After much speculation of ‘will they or won’t they?’, it was confirmed today that NBC has canceled its one-time ratings powerhouse Heroes, denying the series of a fifth season or anything beyond.
Dismal viewership was most likely a factor in the cancellation. The critically-acclaimed first season in 2006-2007 saw an average of 14.5 million viewers, but numbers have declined since. The February 8 finale only brought in 4.4 million viewers, with an average of 6.5 million for the fourth season overall. Word around Internet blogs and forums is that fans got disappointed with the writing, stories, character development, and too many characters being introduced and killed off. The last season saw the demise of flying politician Nathan Petrelli (Portrayed by Adrian Pasdar, who was arrested for DUI shortly after his departure), one of the leading characters from the inaugural season and throughout. The series also survived but fell victim to the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, and its second season episode count was cut short.
Despite the decline in ratings and (subjectively) quality, the show continued to be a hit in international markets and in DVD sales. There have been talks that the series will officially wrap up with a mini-series or TV movie, but as NBC’s fall programming is close to complete, fans should no longer hold their breath.
The show allowed for stars like Milo Ventimiglia (Gilmore Girls), Greg Grunberg (Alias), Ali Larter (Varsity Blues, Legally Blonde), Hayden Panetierre (Remember the Titans), and Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) to continue building their careers and also introduce breakout stars like Masi Oka and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek). Part of Heroes‘ appeal was the characters and their extraordinary powers, which included the likes of a mindreading cop (Grunberg’s Matt Parkman), an indestructible high school cheerleader (Panetierre’s Claire Bennet), and a time traveler (Oka’s Hiro Nakamura). Let’s not forget the baddest ass of villains who unapologetically attempted to steal these powers and more by cutting heads open (Quinto’s Sylar).
Well, I can’t say I’m surprised by this news and while I’m glad that the show has been put of its misery (This fourth season was God awful and yes, I loved the first three seasons, so what?) and am extremely happy that some of these actors will no longer be tied down to this show (Go Zachary Quinto! Be a big movie star!), I feel sad that there will be no closure in the series. However, Grunberg did Tweet that there will be good news to come amidst the bad – maybe there will be a mini series or movie after all, perhaps a Web special? Or maybe a DVD release date has been set for the fourth season.
It’s been quite the battle, Heroes. I feel like I’ve known you forever despite only knowing you for six months. Now it’s time for you to fly off and explode within the stars. But I already can’t wait to revisit you on lazy weekend nights with my jammies on!