I blame Alan Moore for everything. He wrote the graphic novel Watchmen and basically took the archetypal superhero mythos and blew it to smithereens (into debris, not the band).

Save your Frank Miller discussions for another day fan-boys. Zeitgeist-y stuff aside, the onslaught of comic book themed or inspired material can be directly attributed to Moore’s vision of super-beings with ACTUAL (not teen-angsty ones) human flaws. He made them accessible. He made them feel real.  

This de-construction led to a sea-change in the way these stories were told. There is a reason most super-hero films don’t strictly adhere to the favorite story-lines of your childhood: the popular masses can’t digest it. For better or for worse, what we get now are the bastard sons of a thousand Watchmen. I don’t have my flow chart handy, but Reservation is one of those children.

G14 Productions’ Reservation is DIY HeroesHeroes is way down the flow chart, but it’s there next to Powers and the X-Files (Man, now I might actually have to make this flow chart).

I say all of this with love, for I would like to think of creators Matthew Balthrop and David C. White as one of my own. I love this kind of material and the subject matter is obviously handled with love and reverence, but, guys, this has to be better. Don’t make me say it: with great power comes great responsibility. Now, I have to go wash my mouth out with Lava.

Reservation is midway through its second season and here is what we know so far: nothing. Okay, we know some stuff. Mandy (Laura Bloechl) and Kathryn (Kari Ginsburg) are sisters with (capitalized for effect) EXTRAORDINARY abilities. Kathryn is captured by a shady organization called the Agency. The Agency already has one of her kind in custody, an older fellow name John (Jim Nalitz). 

I know he’s named John because all of the other characters love to say his name with the same inflected gravitas as when Michael Emerson addresses Terry O’ Quinn’s character on Lost. He even kind of looks like him. (Not to worry, guys, Lost in on the flow chart).  

And that’s all I can handle for now. I apologize if I just ran out of patience there, but it’s because I spent well over an hour invested in a series that is going nowhere.

Yes, it’s Heroes. But, Heroes is a million other things. All good superhero scenarios are continually re-hashed and served up with some pop cultural corned beef. I’m not knocking the conceit per se. It’s just that you need a story that has a purpose. How about a story period. There was actually an episode that was mostly 3 minutes of staring at a photograph. No amount of spooky music is going to keep me engaged in a photo for 3 minutes, unless its a naked picture of Jessica Alba. 

Yes, there is a lengthy glossary on the web site that breaks down characters and time-lines, but that is web-cheating. This needs to be in the show. What we are given are circular conversations about shady dealings and heroic purposes. Nothing but set-ups. There’s a thing about set-ups. They need to be paid off.

The show is ambitious, but it far exceeds the filmmakers’ technical grasp or budget.  As far as I know, most of “the communities'” powers consist of making things glow. 

So Reservation should try to stay focused on the characters. Maybe they can go back and read some Garth Ennis and Brian Michael Bendis for inspiration. The performances are fine. I like Nalitz as John and Ghanekar as Agent Pearce and the direction is sound. But, story-wise, by now, in the second season, I need to know what the “big bad” (as Joss Whedon puts it) is.

I’m not piling on. It’s tough love. Like I said, Matt and Dave, we are brothers. I don’t want to quit on Reservation. Remember, Sam Raimi was the king of DIY and he didn’t have an HD camera. Your Punisher shorts show a grasp of the material. You can do it.

And now, just a quick peek behind the nerd curtain: Rapidly becoming the second most influential comic story of all time (yeah, yeah, what about Dark Knight, blah) would seem to be Chris Claremont’s Days of Future Past in Uncanny X-Men #141-2. Arguably, this is where the whole flash forward thing began. So, yes, you know that the writers of Battlestar GalacticaLostHeroes and even Desperate Housewives have all read that sucker. I see you Matt and Dave. Check it out, dear readers, if you’re interested in the evolution of this type of story-telling. Oh, and go see the movie version of Watchmen.  Alan Moore has disowned it, just like he disowns all of the filmed versions of his titles. Perhaps he is keenly aware of the monster he has created.

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