The short answer: probably not. The longer answer: he’s going to give it his best shot and if anyone could do it, it would be Knepper, but still probably not. The really long answer? The following:
Everyone knows that Heroes is floundering. The writers, the producers, the actors and, most importantly, the audience. The showrunners have been working overtime trying to convince us that the show will return to its former glory. You know how you can tell? Because this year’s Comic Con panel featured no less than 6 cast members: Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennett), Jack Coleman (Noah Bennett, aka HRG), Zachary Quinto (Sylar), Masi Oka (Hiro) and Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli). Now, I have limited experience with Comic Con, but it’s been my observation that rarely do that many principal actors show up to a Con panel, particularly going into the forth season of a show. What’s that I smell? Fear? You’re darn right.
I wrote an article a while ago with some suggestions to fix Heroes and I stick by each and every one of them. News broke recently that Robert Knepper, most recently known for his deliciously evil portrayal of T-Bag on Prison Break, who was originally hired as a recurring character, has been bumped up to a full cast member. Then a trailer for Season 4 was released (you can view it below).
I watched this promo with a great deal of hope. Hope that I would be excited about the show, hope that I would start giving a damn again. I have to admit, I was disappointed. This promo isn’t doing it for me. I don’t know if there just wasn’t enough action or I’ve just become so ambivalent about this show that I simply don’t care anymore. And that’s so wrong, because I desperately want to care.
The only thing I did like was Robert Knepper. I love Knepper. I loved him on Prison Break and I love him in this promo. As I said to our sitemaster Jon early today: ‘Some people have charisma. And some people have creepy charisma. Robert Knepper has creepy charisma’. In fact, if they want to have five or six episodes that consist of nothing but Knepper giving speeches about the mating rituals of frogs, I really couldn’t care less, because I always sit up and listen when he’s on the screen. I’m actually afraid of meeting him in real life, because I feel like he would be a really nice guy but I would still be creeped out by him no matter what he did.
Can we all agree that one reason Heroes has been sucking lately is the lack of a convincing villain? What’s the point of having a bunch of people with superpowers if they don’t have something evil to fight against? Please don’t misunderstand me, I love Zachary Quinto (especially in Star Trek) and Sylar used to be super-creepy, but lately he’s just been pissing me off. I didn’t really like the whole ‘Sylar’s a Petrelli….oh, wait, he’s really not’and the identity crisis thing from last season. In the immortal words of Buffy Summers: ‘I like my men how I like my evil: EVIL!’Villains shouldn’t waiver on their villainy, it’s just wussy. And if they do, there’s a better way of doing it.
For example, let’s reference Knepper again in Prison Break. T-Bag was a psycho pedophile. He had no conscience. For one moment, however, he actually faltered in his evil ways and let his innocent former girlfriend and her family go free instead of holding them hostage anymore. But that one act of charity didn’t diminish the fact that the man was a loser. Sylar, unfortunately, has become a parody of himself and it’s not working any longer. The long list of villains who came after him have been disappointing (Adam and Arthur Petrelli, for example). Perhaps the one exception was Danko, because the guy who played him is a great actor, but even that didn’t live up to its full potential.
The point of all this is that Knepper has the acting chops to become a truly evil villain in Season 4. He has the ability to unite the heroes against a common villain. As Jon said: ‘Even if there’s weak writing, Knepper will deliver’. But is it enough?
Apparently next season will feature an internal struggle for Nathan/Sylar and Claire will experiment with lesbianism. Um…yay? Tracy/Nikki/whatever-her-name-is still has nothing real to do and they’re just wasting Ali Larter, which is a shame. And it would appear that Hiro may be traveling back in time again. *Sigh* I’m not touching that one.
I say this every season: I’m going to give Heroes one more chance. This time, however, I really mean it. I’m going to have high hopes that Knepper will deliver (he will) and that he’ll be able to lift this veil of antipathy that I have towards the show (marginal possibility). Honestly? I think he’s going to try his hardest and I’ll likely say that he was the best thing that ever happened to Season 4, but I don’t know if this show can be saved or whether it’s simply too far gone.