I was thinking about the new NBC drama Heroes today, and about the women on that show. In a nutshell, Heroes is about a group of people (all separate at this point) who have genetically altered – they can do things us regular folk can’t do. One can fly, one can read thoughts, one can bend time and space (my favorite), you get the idea. Only two that we’ve seen are women, but that beats zero. I’m going to focus only on the super-powered women in this post, though there are a couple of other female characters that could be examined.
Niki: Niki is a single mother who lives in Vegas. She’s single because her ex is a felon and is in the pen. To make ends meet, she runs a website that sells herself in various states of undress. She’s also got herself in a bit of a spot with a “creditor”…in order to send her child to a good school, she borrowed money from someone she shouldn’t have. I digress. Niki’s recently discovered special talent is that she’s got a doppelganger who…kind of lives in her mirror.
Niki’s “creditor’s” goons stop by one day. Niki experiences a blackout, and when she wakes up the goons are dead and there’s blood everywhere. Yep. Her evil twin did it, and apparently planned an elaborate coverup. Her evil twin starts making more and more appearances, and details are slowly unravelling, but it appears as though the mirror!Niki has been coming out to play quite a bit.
Both Niki and her doppelganger are quite resourceful, actually, and both do what they think they have to do to survive. It kind of bothers me, however, that the roles they play are rather…cliched.
Claire: Claire’s a high school cheerleader who’s recently discovered she can’t die. She’s chucked herself down great heights, run into burning buildings, etc. She’s indestructable – at one point she was even on an autopsy table, but recovered when what had impaled her was removed. Claire is adopted, and Claire’s adoptive father, as it turns out, is hunting people with these genetic enhancements, though she doesn’t know that. She’s got spunk and brains – she’s freaked out by what’s happening to her, but keeps her wits about her most of the time.
As the mysteries unfold, the mantra for Heroes’ advertising is “Save The Cheerleader, Save The World.” Ah, yes. Claire has now become someone to save. She’s the princess who’s trapped (albeit unbeknownst to her) by a wicked stepfather. There are monsters coming after her…and she needs rescuing. She needs a strapping male hero or two. She’s as cliched as Niki.
I like the show, I really do, but I have to admit the characterization of these two primary women are both positive and negative. Part of it might be because the show is supposed to be almost like a graphic novel or comic book – I can’t say for sure, as those are genres I don’t usually read.