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  • Better on DVD? Though some say watching it on DVD makes you much more aware of the myriad of plot holes and aborted arcs and inconsistencies that watching it slowly one week at a time would eliminate.
  • Broken Base: The Nathan and Sylar fans exited in droves and were baying for blood after the volume 4 finale. Those who weren't hopelessly confused, that is. And really, anything related to Sylar has this effect. That's because he's a Creator's Pet to half the fanbase and the best thing on the show to the other half.
    • Another case comes in those who wish it had ended after Season 1, those who wish it had after the second, etc.
  • Complete Monster:
    • We went from complex and morally grey villains in Volumes One and two (Mr. Linderman and Adam Monroe) to Arthur Petrelli and Danko of Volumes Three and Four respectively. Both men are amoral sociopaths -- Arthur's just more slimy about it.
    • Although Danko has at least a few moments, most notably when he leaves a message with Aileena explaining how he wants to be a good man, that suggest he has a better side. It's just buried under layers of cold hearted Fantastic Racism against evolved humans.
      • As of Volume 5 we once again have a villain who ISN'T a complete monster in the form of Well-Intentioned Extremist Samuel
      • Actually, the later episodes reveal that Samuel is actually a power hungry maniac who's more interested in using the carnies as tools to make the Muggles fear him.
      • Ambiguous Situation / Jumping Off the Slippery Slope : Does he want power for power's sake, or recognition for his 'potential' that he never got from his brother or his first love?
    • Samuel is definitely one by the end of the season. He kills people in a way that is simply because he wants to. He probably didn't get love because he IS CRAZY.
    • There is also Sylar's dad Samson Grey. This is a guy so evil he makes Sylar look like an amateur. He also killed people and took Their powers but quit when he got bored. He gave up his son for reasons he can't even remember. He was that unimportant to him. He then tries to kill Sylar and take his healing factor. If Sylar was bad on his own, who knows how much worse he would have been being raised by Samson?
  • Crazy Awesome: Sylar and Hiro.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Sylar. Oh so much.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Claude, Ando, Elle, and even Mr. Muggles have fanbases. In the first half of the first Volume, Hiro was like this too - then the producers listened and gave him an increasingly larger role. Minor characters from the Graphic Novels such as Linda Tavara (Who only had three appearances, total) have sizeable fanbases. The most extreme example is Sparrow Redhouse who, despite only appearing in 3 panels until recently, was a character many wanted to see on the show.
  • Evil Is Cool: Sylar.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Possible explanation for why occasionally-repentant Sylar is a major fan favorite. Plus, he goes shirtless and gets nookie with Elle. Evil sex!
  • Foe Yay: Where to begin... Mohinder/Sylar, Sylar/Peter, even, in a disturbing way, Sylar and Claire in the Fourth Volume finale (and in the later episodes of Volume Five). Sylar's just sort of a Foe Yay whore.
    • Sylar/Chandra belongs here too. "Hello, Chandra. Why won't you talk to me? You can't leave me like this."
    • Then there's Sylar/Elle which counts as canon Foe Yay.
      • It can be argued that this might be invalid, as they did have a prior romantic relationship before his Start of Darkness drove him over the edge. Still, he didn't seem to recognize her at the end of Powerless and she got really pissed when he murdered her father.
    • We can safely add Sylar/Danko to the list, if only because Sylar seems to enjoy impersonating Danko a little too much. Sylar really is a Foe Yay whore.
    • ...Sylar uses his new shapeshifting power to pretend to be Bennet's wife.
    • Adam/Hiro and Adam/Peter goes here too.

 Adam (to Hiro): You were more than a friend to me...

  • Generic Doomsday Villain:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight - In-Universe: In "The Fix", Claire is looking for her biological family, and Zach suggests hopefully that she might have a rich, eccentric uncle. "Great," quips Claire, "an uncle."
    • Also Zach was supposed to be gay but this was not made known to Thomas Dekker. He would later go onto play a gay character in Kaboom!.
  • I Knew It!: Rebel's identity... if you weren't betting on it being Hana (though she died in the comics).
  • Idiot Plot: Although it had been passed around freely between the characters in Volume One, by the time of Volume Two, the writers appear to have grasped the Idiot Ball firmly, with the result that the premature conclusion to that arc almost feels like a mercy killing. Volume Three was even worse, with a promising plot involving twelve escaped villains and the return of Adam Monroe scuttled in favor of the introduction of Voldemort-wannabe Arthur Petrelli and a series of nonsensical subplots best not mentioned.
    • The Finale of the show had the Evolved Humans be outed by Claire on National Television. Claire, you've seen several dark futures and seen what people do when they find out about your abilities... what made you think this is going to end WELL?
      • In fairness, present-day Claire doesn't know about these dark futures as she's never traveled through time to the future[1], nor does she have any Isaac Mendez-type foreseeing ability.
      • Except that she has been present and has knowledge that The Company abducted and imprisoned those with powers, as did Pinehearst, not to mention that Nathan had conspired with the President to lock up evolved humans. It's obvious which way this would inevitably go...
      • Well, it was kind of inevitable that the outing would happen (like Sylar said, it's a brave new world). At least we were spared a fifth season finale with Hiro travelling back in time and heading Claire off at the pass.
  • Incest Yay Shipping / Incest Subtext: The Petrelli brothers are unusually close despite their roughly 13-year age gap, and then when factoring in Claire, who is Nathan's daughter, there's a lot of subtext. Didn't stop Milo (Peter) and Hayden (Claire) from briefly dating, though.
  • Large Ham: Linderman, Hiro, Sylar.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: At the end of one episode, Ando is stabbed by Hiro in a case of If You're So Evil Eat This Kitten. Some fans realized that with his powers, it would be easy for Hiro to fake something like this. However, Heroes' reputation as a show where Anyone Can Die coupled with poor writing that contained several Heel Face Turns made many fans think the character was actually dead.
  • Logo Joke: When the series was shown on BBC Two in the UK, it was preceded by a special Station Ident in which the '2' symbol eclipsed the Sun, though it isn't part of the actual show.
  • Magnificent Bastard: And in this corner, the fight is between Bennet and Nathan Petrelli. Odds favorite is currently Nathan, as he manages to be a Magnificent Bastard even when the people know it. With the introduction of Mr. Linderman - who calmly managed to talk Nathan down - a new contender was on the field. And just when we thought Bennet was out of the race, he cranks it up to 11 and shows he's a bigger bastard than even we dreamed. And then there's Bob, and don't discount Adam Monroe yet... it's a veritable bastard battle royale! And don't forget Magnificent Bitch Angela Petrelli.
    • Samuel Sullivan is definitely one. If he wasn't one before, he became one the moment he pretended that he was about to surrender to Noah to atone for his crimes, only to have his flunky open fire from the shadows, wounding Samuel and killing at least one member of the Carnival (who had been about to turn on Samuel), leading everyone to believe that Noah had tried to kill Samuel even when he was prepared to surrender... and therefore making them a lot more willing to forget their doubts about Samuel and go along with his anti-Muggle agenda. Now, if that ain't Magnificent Bastardy, I don't know what is.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Samuel has a killer one in "Once Upon a Time in Texas" - after spending the episode doing his utmost to save Charlie from Sylar, three years in the past, Hiro walks out to discover that she's been taken by Arnold, Samuel's time-traveling carnival member, at the behest of Samuel. Samuel reveals the entirety of the episode, including his previous attempts at goading Hiro into changing the past, have all been a manipulation to force Hiro to work for him, and to possibly prevent the death of Mohinder. Needless to say, Hiro is less than amused.
    • He hits a new watermark in "Pass/Fail," when he wipes a town off the map after getting dumped. He doesn't even have an excuse so much as he's just pissed.
    • It Got Worse: After the entire carnival loses respect for him, he wins it back by murdering Lydia and blaming Noah for it.
  • MST3K Mantra - It's often easier to enjoy the show for the lulz than taking it seriously.
  • Pandering to the Base: And HOW.
  • Rescued From the Scrappy Heap: Volume Five is trying its hardest to do this for everyone. (And it seems to be succeeding for several characters so far.)
    • Superspeed knife fight! Okay, Peter, you're cool again.
    • Shooting Sylar in the balls with a nail gun also helped.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: West and Claire in Volume 2.
  • Rooting for the Empire - The villains / morally grey characters in this show tend to be the most popular because the heroes are complete morons.
  • Snark Bait: There are entire LJ communities in which getting together every Monday night to watch Heroes - for the sole purpose of giving it the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment - has become a ritual and a bonding experience. Wet Sylar, Carniawarts, Clairiett Tubman, Sylar Durden, Rainbow Brite Girl, Gretchward Cullen - we salute you.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: It slowly became obvious that the main characters of the show would be the Petrelli family (and by extension Claire, who is a Petrelli as Nathan's daughter, and Noah Bennet), and Sylar. This became more evident with Sylar as the show's DVD releases went from a shadowy depiction of his face to him standing in the middle of the cover.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Matt Parkman and Daphne Millbrook in Volume Three. Exactly what do these two characters have in common again?
    • Which she just acknowledged herself.
      • Actually, she didn't. She repeated the erroneous statement that Matt's vision was only a "dream." Not only did Angela see the same future, but Peter was actually *in* it. What she said was either 1) wrong or 2) a retcon.
    • The thing about this is it was actually well done and well-received.
  • Toy Ship: Micah and Molly.
  • The Woobie: Multiple characters get this treatment notably Hiro, Peter, Adam, Elle, Noah and Sylar.
    • Also attempted with Nathan Petrelli at the beginning of Season 2 (mostly by making him grow a truly horrific Beard of Sorrow) - a decision which pretty much led to a fandom revolt and was never referenced again.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The way they depicted Sylar's mother as both a Roman Catholic and a deeply disturbed woman who was perfectly willing to kill even her own son due to his powers and viewing him as a demon really wasn't a good depiction of Christians, period.
  • What an Idiot!: Eden. Did it not occur to her that if she could use her power on Sylar, he could use his powers, too?
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Adam.
    • And Sylar (although he doesn't quite destroy worlds, just entire towns) when his son dies.

Assorted character YMMVs

Peter Petrelli

  • Brought Down to Normal: Though in the most Ass Pull of ways. Peter's powers make him a sponge that can unconsciously absorb any power that he's in promixity too. How the hell could he lose his powers to Arthur Petrelli, when his own power would have both granted him not only this power but effective immunity to it?! You're saying a power sponge got his power stolen by a power stealer, despite the power sponge possibly having that ability? Seriously writers, were you even trying anymore?
  • Moral Event Horizon: In Volume Five, he tries to use a nailgun to force Sylar into essentially committing suicide and turning over his body to "Nathan"...even though "Nathan" has made it abundantly clear that he's accepted his death and is ready to let go.

Nathan Petrelli

  • Ho Yay: With Peter, though YMMV due to the squicky implications.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Most impressive in Season 1. He certainly tries in Volume 3 & 4, but it almost gets him killed. Repeatedly.

Claire Bennet

  • Foe Yay: With Sylar and Elle (though more the latter than the former - she may have had a Cat Fight with Elle but it was Sylar who she stabbed in the stomach[2], jabbed in the skull with glass and plugged in the eye with a pencil).
  • Iron Woobie - Aided in no small part by her powers, Claire never gave up despite all the pain and suffering the world heaped on her.
  • Wangst - Boy, she was bad about this for a long time during Volume One.

Noah Bennet

Michah Sanders

Hiro Nakamura

  • Moral Event Horizon: In Volume Five, he wants to keep Mohinder out of the way for a few weeks, until he has rescued Charlie. Does he simply transport Mohinder into the future, after the events he wants to affect are over? No. Does he put him a safe distance into the past? No. Does he tie him up in a warehouse? Not even that. He has the poor bastard committed to an insane asylum, where he is kept in a straitjacket and on antipsychotic drugs 24 hours a day for at least a couple of weeks.

Matt Parkman

Mohinder Suresh

  • Moral Event Horizon - To paraphrase Zach "Sylar" Quinto, it's hard to turn back once you actually start eating people... although it turns out they're still alive, and he was just... we don't even know.
  • You Fail Biology Forever - Yeah, yeah we know this is a series with people who fly and people who talk to machines. But every time Mohinder opens his mouth, you can hear Tim Kring's high school science teacher weeping quietly.

Sylar

  • Complete Monster - After an attempt at rehabilitation this guy seems to be doing getting worse. Such as siding against his own kind (Danko), killing Nathan Petrelli and then deciding to basically Mind Rape Matt Parkman. Seriously, is there any way this guy could get worse?
  • Creepy Awesome
  • Draco in Leather Pants - Cause Evil Is Cool and Evil Is Sexy.
  • Evil Is Cool
  • Evil Is Sexy
  • Foe Yay - Everyone, but especially Peter, Mohinder, Claire, Noah, and Angela. Elle is canon Foe Yay.
  • Ho Yay - Mohinder and Peter.
  • Jerkass Woobie
  • Magnificent Bastard
  • Memetic Molester - Whether they want to or not, Sylar has sexual tension with everyone. Everyone.
  • Motive Decay
  • Selfish Evil: Anything he does is for his own gain. He doesn't care about the special round up, making a better world, or the plot to blow up New York, he just wants to cause mayhem and be the most special person on the planet. However, when he discovers that he's being lied to and his severely unhinged mental status is being manipulated to help the so-called "greater good", that's when he gets really pissed.
  • Villain Sue: Became an unstoppable, unflappable and unbeatable writer's pet around the time of Season 2. This becomes annoyingly Egregious around Seasons 4 and especially 5.
    • To be fair to the writers, he only turned out as such because fans loved him so much that they preserved him long after he was needed or wanted.

Daniel Linderman

Elle Bishop

Adam Monroe

Angela Petrelli

Arthur Petrelli

Eric Doyle

Emile Danko

Samuel Sullivan

  • Crazy Awesome
  • Expy: A concentration camp survivor with incredible power over an elemental force of nature who gathers together a group of superpowered mutants in a bid to destroy humanity? Where have we heard that before?
    • However, Samuel Sullivan is a twist: Although Magneto's desire to eliminate humanity for the good of the superpowered mutants is genuine (in most mediums, anyways), Sullivan himself pretty much fabricated that belief, not really caring one bit for his mutants and is only recruiting them so he could have his powers ascend to godlike levels.
  • The Scrappy: Perhaps the least liked villan on the show. Has the highest ratio of episodes/lack of intrest
    • Not a chance. Arthur Petrelli is definitely the show's Scrappy villain, as boring as Samuel's plotline got.

Ando Masashi

Molly Walker

Alejandro and Maya Herrera

Claude Rains

Hana Gitelman

  • Ensemble Darkhorse - seen in only a couple of scenes on the show but has a couple of storylines in the Graphic Novels.

Daphne Millbrook

Sparrow Redhouse

  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Before she became a major part of the Graphic Novels Rebel story arc she'd only had one brief appearance yet she was still a character fans wanted to see more of.

Rachel Mills

Emma Coolidge

  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Surprising popular with the fans.
  • Ship Tease: With Peter. The actress even mentioned that had the show been renewed, the producers would have explored the potential relationship.

Bob Bishop

Tracy Strauss

Samson Gray

Knox

Stephen Canfield

Edgar

Mr Muggles

Notes

  1. though she has been to the past
  2. which would have killed him for good if he hadn't managed to get her power
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