Contrary to popular belief, I can actually tell time. I know it’s not Friday night. I know it’s not Saturday morning. I had good intentions and wrote the vast majority of this before 10am. I had lofty goals today and they started with getting my blog back on track. I got sidetracked by a Honey Badger. Let’s just chalk it up to shenanigans.
Anyway, let’s get it!
In the mid-2000s, long before she was the bitchy teen drama queen who showed a geeky, nerdy kid the night of his life in I Love You, Beth Cooper, before she tried to kill Neve Campbell in Scream 4 (umm…spoiler alert?), before she played Carrie Underwood in Nashville, Hayden Panetierre was a cheerleader. A cheerleader who couldn’t die. You remember that whispered “Save the cheerleader, save the world” shit, don’t you? That’s from a TV show about regular people who get superpowers and the organization that tracks them down. No, not Agents of SHIELD (though it’s the SAME shit). I’m talking about Heroes.
Now I dug Heroes—well the first 2 seasons of it. It had some good shit—the indestructible cheerleader, the time-traveling, teleporting Japanese dude, the politician who could secretly fly, the shadowy organization trying to kill them. And it had some misses—we had a whole season when Hiro didn’t have powers? Boo! And what was up with Ali Larter’s character? First she was a split personality, single-mom hulk-thing, then she’s a clone? What happened to the black chick who could copy moves she saw, learned karate watching TV, and was kicking ass in Popeye’s Chicken? And Matt Parkman as a telepathic police man was no Professor X. But one place it excelled was with its first and main villain, Sylar.
Before he was the Gimp on American Horror Story or Mr. Spock in the lens flare-laden Star Trek reboot, Zachary Quinto was Gabriel Gray, a quiet, introverted watch repairman longing to be something greater. Did you read that? Quiet, introverted? That means “quiet, kept to himself” which is THE profile for all serial killers in the US. What Gabriel Gray was blessed with, or cursed with, was the heightened ability to figure out how things worked. They called it intuitive aptitude. And when people started developing powers, what did Gabriel Gray figure out? How to take them. By eating their brains. AND HE WAS FINE WITH THAT!
So he changed his name and starting tracking people down, ripping their skulls open and stealing their powers.
What kind of shit?
That, my friends is awesomeness. As a comic book reader I know a little something about people taking other people’s powers. Rogue from the X-Men (you know her as Sookie from True Blood), takes people’s powers through physical contact. But that was only temporary. It wears off eventually. They even dealt with it on Heroes: Peter, who is really the main character, would mimic powers from people he was standing next to. And again, his shit is temporary. But Sylar, he could take your powers from you permanently by taking the part of your brain where they lived. And eat it.
And they put this shit on network TV.
What you ended up with was a super-powered serial killer who only tracked down other super-powered people. And he had a method to his madness: he killed a telekinetic to get telekinesis, killed a shape shifter, then a guy who could forsee the future. When the precognition told Sylar he would cause an explosion that would kill thousands, he killed a guy who could go nuclear and stole his power. Oh yeah, and he killed his mom too.
Sylar went though a series of changes in his pursuit of ultimate power: he tried to kill the cheerleader (fuck saving the world, huh?), got stuck in Parkman’s chubby mind, had his own mind erased and replaced with Peter’s brother, even tried to be a hero—until he learned that his father killed his real mother and had the same powers, and psychopathic problems, that he did.
In the end, I loved this dude because he was methodically horrible. Sylar literally took his opponents apart and made himself stronger while doing it. Bloody and vicious but cool and collected, it was like watching Dexter Meets the X-Men every week at 9pm. And he did it all for the most human of reasons: to feel special.
I loved the first season of Heroes! But then they added those weird South American kids no one really liked, and did that alternative timeline thing, and kinda changed their mind on that whole “Save the cheerleader, save the world” plotline.
Sylar was an awesome villain, though, because he was smart, methodical, and harder than hell to stop. And the writers played that up, too.
Yeah I liked the beginning too. I think the format was something that wasn’t explained to the average watcher very well. It was very much a comic on tv and they way they played out that first arc was pretty good. Then they switched storylines and it made it harder to follow.
Sylar though was awesome! And unique. I hadn’t seen a villain like him in the comics before. I loved him!