Sliders with the protagonist staying put

TV Cracked offers what it thinks are the 5 Most Maddeningly Unresolved TV Plotlines though in truth it's more like two and half, but it does mention the Heroes dead-end in which Peter Petrelli left his instant girlfriend in the future then didn't seem to care too much about it, a victim of the writer's strike and creator Tim Kring's inability structure a narrative longer than an episode and understand what inspired characterisation looks like. If Ali Larter wasn't returning for season four I wouldn't be bothering.

A better show, or in other words one written by Joss Whedon when the studio aren't holding a contract to his head, would have used that loophole to create a special episode in which we saw the future shifting about the girlfriend showing the effects the meddling in the past would have on the future. I expect it would have looked a bit like ST:TNG's Parallels, or Sliders with the protagonist staying put, with the Peter from the past turning up just as the timeline and she had settled down with her deciding not to return to the past in case it changes her perfect future again, the final, painful, climax showing the timeline change again, with the audience left wondering how it happened.


  1. I don't think we can actually blame Tim Kring for that one. The Peter-Future Girlfriend storyline was going to be a part of the original volume 3, in which the virus got out, but the writers' strike scuppered that. The change in direction in the new volume, which fell apart anyway because the writers' room became very dysfunctional, meant that they couldn't incorporate her into an already crowded new storyline. Besides, temporal mechanics dictates she's dead because the timeline in which she ended up got erased.

    As for Ali, good taste and it looks like she's got cool things (ho, ho) to do in volume five.

    PS If you want, I'll tell you what was originally going to happen with Tracy, the German and Dr Zimmerman. You'll understand why some writers got fired.

  2. Yes, but my point was that if the internal architecture of Heroes's storytelling was strong enough it would withstand a special episode dealing with these kinds of storytelling dead-ends. Kring himself says: " "No, we passed it, we leapfrogged it" but if I was a viewer who didn't sit on the internet hoovering up this kind of information I'd wonder why Peter hadn't talked about it *at all*.

    At the very least there could have been some dialogue in which he talked about it and the fact he possibly can't go and save her or whatever. If this isn't necessarily Kring's fault, it's the fault of whoever supposed to be running the writers room.

    I feel someone who genuinely cares about the series would go straight at this head on and done something with it. But it's not like I really care about this or anything.

    PS Oh, yes, please ...

  3. I think it depends on what you regard as the Heroes storytelling architecture. As well as the TV show, there's the online webisodes, the online graphic novels, and the online game. To a certain extent, there's an aim to use the non-TV portions of this whole 360ยบ Heroes experience (and Heroes and Lost are the only US TV shows that have really managed to achieve it) to fill in storyline gaps. In fact, there was a whole season three plotline involving Knox and Matt that got filmed but didn't fit in the runtime of Heroes, so got converted into webisodes, so it's also a useful way of ensuring all material gets used up.

    To a certain extent, I think that's admirable, since it does mean you're not getting the obvious plothole-filling dialogue thrown at you and you're credited with the ability to fill in the blanks yourself - and if you don't want to, you can go find out for yourself. The casual viewer doesn't get weighed down by backstory and the dedicated fans get to immerse themselves online. Admittedly, it would help if the graphic novels writers weren't awful, but if you want to, for example, you can find out what happened to that Jewish woman who could hack technology in season one, what happened to Monica after season two, what happened to the Puppetmaster between leaving Claire and gettng trapped by Sylar and what Tracy's been up to between volumes four and five (latest graphic novel up today).

    At least in theory. I think Kring and co were so concerned about drawing a line between the unpopular volume 2 and making a clean start with volume 3 to draw viewers back in that they overlooked the fact that some people at least had given a toss about some of the volume 2 storylines and didn't answer the questions either online or onscreen.

    I think it's hard to overestimate just how screwed up the writers room was by volume 3/4 though, which is why there was so much variability in quality between episodes - everyone was basically an island not talking to one another, at least according to Bryan Fuller. Even once Jeff Loeb (IIRC) and pal were gone, they were still stuck in the same rut: Sylar's dad was originally going to be the big bad of volume 4 and Tracy was going to get killed in Cold Snap and Barbara brought in until Bryan Fuller pointed out

    1) Nikki had died in virtually the same way
    2) This was a sci-fi clone ghetto they really didn't want to go into. Ever
    3) It would be more interesting to use the events to develop Tracy's character
    4) Sylar's dad would be repeat of the Nathan's dad storyline of volume 3

    The sci-fi ghetto point is important since the original plan for Tracy, the German, and Zimmerman was (according to Ken Lally, the guy who played the German for what he thought would be a long time, until JL got fired and the storyline was radically reshaped (hence sharp change of direction towards the end of volume 3) so he was no longer needed):

    "Yes, Ali Larter and I are brother/sister… Since Dr. Zimmerman was a Nazi scientist, that she [Tracy] and I are some sort of ‘master-race’ creation, perhaps cloned to be his children in his early experiments during WWII. It seems that plot was abandoned when the show lost a couple of the producers, or so I was told by friends who are still on the show."

    If you look closely in Zimmerman's front room, you'll notice there's a picture of him, the German and Barbara (as well as the same picture of the young Ali Larter on Nikki's coffin at her funeral), the general implication being that Doc Zimmerman had raised both the German and Barbara as his children (and why Doc Zimmerman thinks Tracy is "Baba" when she arrives at his door).