Apparently, the nation doesn't want to see Mohinder Suresh's best Seth Brundle impression. Or maybe it's that they were turned off by the idea of yet another plot that revolved around attempting to change a future that we've already visited, just like the last two seasons. Either way, audience turnout for the much-hyped season premiere for NBC's Heroes was lower than expected - so low, in fact, that Dancing With The Stars and CSI: Miami both kicked the show's metaphorical superpowered ass. So what's gone wrong with the network's former flying franchise?Ratings for the show's three-hour premiere were down a stunning 25% from last year, which has to be enough to make people over at NBC very nervous (especially when it can't be blamed on network ratings falling across the board; CBS' How I Met Your Mother leaped 21%, and even exceptionally unfunny hit Two And A Half Men jumped up 10% on the same night - gaining from NBC's misfortunes, perhaps) - and with good reason. If a one-time fan favorite show as massively hyped as this one was still manages to lose a quarter of its viewership, then there's definitely something wrong. But what? We've got some ideas.
Too Much Hype Maybe they just had an hour to fill before the show properly started, but I can't have been the only person completely turned off by the masturbatory "countdown" to the third season premiere. Yes, the show's popular, we get it; no need to spend so long showing us clips boasting about how many countries love Heroes, or have the actors stand awkwardly in front of the camera with their microphones pretending that they care about us. If it wasn't for the wonders of fast-forwarding on TiVo, I wouldn't have stuck around for the real show - and I'm sure that many others felt the same. The Second Season Syndrome Yes, it may have fixed some of its problems before the end of its shortened season, but there's no doubt that a large part of the 25% of non-returning viewers jumped ship because of the slow, uneven and often just plain bad nature of the show's second season that squandered a lot of the goodwill that the first had spent weeks of ever-increasing sanity earning. No matter how good the teaser ads for Villains may have been in the middle of the Olympics, the taste of slowly-rotting cheese from S2 is hard to shift. We Don't Need Another Heroes We've already had a summer of superhero movies; maybe it's simply superhero exhaustion, and the fact that audiences may not want to watch the knock-offs when they can see the original real deals on the big screen? After all, given the choice between Robert Downey Jr. and Milo Ventimigilia, I can't believe that that many people wouldn't go for the one who didn't spend years on the (admittedly wonderful) Gilmore Girls.
No matter what the reason for the ratings slump, though, it's something that NBC and the Heroes creative teams should be taking steps to fix right away - Maybe a Sunday evening re-run will give the show's second episode a Fringe-like bump, but I'm hoping for something a little more story-led to shake things up enough to get viewers return to the series. Let's start by killing off the two Deus Ex Machinas, Peter and Sylar, and go from there... Heroes Premiere Down 25% From Last Year [Hollywood Reporter]