I enjoyed the pilot to Heroes, as well. It's just that things went downhill shortly there after.
They did? I've seen every episode and even tho I admit, the first part of S2 was somewhat weak, it's been well worth watching and a hell of a lot of fun, but maybe that's because they got themselves a kick-ass recurring villain. According to the LA Times
, that's one of five things Fringe needs to do in order to prosper.
I agree about the villain, even tho that's easier said than done. For every Sylar you'll get one (or more) Matt's-dad disappointments. Having a plan is a good idea, tho I have little faith in anyone's ability to come up with an Evil Corporate Global Takeover Bwahaha Plan that is anything other than a rehash of elements we've seen before. (Tho Abrams seems to have hit on a nice variation with Dharma - if that's his work and not Lindhof and Cuse.) Not having the leads slobber all over each other is an excellent idea; it would just remind us of Mulder and Scully and how inferior these imitations really are. I'm not sure the side characters have much potential, and the gross-out factor is a crutch.