Another one of those British comedies that's apparently considered bad in its home country yet gets a lot of airtime in America, mainly due to PBS thinking "British = good".
Thermoman, a superhero from the planet Ultron (a planet whose major industry seems to be superheroes), currently works to protect the planet Earth. After saving a nurse named Janet from falling into the Grand Canyon, he falls in love with her and moves to Northolt (her home town), where he adopts the secret identity of George Sunday. As George, he opens a health food shop that seems destined for perpetual failure... but this stab at a normal life is enough to cause Janet to fall for him.
The series focuses primarily on the troubles involved in the day-to-day life of an alien superhero. Major recurring characters include Janet's parents, who disapprove of George mainly on grounds of taste; her employer, Dr. Piers Crispin, who's desperate for media attention; Piers' secretary, Mrs. Raven, a bitter, undisguised sadist; George's cousin Arnie, who used to be a superhero but was fired by the Ultron Council for using his job in the name of profit; and George and Janet's neighbor, Tyler, who knows George is Thermoman... but doesn't risk breaking the superhero's Masquerade because he's also completely insane. The latest series includes George's children with Janet, who are voiced by adult actors.
Not to be confused with the Nintendo Hard Sega Master System game of the same name and the song by Foo Fighters. Also, it shouldn't be confused with My Hero Academia, even if it features super heroes.
This series provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: In episode 2 of season 5, Tyler chains himself to a fence in protest, a call back to Ardal O'Hanlon in Father Ted. Down with this sort of thing!
- Aliens of London (averted mostly; the show is set in England but the two most prominently featured aliens "are" Irish and American respectively; George performs superheroics all over the world)
- Aliens in Cardiff: In 1x03, "Mission Impossible", Thermoman stops an abandoned Russian space station from crashing into the center of Grimsby.
- Aliens Speaking English: Ultronians and other aliens on Earth speak English. It is pretty easy for Ultronians to learn languages as shown in Series 2 Episode 3, where Xil, who previously just spoke Ultronian, learned English by reading Tyler's mind.
- Amnesia Danger: In 3x10, "A Day to Remember". Thermoman, whose powers include erasing people's memories, inadvertently erases his own memory of being Thermoman. This, of course, conincides with the discovery of a giant meteor hurtling towards the Earth.
- Amusing Alien
- Back from the Dead: It is revealed in Series 6 Episode 5, Not for Prophet, that George is capable of bringing peope back to life. He does this to Ollie's pet spider, which he then accidentally kills, he does it to Piers (also resurrecting a squirrel that was made into a fur coat) which results in him being regarded as a chosen one.
- Badass Cape
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: George/Thermoman may be the first public superhero on Earth, but over the course of the series he reveals that various other historical figures have ties to his planet; Einstein and Mozart are explicitly identified as human-Ultron hybrids, Joan Collins is stated to be another Ultronian, and Leonardo da Vinci is a full Ultronian (As Arnie puts it: "He was designing helicopters and tanks in the 15th century. Does that sound like normal human behaviour?").
- Big Little Man: In one episode, the main characters spend a while worrying about the dreaded (*glances around* *whispers*) Grand High Arbiter of Misuse of Power coming from Ultron to punish George for cheating in a lottery. The arbiter eventually arrives, and we see a figure in a black robe, seen from below, filling the screen and taking menacingly. Then we see that he's several inches tall and standing on a table. Janet squashes him, and George and the Ultron Council are all amazed that they didn't think of doing that to get rid of him before.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Ultronians have a laundry list of unusual reactions to Earth substances, from bourbon to biological laundry detergent.Janet: Polyester trousers?
George: We just think they're naff.
- The Blind Leading the Blind:
- Brought Down to Normal / De-Power : The Ultron Council is capable of stripping individual Ultronian superheroes of their powers.
- Having abused his powers for personal gain, this happened to Arnie (formerly Polarman) before the series. He becomes Polarman again in 2x04, but he ends up getting powers taken away again by the end of the episode.
- Briefly happens to George when his double Hillary frames Thermoman for kleptomania. His powers are returned when Hillary is exposed as the culprit.
- Captain Superhero: 6x07 mentions Captain Omnipresent and Captain Crap.
- Casanova Wannabe: Dr. Crispin gives the impression that he's had loads of women, but admits in "A Day to Remember" that he's actually a virgin, and while he apparently lost his virginity later, considering that it was to a woman at least the age of Janet's mother who had false teeth while he was utterly drunk, it's questionable if he would be able to or want to remember it.
- Catchphrase: Parodied with Dr. Crispin's repeated use of "I am always here" in an attempt to establish a catch phrase.
- Chest Insignia: Several superheroes, including Thermoman, have these:
- Thermoman: An explosion.
- Polarman: A snowflake
- Miracleman: A lightning bolt through a cloud.
- Faldoman: A man playing golf.
- Work Experience Boy: A cup of tea.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: George's shop assistant Avril (Moya Brady) completely disappears after Series 1, her position being filled by Tyler and Arnie.
- Close-Enough Timeline: 4x10 ends with George and Arnie mostly fixing the timeline after messing it up. However, as a result of an encounter between a younger Ella and a time-travelling Arnie in 1978, Janet now has a never-seen-before younger brother named Arnold, who looks an awful lot like Arnie.
- Closer to Earth: Arnie has spent longer living on Earth than George, so he has a better grasp of things that continually leave George confused.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Just... Tyler. For God's sake, the man has tea parties with Frodo Baggins.
- Colony Drop: In 6x08, "Believe", Thermoman accidentally drops a village in Bavaria on another village, causing them to both catch fire and set alight to a third one. However, no-one actually gets hurt as Thermoman manages to rescue them all (including Ella and Stanley) from his blunder, though they weren't overly grateful about it.
- Continuity Snarl: As the show operates on the Rule of Funny first and foremost, what passes for its lore is subject to this.
- In 1x02, George tells Ella and Stanley that his parents are named Patrick and Siobhan. 1x05 establishes that the Earth name of George's father is in fact Seamus. While this can be attributed to George making up a fake lifestory on the spot, 6x01 complicates matters by claiming that the name Siobhan is impossible to pronounce for Ultronians.
- In 2x01, George gives his age as 842. However, 3x04 features the celebration of George's 327th. A possible explanation is that the latter is merely the age of George's old body which later expires in that episode, though why they would celebrate that rather than his true age is anyone's guess.
- 2x02 has George and Janet confronted by Xil, a female Ultronian with superpowers matching Thermoman. However, when Cassie is born in 5x01, George reveals to Janet that Ultron females' quirk is telling the future, with none of the superpowers that men have.
- It may be that George just meant that Cassie would only develop the full range of powers when she is an adult where Ollie had the full set from birth.
- In series 2, Janet is made aware that Ultronian prgenancies last six days, indeed that is how long it takes for her to give birth to Ollie. Come Series 5, however, her second pregnancy lasts only a day as part of a gag during Cassie's birth scene, where George recalls that he can remember Janet saying she wanted another baby like it was yesterday because it was yesterday. Furthermore, he notes that they could make a little sister for Cassie by tomorrow. However, in 5x08, it is reiterated that Janet was pregnant with Ollie for six days.
- It may be that second pregnancies are just faster.
- Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: As established in 3x08, Rule 9 of the Superhero Code states that "No superhero shall ever lend his name, image or reputation for commercial endorsement of any kind, even Kentucky Fried Chicken". As such, George is irate to see Arnie use the image of Thermoman (via George's double Hillary) to promote the Health Shop, which indicates that Hillary is up to no good.
- Cousin Oliver: Thermo Baby.
- Crossover: The Comic Relief special ends with Thermoman meeting Mr. Blobby.
- Day of the Week Name: Thermoman's Clark Kenting name is George Sunday. When James Dreyfus takes the role, Thermoman uses his imagination really hard and goes with the Alter Ego of George Monday.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mrs. Raven and to some extent Janet.
- Early Installment Weirdness: As Thermoman, George initially spoke in a deep voice not unlike Batman. This was dropped after the first two series.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Regardless of what Mrs Raven does to other people, she has never harmed or endangered Janet through her actions beyond joining everyone else in considering George an idiot, and was genuinely touched when Janet asked her to be a bridesmaid (on the understanding that she wouldn't be expected to smile or anything like that).
- Evolving Credits: Throughout the series, clips from the show are used with Ardal O'Hanlon (George) and Emily Joyce (Janet) are the only two to be credited in the opening though the other main characters are featured as well. Whereas Janet's shot was changed for nearly each series, except for Series 1-2, George's uses the same clip of him from the first ever episode until James Dreyfus takes the role in Series 6.
- Fake Twin Gambit: When a rare Ultronian heart condition causes George to 'die' in public and be cremated (he and Janet were intending to discredit Piers as a doctor during the funeral but the condition kicked in again), they get around it by having George simply walk into the health centre and pretend that the person who died was his identical twin brother, Seamus, who was pretending to be George for a week as a joke.
- Fish out of Water: George (Kept up for too long; a man who has lived on Earth for five years should understand what prostitution is).
- Flying Car: In S 2 E 04, Janet and George make a deal with Piers which results in him giving them his car which George makes fly.
- Janet: "Now slow down, there's some traffic up ahead."George: "Traffic? No problem, baby."
- Foreign Remake: According to an interview with the late John Stroud[http://www.downthetubes.net/tv/my_hero/john_stroud_int_110105.html], a German remake of My Hero was planned, a pilot was made and John said it was really funny. But apparently the project didn't get further because there was another sitcom airing about a wife who's secretly a witch, that they felt might be too similar.
- Forgotten Trope: Parodied. Instead of changing into his costume in phone booths like Superman, Thermoman always does it in the restroom.
- Freudian Excuse: Despite a wealthy and well-educated upbringing, Piers' selfish and narcissistic behaviour is revealed in the episodes "Cassie Come Home" and "Believe" to stem from multiple childhood traumas including school bullies, a mother who clearly liked his brother more and a father that makes Hitler look like a saint.
- Gender Bender. This can apparently happen to Ultronians who contract certain illnesses (one episode has Ollie suffer from this when his half-human physiology causes him to experience an Overnight Age-Up, turning him into the 20-something Olivia). Arnie apparently once had this happen to him... but didn't bother shaving his/her moustache.
- There are also gender-changing pills that Ultronians can take. After George temporarily becomes a woman (James Dreyfus in drag) they accidentally slip into the water supply, affect Mrs. Raven.
- Gilligan Cut: season 1 episode 3 when George is trying to wash his super hero outfit.George Tyler! Do you know how to work washing machines?Tyler Do I know how to work washing machines?(cut to kitchen filled with bubbles)Tyler No
- Godwin's Law: In 4x09Patient: This is worse than Hitler's Germany!Mrs. Raven: Oh, thank you!
- Goo Goo Godlike: The Genius Ditz superhero Thermoman had a son, Ollie, who is just as powerful as his father - but also twice as intelligent.
- Also, Cassie, while having only just the power to tell the future, has intelligence equal to Ollie.
- Cassie trying to actually tell people about what she sees in the future goes about as well as you'd expect when she's trying to interpret what she sees with only a few hours experience to work with; she starts out by accidentally causing everyone to think something was about to kill everyone in the hemisphere because she saw everyone on one side of the planet 'dead', but it turned out they were asleep.
- Also, Cassie, while having only just the power to tell the future, has intelligence equal to Ollie.
- Half-Human Hybrid (George and Janet's children)
- The idea of George and Janet having kids is first pondered in Series 1 Episode 5, Old Man Riverdance. Janet asks George if they had children would they be human or Ultronian, he tells her they'd probably be a bit of both, "in Earth terms: brilliant, in Ultron terms: seriously retarded". He also reveals that Ultronians have been breeding with humans for centuries. Ultronian-Human hybrids include: Mozart, Einstein and loads of sportsmen: Pete Sampras, Nick Faldo and Stephen Hendry, as he says "all brilliant, but something not quite human about them."
- Aside from the children, George and Janet's wedding features an appearance by George's cousins from planet Zargon, who are part human, but are also part fish.
- Also, in the last episode of Series 4, Arnie conceives a child with Ella in the past.
- Ultronian-humans are said to sometimes lose their Ultronian talents as they grow, with the "inferior gene" kicking in. Arnie says this is what happened to Macauley Culkin: "Great until he was ten, and then kaput."
- Hates Everyone Equally: LampshadedMrs. Raven: I hate Americans.
George: You hate everyone, Mrs. Raven. You're very fair that way.
- Henpecked Husband: Stanley.
- Human Outside, Alien Inside: A fair number of jokes revolve around the quirks of Ultronian anatomy, ranging from "unpleasant reactions to everyday chemicals" to "blue urine" to "unpredictable bouts of coma".
- Identity Impersonator: In 1x04, "Thermoman's Greatest Challenge", Thermoman was scheduled to give a public appearance in Northolt and Janet's father threatened to cut off all ties with George if he didn't personally thank Thermoman for having saved Janet's life (his and Janet's first meeting). George made Tyler wear the costume then erased his memory.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: The episode "Time and Time and Time Again" sees George learn how to travel in time, using it to prevent an incident where Janet broke her arm as a child and retains a twinge of pain into adulthood, but he learns later that this accident also lead to the discovery that she had a medical condition that would have caused her to go bald in her teens. As a result, George goes back to stop her arm being broken at seven and leaves her a note to get her scalp checked in her teens, but this creates a world where Janet is happily married to Piers after he treated her condition, with Janet's parents and Mrs Raven now far happier people, and Tyler is now in a relationship with the gorgeous blonde who lives in what would have been Janet and George's flat. Witnessing this, George initially plans to leave forever now that everyone appears to be happier without him, but when he sees that Piers and Mrs Raven are having an affair, he goes back in time once again to restore the original course of events.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Piers, who constantly brags about his reputation and career when in reality he is a very poor doctor who once stated to Janet that he's only cured around half a dozen people.
- In the Blood: One episode featured Mrs. Raven's evil(er) mother who kidnapped her for a ransom.
- It's Been Done: The episode where George runs for mayor. "We can't both be mayor! Ooh, I've got an idea, we could have some sort of vote. And someone could count them. And then—wait for it—the one with the most votes wins!"
- Literal-Minded: George
- Magical Boyfriend: George for Janet.
- Meddling Parents (Janet's parents)
- Must Not Die a Virgin: Piers in "A Day to Remember".
- Narcissist: Piers.
- The Nth Doctor: The sixth season sees Ardal O'Hanlon replaced by James Dreyfus, explained as George having lost his body while gambling and requiring a new one.
- Older Than They Think: Ironically for a show with glaring Continuity Snarls (see above), several throwaway gags become important later on.
- After becoming pregnant in 2x06, Janet gives birth to her first child, an Ultronian-human hybrid and a talking baby, in 2x07. In the pilot, George absent-mindedly tells Janet that he spoke to his mother when he was a week older.
- Later, in 1x05, George and Janet discuss their potential children, George speculating they would be a bit of both species and brilliant by human standards.
- 3x04 establishes that George's external human form can be traded for another, providing a rationale for the Series 6 recast.
- Only Sane Man: Janet.
- Overly Long Name: 2x03 features George's betrothed from Ultron, Xilialadonnamashamaliafigonanamununu or Xil to her friends.
- Part-Time Hero: George.
- Politicians Kiss Babies: The series has Piers Crispin kissing small children during his attempt to campaign for Mayor in one episode, though it backfires when he tries to kiss Ollie and gets punched in the face (Ollie being the son of George Sunday/Thermoman, and thus a superbaby).
- Prone to Tears: Just look at poor Tyler when he feels rejected by George or Janet. Aww.
- Really 700 Years Old: In 2x01, George gives his age as 842, while 3x04 features his 327th birthday celebration, of his Earthly body which expires and has to be replaced soon after. His peers, most notably Arnie, are presumably about the same age, while his father Seamus would be even older than that. From what is seen of Ollie's 7 year old self in 4x10, Ultronians go through childhood at roughly the same rate as us. That said, 4x07 features the Ultronian adolescent Dr. Chelsea Williams, who is actually aged 72 (and a quarter).
- Refuge in Audacity: When Janet's first pregnancy sees her half-Ultronian baby grow to an extent where she'd be ready to give birth in a week, she claims that she's just late showing to hide George's secret identity.
- Rescue Romance: Thermoman saves Janet from falling into the Grand Canyon, and they fall in love at first sight.
- Sarcastic Confession: Janet does this several times, which leaves the Literal-Minded George confused at best or distraught at worse.
- She'll also tell her parents or anyone else who asks that George is an alien and/or Thermoman. She'll just say it in a sarcastic tone of voice.
- No Sense of Distance: 6x08, the final episode of the series, establishes that the speed of light is the speed limit for superheroes, that is, a legal speed limit rather than a biological limitation, and George infact receives a penalty for breaking it. In any case, this is problematic as Ultronian civilization is established as having a pan-galactic influence; indeed, there have been episodes before in which Thermoman has travelled from Earth to Ultron and across the galaxy in a matter of hours at most. However, if this speed limit is to believed, it would take him no less than four years to get to the nearest star system. Simply put, the notion that star-hopping superheroes can be expected to restrict themselves to sublight speed is ridiculous as they are essentially equivalent to the spacecraft of interstellar civilisations.
- Shooting Superman: Justified. In 3x02, a thug shoots George in the chest, unaware that he is actually an indestructible Ultronian. George does not feel a thing and proceeds to apprehend the gunman, only noticing he has been shot after Mrs Raven points it out and he sees smoke coming out of his chest. As this incident was witnessed by Mrs Raven and Piers, George erases their memories.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Piers towards Janet.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Piers Crispin
- Something Person: Most superheroes in this universe following this naming convention, most notably Thermoman himself.
- Arnie was formerly known as Polarman.
- In 2x05 Rovi!Piers names himself Miracleman.
- In 4x05, Stanley temporarily gains superpowers and names himself Faldoman.
- In 4x06, Thermoman is temporarily replaced as protector of Earth by a quick succession of superheroes, namely Localman, Tempman andWork Experience Boy.
- 6x07's superhero rankings mentions Unbeatableman, Superman, Superish Man, So-so Boy, He'll Do If You're Desperate Man and Uselessman.
- Smug Super: Despite the fact George rarely fits this trope, it is lampshaded in 3x07, "Little Green Man".
- Janet: "You seem very pleased with yourself."George: "Well I am, it's great being super."
- Speaks Fluent Animal: George uses a device called the Interspecies Interpreter in Series 3 #3 which allows him to talk to animals (except dung beetles, as George says "why would you want to, they live in dung"), specifically Ella and Stanley's dog.
- It returns in Series 6 #3 where the new George uses it on Ella and Stanley's cat to find out why Janet gives it so much attention.
- In Series 4 #6, Tyler talks to a dog about George's campaign for Mayor of Northolt. Although this could be one of his delusions, the dog actually shakes his hand, and hell, Tyler being friends with da Vinci turned out to be true.
- Tyler does speak Ultronian, so he may have an uncanny knack for languages.
- Superpowerful Genetics
- Super Breath: As an homage to Superman, Thermoman from My Hero has "Thermo-breath" which can add or remove heat with his breath, as well as simply exhaling powerful gusts.
- Superhero School: In 3x06, George recalls attending Superhero Academy.
- Superheroes Wear Capes
- Superheroes Wear Tights
- Superman Substitute: Thermoman functions as this in the My Hero universe. However, 6x07 establishes that Superman himself does exist. Rather than hailing from DC Comics' planet Krypton, this "Superman" is presumably an Ultronian like Thermoman.
- Super Senses:
- X-ray vision, which lets you see people naked.
- Ollie is also mentioned to have Superhearing, when he listens in on Janet and George, George tells her they would have to go past the Falklands for him to not hear them.
- Superheroes can smell natural disasters. Yes, smell natural disaster. Wiping your nose helps find them easier. George's father said that he could sense different disasters for each nostril.
- Super Zeroes: Work Experience Boy is shown to be this. By implication, So-so Boy, He'll Do If You're Desperate Man, Uselessman and Captain Crap count as well.
- Tastes Like Chicken: In 5x08, "How Green Was My Ollie", George gets some GM Food from Ultron which allows anything to taste like anything (e.g. something that looks like broccoli but tastes like ice cream). Tyler has a snack in George's house and says that it tastes just like chicken, only for it to be revealed by George that it is chicken.
- 10-Minute Retirement: In 4x08, "The Consultant", George resigns from his superhero duties protecting the Earth after new rules make him so stressed he almost causes the death of his friends by a ICBM. He is replaced by Locum Man, who is soon replaced by Tempman, who is replaced by Work Experience Boy when Tempman decides to take a gap year. When Janet is trapped in the burning Health Centre, Work Experience Boy's attempt to save her goes tits up when he accidentally flies into a bush, but George triumphantly returns as Thermoman and saves her.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Tyler, a Talkative Loon and Conspiracy Theorist who is nonetheless the only person to recognise George Sunday as Thermoman.
- Thermoman does have a much better disguise than Superman, however. Thermoman wears a helmet that covers much of his face, has a radically different voice and accent than he uses as George, and almost never walks anywhere (flying instead) which makes it difficult to recognize him by how he moves.
- Title Drop:
- In Series 4 #10, "Time and Time Again", Janet calls Piers "my hero" in an alternate timeline where she married him instead of George.
- In Series 5 #5, "Nothing to Hide", George tells a detective that he has, well, nothing to hide.
- In Series 6 #8, "Believe", the final episode of the series, Piers releases a book called Believe.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": In 4x02, "The Living Dead", Thermoman's Bizarre Alien Biology acting up leads to his secret identity, George Sunday, being thought dead by everyone. The idea was that he'd sit up in the coffin during the ceremony before his cremation and make Dr. Piers Crispin look like an idiot (which isn't particularly difficult). Two things combined to put it under this trope: a sudden attack of that same BAB problem that caused all this in the first place, and a B-plot featuring Mrs. Raven fusing therapeutic and stage hypnosis. Hilarity Ensues:Vicar: One...
Ella: Take me now my stallion Stanley, ravage me you raving beast! (Out of character as all hell)
Stanley: That is my gift, that is my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-Man!
Piers: <chicken noises>
Mrs. Raven: Shame he won't get to four!
Vicar: These are the things we will remember this good man for.
Janet's Parents, Arnie, and Piers: (complete with the dance) YMCA... It's fun to stay at the YMCA
(Bizarre Alien Biology is acting up, so George hasn't sat up on schedule, and Janet is trying to stop the coffin from entering the furnace cremation... thing)
Priest: She's got the strength of ten!
The Same Four As Before: (Start doing the Chicken Dance. Mrs. Raven falls out of her seat laughing)
- True Love's Kiss: Subverted in 2x05. George, attempting to break through Rovi's mind control over Janet, announces that he's giving her a True Love's Kiss, but later confesses that what actually broke the mind control was him using the kiss to covertly slip her the antidote to the super-attraction ability that Rovi had been using on her.
- Uncanny Valley Make Up: Mrs Raven, when trying to appear nice because of the supervisor.