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Heroes - The Complete Third Season Print E-mail
Monday, 31 August 2009
Image"Heroes" had one of the most promising starts in television history.  It provided primetime television with elaborate superhero plots and a terrific cast.  However, that was season one.  Ever since then, the show has spiraled downhill.  Still, I am a tremendously big fan of superhero/villain television and cinema so I while I can fault the methodologies, I cannot deny that I still find it entertaining, albeit exhausting.

When season two kicked off it was rather promising.  However, as the writers' strike set in the show rushed the entire season arc into a half a season worth of episodes.  It finished way too fast and was almost like the writers were planning on the cancelation of the show.  Now, season three doesn't offer anything much better.  The show wavers from being rushed to being too slow.  The plots are simply ridiculous.  The show needs fresh life.

A lot of the individual plots are loosely tied to something that happened in seasons one or two.  Still, the same plot of the end of the world is tiresome.  The only thing that changes is who will stop the destruction this time around.  Characters flip flop from good to bad and back to good throughout the season that it is too hard to keep track.  And then in the end, it is uncertain whether the character is good or bad.

In season three we find Hiro without powers, but his find Ando with lab-grown powers.  Claire is still rebellious, wanting to save the world herself.  Mr. Bennett is apparently working for Nathan, who is now working with the government to detain all super beings.  The list goes on and on.  The characters convictions are extremely weak in this season.

New characters come to the screen this season such as Daphne, a speed demon and the future love of Matt Parkman.  Matt Parkman's ex-wife comes back for a couple episodes.  Danko is the new villain, plotting to surpass Nathan and take over the detaining of super beings his own way.  It wouldn't be "Heroes" without Sylar.  He is struggling to maintain his identity.  Niki Sanders is a third person now.  Her character is far from being pivotal to the series.  It seems that after numerous complaints as to what happened to Niki and who this Niki look a like is, the writers felt compelled to through in an episode semi-explaining how Niki was lab-infected as a newborn, along with Nathan.  Like I've said, the season is confusing.  There is no clear line to follow as to what the season is trying to accomplish.  It seems like the writers are in their own little world dreaming stuff up that only makes sense to themselves and no one else..

I could rant on and on about this season, but in the end there are still some entertaining things to watch.  Claire is still adorable.  Sylar's storylines have some interesting moments, as does Matt Parkman, his ex-wife and Daphne.  Hiro's role in this season is rather pathetic, but again he has his moments. "Heroes" most definitely peaked at season one.  Season two could have been strong if not for the strike.  But season three is just simply bad.  Unless the creators get some new minds in there, I can't really see this show surviving.

The third season of "Heroes" comes to blu-ray with an MPEG-4 AVC encode and a broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1.  When properly aired by the broadcaster in high-definition (which is a rare occurrence) "Heroes" looked fairly good.  Sadly, the Blu-ray doesn't offer anything more than the HD broadcast.  While the rating is the same as the first season of the show on Blu-ray, it is a bit better than the unwieldy nature of the first two seasons on Blu-ray.  Still, it is not enough of an improvement to rate higher.  Blacks levels are still consistently crushed.  Shadow delineation is pathetic and details waver from excellent to below poor.  Fleshtones are nearly always inaccurate, always flushed.  The contrast is overblown on many occasions.  Whites burn far too hot.  As with the previous seasons, source noise is resounding.  Still, it must be said that the artifacting problems of the first two seasons is not as evident in this third season.  Banding is still present but not as flagrant.  Edge enhancement is also still present, but also not as prominent.  Avid HD watchers will still notice it glaring at them throughout the season.  The season's Blu-ray transfer is technically adequate, but it could have used more post-production treatment.  Much of it is left over from the quick timeframe that is necessary to turn out these episodes for broadcast.  While it is not "Lost" picture quality, it still has a certain HD attraction.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 and is on par with the previous seasons of "Heroes" on Blu-ray.  The dialogue is intelligible, but can sometimes get lost amongst the bass.  The LFE is certainly the highlight of this audio track.  Everything is full of bottom end.  While I love bass, the bass sometimes becomes a bit overwhelming for the content on the screen.  A balance between audio and video must be preserved.  However, this audio track starts to steer away from that balance.  The music score is prominent throughout and is also sometimes over powering.  The rear channels are engaging for the most part.  However, when the rear channels dissipate, they truly leave the scene.  Once again, a balance needs to be preserved.  While dynamic range is good, directionality is hardly accurate, nor is the panning.  Again, the timeframe in which this episodes get ready for broadcast is quick so it is hard to fault the transfer for these issues.  However, the audio could have been redone for the Blu-ray release.

While the season itself may be lacking, the special features are quite full.  There is more content in the bonus section than most anyone will ever care to get through.  Nearly all the content is presented in high definition.  Most impressive is that the boxset comes with 25 picture-in-picture commentaries.  All 25 episodes contain commentaries by most all of the show's creative talent.  There really isn't much to watch in the picture-in-picture, but the stories can sometimes be entertaining.  This is a great feature for true fans of the show.  Also part of the U-Control section is the "Hero Connections – Bios."  This feature tries to tie together the threads of the all the different characters.

"Building Coyote Sands" shows the creation of the internment camp and shows the shooting of the 1961 episode.  "The Super Power of 'Heroes'" is a lame attempt at covering the stunts of "Heroes."  "Completing the Scene" examines the visual effects department.  "Genetics of a Scene" is a terrific segment that examines four of season three's scenes.  "The Writers' Forum" is a discussion between creator Tim Kring and the writers.  "The Prop Box" is simply a tour of the show's props.  "Time Sale Gallery of Screen Art" is virtually less than a minute long.  "Alternate Stories" is an in-depth look at some of the storylines left out of the show.  "Pinehearst Commercial" is a cheesy segment.  The last hi-def featurette is "Hero Connections Network" is a feature that introduces you to the characters.  These introductions are fairly useless all around.

The Blu-ray release also comes with standard definition deleted scenes.  The package also contains D-Box Motion Control, BD-Live functionality and My Scenes.  Finally, there is a sneak of season four.

"Heroes" season three is pretty much a dud.  I do think that the 1961 episode is very interesting, but stuff like that is too few and far between during the course of this 25-episode season.  The video quality is not much better than the HD broadcast and the audio quality is boomy to say the least.  If you caught all the episodes when they aired then you probably don't need this boxset, except for the fantastic bonus materials.  But you are diehard fan of the show then by all means, this package is for you.

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