Wow, is “Heroes” really moving along fast or what? To help you understand everything that’s going on, CBR News offers up a weekly Q&A with two members of the “Heroes” writing staff, Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite. Each week the CBR News team send off questions to Joe and Aron, who graciously give their time and help clue us in on the behind-the-scenes process that brings us our weekly does of television goodness.
This latest Q&A covers events up to the seventh episode of season one, “Nothing To Hide” with a few teases of what’s to come in tonight’s episode, “Seven Minutes to Midnight.” The questions this week come from George Tramountanas and Jonah Weiland, with an able assist from Kung Fu Rodeo’s Stephen Gerding.
Before we get to this week’s Q&A, we wanted to bring your attention to HeroesAuction.com. The entire cast of “Heroes” has drawn interpretations of their characters to help raise funds for Greg Grunberg’s Pediatric Epilepsy project, which was formed with a single, all-important mission: to raise funds, provide financial support and increase community awareness to help sustain the Division of Pediatric Neurology at UCLA. The auctions run for two more weeks, so there’s still time to get your bids in. As of this writing, Milo Ventimiglia’s drawing of Peter Petrelli is the leader with a $415 bid.
Also, a quick note. The images shown below are from Episode 9 of “Heroes” titled “Homecoming.”
Now, on with the show.
Allright, guys, plenty to go over. Plenty.
In our last Q&A you said that the “9th Wonders” comic book cover from episode 7 carries “a deeper meaning.” After referencing the TiVo, we noticed that the cover had a green monster with tentacle-like arms and greenish-blonde hair on it. As Isaac draws the future, will we be meeting this monster on the show? Or have we met the person who is the monster, although their true self hasn’t been revealed yet?
Rosebud was the name of his sled. Little Miss Sunshine is a stripper. Soilent Green is made of people. People. Oops, we’ve just met our spoiler quotient. In all seriousness, you may have to watch a couple more seasons before we pay this one off…
In a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly with the “Heroes” cover story (#905, 11/10 and congratulations, BTW), some interesting things came to light that we had questions about: It said Tim Kring originally discussed his idea for “Heroes” with Damon Lindeloff, who suggested Kring read “Rising Stars” by J. Michael Straczynski. Kring read the jacket cover to the trade paperback and put it down because he felt it was the same idea and didn’t want his notions tainted (or liable for copyright infringement as well, I assume).
Fans have mentioned the connection before on message boards, wondering if it played an inspirational role. There’s also been some who’ve wondered if the “Wild Cards” novels were an influence.
But as we know, Tim’s not a life-long comics or superhero fan fan and hasn’t been exposed to these items previously. Now, we know you mentioned the “Damage” example from our first Q&A, but how big of a concern is it that writers might “copy/steal” or be influenced by ideas from other comic book stories? How do you keep that from happening?
We’re always concerned and try to stay away as much as possible from a story that’s been done on any medium. But we also never let a similarity get in the way of telling a story we think comes from the character of our heroes. I think almost everyone in the heroic biz gives credence to that Joseph Campbell guy. He pointed out that there are certain things pretty inherent to the human spirit across the globe across a lot of stories, whether they be myth or manga.
For example, when Sendhil Ramamurthy knocked the audition for an older version of Suresh out of the park, Tim (O.F.L.) decided to change the character to that of the Older Academic’s son. In this reconfiguring, it occurred to us we were telling a similar story to Telemachus in the Odyssey or Stephen Daedelus in “Ulysses”. But we pressed on despite the hundreds of letters we expect to get from Classics professors any day now.
[Laughs] If you get any of those letters, forward ’em on to us! We’ll print ’em!
As the series moves on, and our characters make their own choices and define themselves better, we think the similarities will go away, because at the end of every day, it’s more about character than ability.
But you tell us, now that you’ve gotten to know Claire, would you ever confuse her with Wolverine?
No, not at all. Sure, they share a few similarities, but overall they’re not at all alike.
Now, as Tim Kring and Damon Lindeloff appear to be friends, will Damon be contributing to the show anytime soon? Or is he still too busy with “Lost?”
Here’s hoping. But he has that little epic show to make brilliant every week, not to mention the fact that we think he still needs to get to the “vs.” part of “Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine.”
We were lucky enough to work with Damon on “Crossing Jordan” where he not only was a mensch in helping us develop our craft, but I swear to god made us more clever by osmosis. An hour in the writer’s room with this guy and you could tell he was destined to change television. We both learned a hell of a lot from D.L., so in an indirect but influential way he is contributing to the show.
EW also said Claire’s homecoming dance will be on November 20. I assume we’ll learn the owner of the big shadow in the painting on this day. Can you give us a hint – have we met the owner of the shadow yet?
We’ve seen his work, and we’ll see some more of it in Episode 8.
Also, EW indicated that NBC wants to extend “Heroes” by 2 or 3 episodes past a 22-episode commitment this year. Any chance that this will happen? Why the expansion of the season?
Last we heard it was extended to 23. Why the expansion? Why the heck not?
Personally we’d like to see 52 episodes, but realize you should get some time off, so we’ll settle for 48.
In the latest episode, it was pointed out that Hiro brought the “9th Wonder” comic book back from the future (which I hadn’t realized). Will Hiro be transporting other goods through time anytime soon?
Does a broken heart count as an object?
We also learned that Niki’s alter ego called herself “Jessica.” Is there any relevance to this name?
There you go again. Looking for relevance where there…well, is some. We’ll find that out in Episode 10 – “Six Months Ago.” (on the QT – it’s also the name of the lovely Mrs. Pokaski)
Peter “talked” with a dying man, Charles Deveaux, in his dreams this episode as well. Is this another “power” of his, or is fate intervening?
Peter has always been a dreamer. And as we saw in the pilot, his dreams mean things. So when he tells you he had that naked taking a test dream, I’d buy stock in those little blue exam books.
Speaking of that dying man, that was Mr. Richard Roundtree of “Shaft” fame. Fantastic! How did he come to be involved with the series?
He was persuaded by threats of physical force, the promise of money, and the lure of a pretty tutor, to assume the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker in Africa. His job is to help break a racket that is smuggling immigrants into Europe then exploiting them. But the villains have heard that he is on his way…oh wait, that was the plot of “Shaft in Africa”.
Natalie Hart, Jason LaPadura and Keri Owens are our casting gurus. We write a role and they always shoot for the stars and most often bring them back alive.
Well, a big round of thanks goes out to Natalie, Jason and Keri.
Now, sure, Charles Deveaux may be “dead,” but might we see more from him in another capacity? (Basically, we’re hoping for more Richard Roundtree!)
Never say never, but if you’re hoping to see him soon, I would put “Boat Trip” in your Netflix queue.
In episode 7, “Nothing To Hide,” we met Theodore Sprague as well. Clearly he emanates radioactivity and blames himself for the nasty tumor his wife had (looking at the x-ray, we’re thinking some kind of stomach or ovarian cancer). What can you tell us about this character?
Ted is an example of an ability that works against him. We’ll learn a lot more of his backstory in episode 8.
With a power like Ted has, he certainly seems to have the potential to, well, blow up a city!!! How long will he be sticking around in the series?
You ain’t seen the last of Ted, if that’s what you’re asking.
Indeed! OK, now that he’s been arrested, will we find out what the government plans on doing with people who display powers?
Ask us that question on Tuesday morning…
Matt Parkman and Sprague seemed to have matching tattoos — like Niki, but a different design. They looked something like an equals sign. Does the fact that their tattoos match mean anything? Is this possibly a brand given to subjects who’ve been abducted by Claire’s Father?
…and then ask us that one.
Gotcha, part 2.
Allright, more questions about the “symbol,” or in this case the first one we saw, the DNA/oddly shaped F thing. First off, do we have a name for this thing? Secondly, it’s been seen a number of times on the show, but – correct us if we’re wrong – it seems to appear only when bad/evil things happen or will happen. It shows up on Jessica, but not Niki. The Haitian wears it around his neck. It shows up on one of Isaac’s paintings featuring bad things to come. Is this possibly an “evil” brand of some sort?
Good and Evil are the two ends of the spectrum. Our heroes, our “villains,” and most of us as human beings, fall somewhere in between (with exceptions like Mother Theresa or Karl Rove).
So nothing would represent evil per say, it’s a little too black and white. It would be like starting a brotherhood of mutants, and putting “Evil” in the title. Who would name it like that? (Yeah, we’re calling you out, Magneto!)
Let’s talk about genetics again. We found out in “Nothing To Hide” that Micah’s got himself some powers! Cool! Now, with Micah being a product of Niki and D.L., we’re assuming genetics plays a role here. Nathan’s also got two children. But as we all know from our high school biology classes, genetic traits don’t always get passed down to the children. Can we assume that the powers are partially genetic? And if they are, is there any possibility the predecessors of these characters may have had powers?
I think I was in that same biology class. And based on the Gregor Mendel of it all, that assumption is certainly one way to go.
Mohinder plays narrator in each episode, even in an episode like “Nothing To Hide” where he doesn’t get any screen time. Does his narration have a broader meaning for the show? Are these teachings from the future perhaps?
The future. Can we steal that? That’s a great idea. Sendhil not only has a beautiful voice, some might say honey coated, but the character of Suresh has the most unique perspective on these abilities, therefore it made sense to watch them through his eyes (or voice as the case may be.).
After the broadcast, there’s always a promo for viewers to check out the online Heroes “graphic novel.” Technically though, what is displayed online is the components of a comic book (or a lengthy comic strip). It seems the show/network is trying to keep away from any stigma attached to the term “comic books.” Granted, comic books do appear in the show, but they are either read by geeks (Hiro) or kids (Micah). Is there a concern about the term?
I don’t’ think there’s any stigma about the term. I think the online guys thought it classed it up a bit. You want to blame someone – go after that Josh Swartz guy, he mainstreamed the term.
Speaking of comic books, Episode 6 of the show had a scene where Micah was in his room and a copy of the Oni Press title “Wasteland” could be seen in the background. So, who’s the fan of “Wasteland” on the “Heroes” staff?
We’re checking that out. The smoosh-faced lion, on the other hand is an homage to one of our talented Writer/Producers, Bryian Fuller – who created the amazing series “Wonderfalls.”
Indeed. And for those readers who’d like to know more about Fuller and “Wonderalls,” don’t miss our late October interview with him.
The first half of the season ends on December 4th. How long will viewers have to wait until new episodes are aired? When in January will be you starting up again? And will it be non-stop, or will there be another break?
The plan is to go out on December 4th with our 11th episode (cliffhangers, of course). Then 7 more in a row beginning in late January. Then finish the season with a 5 episode freight train to the end of the season. We know as viewers that that is extremely important to have those kinds of runs to keep you in the story and cannot praise the powers that be at NBC for making it so viewer friendly.
Allright, time for the weekly tease. What can we expect from tonight’s episode, “Seven Minutes to Midnight?” Here’s what Yahoo! TV had to say: “Suresh questions his future when dreams of the past trouble him; Hiro and Ando meet someone interesting in a diner; Peter asks Nathan to help him find a key to the future.”
One of our favorite episodes of Heroes to date – no kidding. It’s on character and innovative and thematic and all that good stuff. Get ready to learn more about Ted, bring your passport because we’re going halfway around the world, and prepare to fall very much in love.
And finally, Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News had a rather bizarre observation and guess about the future of the character Claire. First, how do you respond to a comment like that? Secondly, how do you feel when you read things online like this?
Dude! Harry Knowles watches “Heroes” and likes it. The guy’s got taste and he doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Let’s take a second to focus on that…
(okay, done with that moment)
As for the second part about Claire, I think it was an unfortunate misstep he’s paying for on the boards, but in his defense it’s possible that he confused her with Wolverine…
We love that people are talking about the show, debating it, speculating, it’s amazing. But if we worried about specific content, we would never get any work done. And now we have to make 23 episodes…
Thanks, guys. We’ll check in with you again next Monday.
Want to talk “Heroes” with other fans? Join the discussion right here on the CBR Forums!
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