustration with the creative direction of the show.” Fans have criticized Heroes for being derivative of plots and characters found in mainstream comics, a fact that the shows producers would likely attribute to homage rather than plagiarism. From its inception, Heroes asserted itself as a show pulled directly from comic book lore. A better criticism of the show might be that its characters, while largely likable and interesting, seem to demonstrate wildly erratic motivation and behavior. … [ Begin Editorial ]
Granted, the audience has been given a more complete knowledge of the story than any one character. But even so, characters on the show seem to have selective amnesia when it comes to the events of last season and even seem to forget the extent of their own powers. While the show continues to be a fun ride, it lacks the edge it showed in its first season.
Plots in recent episodes seem so go in bizarre and unlikely directions for no reason other than to set up the next step in the increasingly coincidental storyline. Case in point: a recent episode where Claire and Elle (who have teamed up for no logical reason) hop on a plane despite Elle’s electric powers being out-of-control. Really? REALLY?! Everyone watching knew there would be a problem on the plane, but why didn’t the characters? And what purpose did it serve other than to fill a few minutes of screen-time? This type of “just for the hell of it” storytelling has Jeph Loeb written all over it.
Loeb has shown the ability to write great character drama in books like “Spider-Man Blue” and “Fallen Son,” but tends to lean more toward bombastic action and popcorn fare. This has garnered some criticism on books like Batman: Hush and Ultimates 3, where fans may have been expecting a little more meat and reason behind the storytelling. Character motivations have also been called into question and it seems as though Loeb is saying “I want Claire to do …” rather than “In this situation I think Claire would …” Loeb tends to take a very “It happens this way because I said so and I’m the writer” approach to storytelling.
However, he has shrugged off this criticism as “fans will be fans.” In a recent Word Balloon interview, he poo-pooed his critics, essentially saying that his sales numbers speak for themselves and if fans don’t like it they should stop buying it.
Evidently, the brass at NBC has taken that advice.