YMMV / Heroes

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Alejandro. Ok, he was a rather flat character with no characterization beyond familial concern for Maya and having married a woman who cheated on him right after the wedding, but you still have to feel a pang of sympathy for him as he was unable to keep his sister from falling under Sylar's thrall and then gets murdered by Sylar when he figures the lies out.
  • Base Breaker:
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Heroes is that show where a whole load of stuff about eclipses, helices, and conspiracies to take over the world keeps getting in the way of Hayden Panettiere being all bouncy, cheerleaderynote  and indestructible and Zachary Quinto and Milo Ventimiglia being all broody and forgetting their shirts. And indestructible.
  • 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.
  • Better Than Canon: Arthur Petrelli. In a less outward way because he explicitly shipped Elle/Sylar by locking them in a room together where she could torture him to his pleasure. Then grounds Peter so that he needs to stop playing with the Idiot Ball, takes the resident Mad Scientist and gives him other people to experiment on... gave to good reason to get rid of Maya and her anthrax tears.
  • 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. Seems the fans can't decide whether the show they loved has been dead for three years, a few months or whether it still lives on.
    • Speaking of Season 4, there was a massive divide during its production in regards to Claire Bennet's fanbase about the implications about her becoming a lesbian/bisexual, some seemed to praise the decision to have her "come out of the closet" while others claimed that there was absolutely no hint that she even had any attractions to the same sex in prior seasons, and in some cases, even in Season 4, and claimed that it was just a desperate marketing ploy and just overall bad writing.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Sylar is a completely insane serial killer, but he's so nonchalant about everything and can be quite funny when the writers aren't filling him with Wangst. He's the only character who actually enjoys his powers and he's hilarious when he takes on a fake identity (usually just for fun).
    • What about Hiro Nakamura, the self-proclaimed "Masutah of Tahm ond Spehce"? The one character who takes Genre Savvy to new levels and wanted to be a hero from the start, who manages to break Suresh out of a psychiatric hospital while his brain is scrambled, among other things. The only reason Sylar hasn't been defeated by him is that Hiro believes he has to let Sylar exist. And the only reason Samuel is a threat is due to having a hostage. Not to mention he committed one of the most horrific vengeance in TV history. The writers had to nerf his powers to keep him from one-shotting all comers.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Niki. Initially fairly warmly received by fans, she quickly wore out her welcome with her multiple personality subplot and causing the death of fan-favourite DL. Fans rejoiced that she died, only for yet another identical twin to come back because the writers felt that the show apparently couldn't go on without Ali Larter.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Sylar. Oh so much. The writers finally realized this, and tried to avert it in volume 4 by upping his villainy to eleven. At least Villain Sue Sylar was a Magnificent Bastard. Now he just kept kicking the damn dog. And that ended up shooting them in the foot once Sylar made a solid Heel Face Turn in volume 5.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Badass Normal HRG (Mr. Noah Bennet), who even got Back Story A Day in the Limelight episode. Other Ensemble Darkhorses are Hiro's "hetero life-mate" Ando, Sylar, D.L., and Claude (despite the latter only appearing in the first season).
    • For that matter, what about Hiro himself? He was added as an afterthought when the creator's wife pointed out that no character created so far actually liked having powers, besides possibly Peter and D.L., and it's partly this very love of being superpowered that has made him easily one of the most (if not the most) popular characters.
    • The Bennet family's son Lyle and dog Mr. Muggles also qualify, and the latter has become more of an in-fandom Memetic Mutation.
    • Do we need to explain how awesome Sylar was, causing him to take over the show?. At least, this was before became a Base Breaker.
    • Elle Bishop and Adam Monroe are commonly regarded to be the only two good things to come out of Season 2. Season 3 crushing both of them with bridges is one of the biggest reasons it's so reviled.
    • Of the Season 4 additions, Emma is considered the most liked by the fans, given her storyline of coming to terms with her ability and chemistry with Peter.
    • Sparrow Redhouse. 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.
  • 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!
  • Fixer Sue: Matt Parkman Jr. seems to have solely been created for the purpose of giving Hiro his powers back and getting Matt back with Janice (even though the latter was universally hated)
  • Foe Yay:
    • Claire 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 stomachnote , jabbed in the skull with glass and plugged in the eye with a pencil).
    • Sylar/Chandra belongs here too. "Hello, Chandra. Why won't you talk to me? You can't leave me like this."
    • We also can't leave out Sylar/Mohinder and Sylar/Peter, given how much he enjoys messing with them. After all, he and Mohinder did go a road trip together and Peter spent a lot of time inside Sylar's head yelling at him.
    • Then there's Sylar/Elle which counts as canon Foe Yay, although it can be argued that this might be invalid, as they did have a prior romantic relationship before his Startof 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.
    • Sylar gets a lot of enjoyment out of making Angela uncomfortable as possible, even to the point of kissing her while voicing death threats at her.
    • We can safely add Sylar/Danko to the list, if only because Sylar seems to enjoy impersonating Danko a little too much. Sylar's 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...
  • Harsher in Hindsight: After Heroes Reborn, watching Matt take care of Molly is really sad.
  • 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!.
    • "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" itself because Claire ended being the key driving force in saving the world from Samuel in Season 4.
    • All the Sylar-related Ho Yay became this after Zachary Quinto came out.
    • Nathan and his ability to fly, after it's revealed that Adrian Pasdar is now the voice of Iron Man, a hero who can fly.
    • Hiro passes Sylar off as a doctor in "Once Upon A Time in Texas". Zachary Quinto does play a doctor on American Horror Story: Asylum. Said doctor is also a serial killer with issues even worse than Sylar's.
    • In 2006-2007, Zachary Quinto and Robert Knepper appeared in a photo shoot together about villains for Entertainment Weekly magazine. Two years later, Knepper would play Samuel, the main villain of Season 4.
    • In a first season episode, Claire's brother steals the tape Zach made of Claire surviving a fall and healing instantly. He threatens to "put the tape on YouTube and make a million dollars''. Zach tells him "YouTube is free, you idiot!" Years later, it became possible for YouTubers to monetize their videos and make money that way, so he was probably on the right track.
  • 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.
    • Near the end of the season, Claire has several Damsel Scrappy moments, fleeing from people who obviously had her best interests at heart and into trouble on more than one occasion. Ando's deciding Hiro would give up if he had one more conversation with his dad, and thus going to take on Sylar(!) alone (!!), isn't much better.
    • In “Landslide,” Peter Petrelli telepathically eavesdrops on Sylar's plans to enlist the police's unwitting aid in attacking Ted Sprague… and then does nothing when he's subsequently arrested.
    • In “How To Stop An Exploding Man,” Mr. Bennet warns Parkman not to confront Sylar because “he'll kill you” – but one would think just telling him Sylar is telekinetic and has Ted Sprague's powers would be more viscerally persuasive.
    • The idiocy of the Company in controlling their superpowered prisoners seems pretty key. Depowering Sylar was a good idea, but leaving him alone and guarded by only one person, who he wanted to kill anyway with no means of knowing their condition, is roughly the worst idea imaginable. And Adam? Oh, let's just keep him in a cell. Next to the impressionable idiot with god-like powers. It's not like Adam has had decades to plan his escape or anything. There are so many more, it would probably be easier to list plot points that weren't pure stupidity.
    • Also from Season 1 regarding the big threat of the season, kind of. Peter knew that if he went to Kirby Plaza, he would wind up absorbing Ted Sprague's ability, and he'd seen that he was the one who caused the big boom in New York on that November night. Does he then decide to stay away and ensure that there is no way he'll gain the power to become a nuclear bomb? Oh no… he goes right to the one place he shouldn't and boom, gains the power which will blow up New York in a matter of days.
    • In season 3, basically anything to do with Mohinderance and his impromptu reenactment of The Fly.
    • Basically every time Peter shows up on screen and forgets that he can teleport or read minds (ie, always). Notable examples include not bothering to mind-read the villainous Adam to find out if he can be trusted.
    • Most of the things that have gone wrong in the series, have been either directly, or indirectly caused by Hiro. Actually, everything was indirectly caused by him, since he caused the formation of the company.
    • Also, Peter Petrelli meets his father, Arthur Petrelli, who was presumed dead despite the fact he hasn't seen him in years and is the head of a shady organization, does not stop to read his mind to understand what the hell was going on, and why he had disappeared for so long. Instead, he runs to give him a hug, and loses his powers (all of the ones he absorbed) to his father (who took in a lot of powers to begin with), launching the latter ever closer to A God Am I status, and the former being telekinetically thrown out a window by Sylar, as Arthur's way of saying "thank you" to his son. In fact, Sylar spared him death even if his idiocy didn't suggest so.
    • Arthur Petrelli is easily the stupidest villain ever. He absorbs every power Peter ever absorbed, which is a hell of a lot of powers, including teleportation, phasing, many, many ways to blast somebody to pieces, and healing, so they can't really hurt him back. In short, there's nothing to stop him from going over to Primatech and kicking everybody's ass. What's he do? He sits on his ass, drawing the future, and sends out his incompetent mooks to fail at doing his dirty work. Furthermore, he draws a future where Claire is dead, and he needs her alive. He could teleport straight to her, capture her, and teleport back to ensure her safety. What's he do instead? He sends out his two most psychopathic followers to capture her, and is surprised it didn't work. What an Idiot indeed.
    • As stupid a villain as Arthur Petrelli is, his wife, Angela, may well surpass him. Deciding that the best way to fight Arthur was to send Hiro to fetch Adam was just one of a long string of extremely questionable choices she has made over the course of the series.
    • The third season finale and end of Volume 4 takes the cake. Having finally rendered Sylar helpless, do they finally kill him? No. They need Nathan to convince the President to end the project, and Nathan's just been killed by Sylar. So they use Matt Parkman to brainwash Sylar into believing that he's Nathan, and using his shapeshifting to support this. And the episode ends with Sylar having been left in this imposture for weeks. Angela Petrelli, Noah Bennett, and Matt Parkman are just having Sylar walk around in Nathan's role and life permanently and expecting everything to be OK. Why? Why not at absolute minimum dispose of Sylar the instant he's finished with what you needed "Nathan" for? Better yet, since Peter had already absorbed/mimicked the shapeshifting power from Sylar, why not just have Peter pretend to be his brother for a little while, convince the President, and then pretend to go missing or die? And above all else, why not at least tell Peter, Claire, et al that "Nathan" isn't actually Nathan, so they don't trigger inevitable disaster via their ignorance next season?!?
    • The fourth season's finale (which also turned out to be the last episode of the series) certainly qualifies. After living through the events of volume 4, which were the result of the government learning about people with abilities, and hearing her dad plea on his deathbed that he wanted her to stay hidden and not reveal herself, Claire is compelled to jump off a Ferris wheel to do just that in front of national television. No reason is given for this decision, other than pissing off her dad who had poured his heart and soul out to her roughly ten minutes ago. Meanwhile, every other character in the series simply stands there gawking and dropping forced dialogue such as "she's going to change everything!", even though half of them had the power to stop her without making nearly as much of a scene (looking at you, Hiro!). After spending several episodes building up how much Claire-bear loves her crazy daddy, they have her just throw it all away for no apparent reason while the rest of the "Heroes" stand around and prepare for a repeat of volume four.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: The Petrelli brothers are unusually close despite their roughly 13-year age gap, and then when factoring in Claire, who is Nathan's illegitimate daughter, there's a lot of subtext. Didn't stop Milo (Peter) and Hayden (Claire) from briefly dating, though.
  • Iron Woobie: Claire. Aided in no small part by her powers, Claire never gave up despite all the pain and suffering the world heaped on her.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Elle. Even though she's really rude to people, you kind of feel a bit of pity for her when you learn that her own dad has been experimenting on her since she was seven.
  • 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. The shellfish-smacking scene where Danko is questioning her and she's totally shitting him.
    • 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.
    • Don't forget Sylar either. His ability to manipulate his way out of every situation, play those around him and adjust to anything thrown at him is practically another superpower. Examples include impersonating a hero to get close to Mohinder, turning Matt Parkman's power against him, manipulating Danko into letting him kill and take powers, and tricking Maya and Alejandro to bring him to Mohinder.
  • Memetic Badass: Mr. Muggles was behind everything. EVERYTHING!
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Sylar. Whether they want to or not, Sylar has sexual tension with everyone. Everyone.
    • Eric Doyle; only... it's canon.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Angela. Feeding an innocent woman to Sylar just so to get on his good side.
    • Bob Bishop. We learn he subjected Elle, his own daughter, to so much Electric Torture she snapped and went Axe Crazy. When she was seven years old.
    • 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.
      • From Bad to 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 and joke at the character's questionable decisions than taking it seriously.
  • My Real Daddy: Many fans will admit to only considering the show to be genuinely good/watchable when Bryan Fuller is involved, as many cite him as the reason Volume One was great, and Volumes Four and Five were marked improvements.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • "MY NAME IS SYLAR!!"
    • The opening of "Collision" treats us to a scene of Claire, supposedly dead after the events of the previous episode, having an autopsy performed on her. It's exactly as graphic as you'd expect: She's cut open, there's blood and a pretty nasty view of her internal organs. All that is horrifying enough, but then her Healing Factor kicks in, meaning that she wakes up with full awareness of the fact that her chest has been cut open.
  • One-Scene Wonder: John Glover as Samson Gray, Sylar's biological father
  • Pandering to the Base: A great example of how negatively this trope can effect a show. Attempts to appease the fans only led to greater amounts of plotholes and even more fan outcry.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Tracy Strauss for Niki Sanders. It really didn't help that she was played by the same actress and that her character replaced someone who was already a Base Breaker. Also since the producers put her with Nathan, she's also a scrappy for anyone who liked Heidi.
      • The entire character is seen as an insult to the fanbase, especially anyone who actually liked Niki.
    • Janice was seen as a replacement scrappy for Daphne, despite the fact that she was with Matt first. It doesn't help that she was a scrappy before she came back.
    • Arthur Petrelli for Adam Monroe.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Most people agree that Peter Petrelli became much more likable after his God-Mode Sue status was undone as he was Brought Down to Normal, which forced him to actually use his brain and drop the Idiot Ball.
      • Superspeed knife fight! Okay, Peter, you're cool again. Shooting Sylar in the balls with a nail gun also helped.
    • How about Hiro? Popular in volumes 1 and then deeply annoying in 3 and 4 due to his development from the first two seasons being rejected in favor of him being a childish moron again. Then redeemed in 5 due to his cancer and Charlie arcs making him more serious again and him no longer appearing in every episode.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • West and Claire in Volume 2. This relationship was not one of the show's more successful moves, not least due to West being the only person in the entire run who Claire had absolutely NO chemistry with. Including Sylar and her UNCLE.
    • At least West has a minor role in the season. But the Claire and Gretchen lesbo-relationship in Season 4 was totally useless for the plot.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The villains / morally grey characters in this show tend to be the most popular because the heroes are complete morons.
  • The Scrappy: Loads.
    • Niki, definitely. Let's be honest, everyone secretly was rooting for Jessica to permanently take control.
    • Virtually every new character introduced in Season 2, except for Adam and Elle. Maya gets special recognition though.
    • Arthur Petrelli. He's the Big Bad in Volume 3...yet he does nothing of importance. Killing Adam Monroe just made things worse.
    • Mohinder after Volume 1, mainly because he Took a Level in Dumbass.
    • West. Wait, the guy hovering outside Claire's window in the middle of the night isn't the deranged serial-killer who's been stalking her? He's supposed to be the love interest?!
    • Maya and Alejandro were the least popular new characters in Season 2, largely because of their scattered plotline and Maya's overly emotional crying over her ability.
    • Janice: whether it's for replacing Daphne in Season 3/4 or being a huge bitch to Matt in Season 1.
    • Samuel. Perhaps the least liked villain on the show. Has the highest ratio of episodes/lack of interest.
  • Seasonal Rot: And how. This show is an often-cited example of this trope in time lapse. The first season was widely regarded as one of the best, freshest pieces of television in years. Then it went downhill faster than Daphne can run...
  • 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 MST3K treatment - has become a ritual and a bonding experience. Wet Sylar, Carniawarts, Clairiett Tubman, Sylar Durden, Rainbow Brite Girl, Gretchward Cullen - we salute you.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The third season is like watching multiple train wrecks in superspeed. While on acid. Quite literally too, in the case of the ending of episode 3.16 ("Building 26").
  • Strangled by the Red String: Matt Parkman and Daphne in Volume 3, because Matt saw a future vision of himself married to her, and started going after her Because Destiny Says So. She even asked what they had in common. Despite this, people prefer Daphne to Janice, Matt's wife/exwife/wife. Them getting back together is kind of an example because she reveals the baby is his and despite her cheating on him with his best friend, he immediately forgives her.
  • Toy Ship: Micah and Molly despite they interact only in Season 1 finale.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Noah. Really, most of his problems are his own fault, but he barely does anything to fix them. His backstory is that his first wife was murdered by a man with powers. Fair enough, but it doesn't justify that he treats his second wife and adopted kids poorly, ignoring them whenever possible. Not to mention he's responsible for why Gabriel Gray became to superpowered killer Sylar, but unlike Elle who saw good in him and wanted to help him be a better person, he pressured her into edging him closer into insanity and showed no regret for it. Every kill Sylar makes and every time he calls him a monster, he's conveniently forgetting he made him like that. When Claire is shot during a time she has no powers, he instead focuses on hunting down Sylar and Elle for it, ignoring her dying due to having no immune system due to a loss of her powers. He even joins Nathan's crusade to lock away all superpowered humans, despite having one of them as an adopted daughter he treats as his Morality Pet and promising his wife he'd stop hunting. This broken promise ended their marriage. Not to mention some of the captured people were his friends. It gets bad to the point where Claire should really stop defending him, especially when he's done things even she finds unforgivable.
  • Villain Decay: Adam. In the space of one and a half episodes, he's bumped down from Ancient Evil Big Bad back to comic relief to Killed Off for Real by the Eviler Than Thou new Big Bad.
  • Wangst: Claire. Boy, she was bad about this for a long time during Volume One. Taken to ridiculous extremes in Volume Three, when her power mutates so she no longer feels pain and she spends so much time whining about not feeling human any more. Um, yeah, not feeling pain is a problem for normal people, since pain is the body's way of telling you that something is going to cause permanent harm if you don't stop it right now. But for a person with a nigh-unstoppable Healing Factor? Pain is just an inconvenience. Not feeling pain and instantly healing is a Game Breaker of a combo. Stop complaining about it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Elle. An interesting backstory, a past romantic interest in Gabriel Grey and holds regret that he became Sylar thanks to her involvement, ultimately forgives him for murdering her father and the two rekindle their interest and become a couple, not to mention it's implied she would give birth to his son. Thanks for blabbing Noah, now Sylar kills her despite how they felt about each other.
  • The Woobie:
    • 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.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The cockroach. Also the eclipses. And the single helix, er, symbol.
    • The end of the The Fifth Stage has Nathan committing suicide to end the threat of Sylar. His body falls in the shape of a cross and church bells can he heard right after he hits the ground. Nothing symbolic there, no sirree.
  • 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?

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