The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Monday, February 2, 2009 - 7A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, February 2, 2009 - 7A
Manners vs. makeup
'Heroes' looks to
right itself in its
By DAVE REAP
Daily TV/New Media Editor
While it's no secret NBC's
how to rescue the
! action-drama at 9 p.m.
is one of televi- NBC
"Heroes" creator Tim Kring
was once overwhelmed with
praise for the show's outstanding
freshman season. But after two
years, ithas become commonplace
for Kring to apologize to fans for
the series' rapid deterioration.
He does, after all, have plenty to
apologize for: beloved characters
have been mishandled, tiresome
plots have been recycled and sim-
ply uninspiring storytelling has
become the norm. Though Kring's
mea culpas are often laced with
promises of a forthcoming resur-
gence, this has yet to come, and
ratings have steadily declined as
viewers have grown impatient. All
this begs the question of whether
the series can survive if it doesn't
receive the much-needed boost.
A strong start to the show's
fourth season, titled "Heroes:
Fugitives" (which begins tonight),
could help put an end to such fatal-
istic thinking. Admittedly, this all
sounds familiar. The series's third
go-around, "Heroes: Villains,"
which began in September, was
supposed to atone for the show's
lackluster second installment -
but it didn't. With "Villains," Kring
and his creative team sought to re-
energize the "Heroes" fan base by
introducing characters who use
their powers for nefarious purpos-
es. They also promised a season-
long battle royale between these
new evil characters and their more
moralistic counterparts. Instead,
the "Villains"overloaded theseries
with empty new characters and
nonchalantly toyed with viewers'
conceptions of the originals. As the
season progressed, it became clear
"Villains" wasn't as much about
providing meaningful character
development - which fans have
beenyearning for - as it was about
merely shocking people.
Accordingly, Kring's declara-
tion that "Fugitives" will restore
"Heroes" to its former glory should
be taken with a grain of salt. Yet
there is also reason for his opti-
mism to be infectious. Racking
their brains to find the root cause
of the show's recent problems, the
"Heroes" creative team reached
a compelling diagnosis, and the
"Fugitives" storyline has been
designed to directly correct the ills.
Kring's theory is that his central
characters have become too much
like superheroes and less like nor-
mal people with superpowers, mak-
ing them less relatable. He recently
explained to Comic Book Resources
how "Fugitives" will help remedy
this problem: "Once (the charac-
ters) are on the run they become
much more ordinary. ... (We can
get) back no who these characters
are by making them fugitives."
NBC released footage online
that shows the cast blending back
into society and carefully using
their powers so they aren't discov-
ered. Essentially, Kring has devel-
oped a thoughtful way to make
his heroes less super by revoking
their status as masters of their
environment, putting them back in
the vulnerable position they were
in throughout the show's highly
acclaimed first season.
Undoubtedly, "Heroes" is at a
crossroads. It certainly seems that
Kring has the vision required to
save his show, and now it's just
a matter of execution. Perhaps
"Heroes" is cursed to never come
close to matching its opening act,
but if there was ever a time for
Kring to show us that it can, the
time is now.
By CAROLYN KLARECKI
Daily Arts Writer
Reality shows have simply
become too formulaic in the past
It's easy to cre-
ate drama by *k
right mixture of True Beauty
people (the crier, Mondays at
the instigator, 10 p.m.
the hot people A
who always hook ABC
up, etc.) and
then giving them a common goal
to fight over, whether it's the love
and affection of Mr. Sexy or being
dubbed the best singer/dancer/
model/hairstylist in America.
ABC's "'True Beauty" breaks that
mold and puts a new spin on the
overplayed, ordinary format.
The contestants of "True Beau-
ty" (four men and six women) think
they're being judged on appearance
alone for the prize of being featured
in the "100 Most Beautiful Peo-
ple" issue of People. Each episode,
they're given a challenge to prove
they're stylish, photogenic and
capable of being among the world's
most attractive people. Granted,
this follows the typical form of real-
ity television. And just as expected,
the contestants gossip, sabotage
But here's the catch: The contes-
tants are actually being judged on
their "inner beauty." Each episode
contains several hidden challenges
to test their compassion, charity and
honesty - and thank goodness for
that. The contestants are conceited,
materialistic and in great need of the
lesson the show is trying to teach:
True beauty comes from within.
Lo and behold, the concept
makes for a surprisingly entertain-
ing show. In this grand-scale social
experiment, it's impossible not to
wonder who is going to hold the
door open for the man who has his
hands full and who is going to let
the door shut behind them, leav-
ing the man outside (yes, someone
actually did that, and it resulted
in her elimination). It's satisfying
knowing the contestants are going
to get what they deserve, and the
creators aren't just keeping the
annoying people on the show to
fuel the drama.
"True Beauty," however, is not
without flaws. The producers have
in one, which definitely poses some
problems. Unfortunately, the nicest
suck at the petty, superficial beauty
competitions, and the contestants
are already getting suspicious as to
how those people weren't already
eliminated. Similarly, those who
lack inner beauty often perform
well in the beauty challenges, forc-
ing the judges to fabricate vague
reasons for why they should be
eliminated ("I just don't think your
look is unique"). The judges try to
solve this conundrum by episodi-
cally putting one contestant who
than skin deep.
fails the beauty challenge and one
who fails the "hidden" challenge
up forelimination; but this makes it
unbelievably easy for the audience
to guess which of the two is going
to be kicked off.
Despite the show's many poten-
tial problems - "True Beauty" may
only take a few more episodes for
the contestants to figure out the
catch - itsunique and original con-
cept is refreshing and it compen-
sates for the imperfect execution.
"True Beauty" is an honest show
with an inspiring message, though
it's uncertain whether or not any of
the contestants will take this mes-
sage to heart.
the michigan daily
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From Page 5A
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From Page 5A
graffiti created by people interest-
ed in the Obama campaign. Virtual
accessibility of the image created
mass visibility. It's something
very different from Warhol's time,
where Monroe's face became icon-
ic because of its repeated presence
within the print media - Obama's
face became iconic because of its
repeated presence on websites and
places like Facebook. The media is
just moving online.
In this sense, Fairey's "HOPE"
poster has risen to its iconic
status because of both its pop-
art roots as well asits ability to
be quickly mass-produced and
spread. Just as the Marilyn prints
were created using silk-screening,
which is used to efficiently mass-
produce a single image, "HOPE"
was created by a graffiti artist
who utilized the internet to mass-
produce his own work.
While the idea of mass-visibility
might have once concerned print
publications and the placing of
graffiti tags or images where peo-
ple can see them (illicitly on public
buildings, for example), the Obama
poster has become a type of vir-
tual graffiti: an art for the people,
spread by the people.
Pow thinks Andy Warhol should've
been elected in 1968. To cast your
vote, e-mail her at email@example.com.
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DO AFTER THEIR STUDIES Hel hsgybcm
For Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009
(March 21to April 19)
You'll be more involved with group
activities, classes, clubs and organiza-
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you will work on a project with a friend.
(April 20 to May 20)
Your ambition is aroused in the next
six weeks. You're trying to prove your-
self to others, especially bosses, parents,.
teachers and VIPs.
(May 21 toJune 20)
Travel plans and matters related to
publishing, higher education, the media,
medicine and the law are a big focus in
the next two months. People from other
cultures are helpful.
(June 21to July 22)
You're very focused on shared prop-
erty, inheritances, insurance matters and
how to divide something fairly with
someone else. You're also feeling rather
(July 23 to Aug. 22)
Be patient with others in the next two
months. Four planets oppose your sign,
and one of them is fiery Mars. Disputes
can arise easily.
(Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
You're gung-ho to work hard now at
four job. Delegate as much as you can.
Don't be judgmental of others who
aren't as willing to work as hard as you.
(Sept. 23 to Oct. 22)
You feel playful in the next few
months. This is a highly creativetime for
you. It's also a romantic, exciting time.
(Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
Increased activity and some chaos will
take place at home in the next few
months. This could be due to renova-
tions, redecorating projects or residential
moves. (Be patient with family mem-
(Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)
The everyday pace of your life will
pick up in the next six weeks. You're
particularly keen to persuade others to
agree with you about something. (Don't
come on too hard.)
(Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
For some reason, you seem to identify
with something that you own in the next
few months. You feel that it represents
your status in the outside world.
(Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)
You will be much more of a fighter for
your rights than usual in the next two
months. Make no mistake about this!
Your physical energy is quite high.
(Feb. 19 to March 20)
A secret project is keeping you busy
right now. You're definitely working
behind the scenes or alone on something
that you prefer to keep quiet.
YOU BORN TODAY You're a perfec-
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Despite your high standards in whatever
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