Heroes is the show that makes me feel like Charlie Brown. The series has such great character actors, high production values, and such a fun premise, that I keep tuning in again and again. Just to have the football yanked away by being repeatedly bludgeoned with plots and character actions that do not make a lick of sense.
They reached a new low for me in the Volume 5 premiere on Monday.
Claire has finally flown the nest to go to an unnamed college and meets a driven classmate who convinces her to take a placement test to see who gets into linear algebra.
Come on, linear algebra? First, this is a sophomore level course, we're not talking about the seminar in "thing-I-got-my-Nobel-Prize-in" course that only admits a few students. Every campus in the nation offers linear algebra, and it is no professor's "specialty".
Second, who goes to a placement test because their roommate told them about it? Colleges have these people called "advisors" that kind of work with freshman to set up their initial course offerings. Nobody decides on the spur of the moment I think I'll try to get in an advanced math class, one that is usually taken after the Calculus sequence.
Third, and this is what really killed me, Claire and her annoying friend arrive at the placement exam to find that it consists of solving a four equation, four unknown system of equations. Moreover, they are given 45 minutes.
This blows me away, because it reflects the sloppy nature of Heroes for the last few years. Here's the main issue: this is a linear algebra problem. You don't give a linear algebra problem at a linear algebra placement exam, you give whatever type of problem you'd like the incoming students to know. If they are passing out of the Calc sequence, you give Calculus problems.
Next, are you kidding me? This problem might look tough to someone who slept through high school algebra, but making the system 4 equations/4 unknowns doesn't make the problem conceptually harder, and forty five minutes is way to long for this travesty.
I can almost picture the email to some UCLA professor or whomever the show asked to consult: "Could you please send us a linear algebra problem that isn't very easy?" They couldn't possibly have asked their consultant for a problem that would appear on a linear algebra placement exam, because if they had they wouldn't have gotten such a joke of a problem.
If Heroes was on in a different time, such sloppiness might have gone unnoticed. But in a time where shows like Mad Men takes enough care to get the train schedules for its protagonist correctly, this shows an utter lack of respect for the viewer. Heck, even Star Wars: The Clone Wars shows more respect for continuity and its universe than Heroes. If a half-hour animated show can do it, why can't Heroes? It appears to be the one super power they have no interest in.