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Old April 9 2009, 07:09 AM   #1
Kestrel
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Heroes and female characters

Hi all, second post on the board, but I've been lurking for years.

So, I really like Heroes, and think it's gotten things turned around for the good. One thing does bother me though. Is there some reason the Heroes producers don't like their female characters/heroes (or villains)? By and large, they seem to get the shaft more often - it sticks out to me because, at this point (as of "Turn and Face the Strange"), the only surviving regular female characters are Claire and Angela (and Janice Parkman I suppose), and several of my favorites have been killed off over the course of the series, including Eden and Elle especially. Note that I haven't listed one-offs like Dale Smither or Bridget Bailey.

Elle - and rather ignominiously, after some real promise
Simone - Whoops?!
Niki
Tracy - sad that her death was her crowning (and only) moment of awesome
Charlie -
Meredith - a Human Torch that's not immune to her own power?
Eden - not a crowning moment of awesome, but hardcore for sure, and a personal favorite character
Candice - rather unceremoniously and never spoken of again
Victoria Pratt
Daphne - one of the few good new characters of S3. At first unceremonious, but a very touching sendoff in the end.
Jackie Wilcox - obnoxious and annoying, but still...
Caitlin - or at least, maybe dead. Is completely forgotten by everybody worse than death?

Special mention to:
Monica (sorta) - dumped entirely, along with Nichelle Nichols and the annoying cousin
Molly Walker - though I keep hoping she'll come back
Claire - you know it's bad when your character's defining feature is "let's see what we can do to her this week that she'll come back from!" Though it's occassionally redeemed - see "Company Man"

Now, granted more male characters have been killed if you're looking at numbers, but those include total villains (Flint, Knox, Linderman, Adam Munroe, Bob), wizened old geezers (Charles Devaux), with the occassional True Hero (D.L., Ted, Alejandro?).

Am I making too much of this? I'm not suggesting anything neccessarily, and many of these were well done, but still...
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Old April 9 2009, 07:15 AM   #2
Dorian Thompson
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Re: Heroes and female characters

If they were killing only female heroes you'd have a point. However, they've killed male heroes as well. Why does it mean the writers don't like them when the female heroes are killed? I thought Tracy wasn't really dead anyway.

Some bloggers used to accuse the writers on my show of not liking female characters since they killed off so many. They finally backed off those accusations when the fans pointed out the many male deaths--one by chainsaw, one by decapitation with a chain, several by reaper, one got chewed on by vampires while his fianceé was converted, one got his throat cut by Meg, one got his throat slit while one of the leads was possessed.....you get the point. Why is it fine when males are killed, but it's "they don't like women" when female characters are killed? If only (or mostly) females are killed there's a point. If not, there's no bias.

Now if you'd asked why do all the cool female characters get killed while bratty, useless Claire continues to survive even though she contributes nothing worthwhile, there's a legitimate beef.
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Old April 9 2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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Re: Heroes and female characters

I'll counter some of them, though that doesn't necessarily mean I disagree with you, speaking as a fan of the late, great, world's greatest superhero.

Tracy Strauss is possibly not dead. Those of us who have been reading comic books for a while will tell you that her ability is a lot like Bobby "Iceman" Drake's from the X-Men. He can reform himself after being shattered given enough water - and there will be plenty of that once all the ice from the sprinklers melts. Nikki ceased to be an interesting character, really, and so Tracy was created.

Elle was killed to serve Sylar's development, plus I don't imagine it's going to be very easy to keep Kristen Bell around.

There's no suggestion that Meredith wasn't immune to her own power. She is not, however, immune to the explosive force her power might cause (say she sets fire to a gas main) or falling debris.

Candace and Daphne are both victims of being played by unavailable actresses. Missy Peregrym got a regular role on another show and Brea Grant's off making movies.

Caitlin is a victim, on the other hand, of the fans just not liking her and not caring about the storyline she was involved with.

Some of the other characters you mention are really nobodies - Jackie Wilcox for instance was just a stereotypical Queen Bitch cheerleader that I really couldn't care less about.

I'd strongly argue that what they've done to two of their male characters - Peter and Hiro - is a lot worse than just killing them off.
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Old April 9 2009, 07:32 AM   #4
captcalhoun
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Traci is dead. the writers who do 'behind the eclipse' on comicbookresources.com said so. "it's hard to come back when you've been slushed down the sewers", they said.

they also hinted that Monica may be coming back.
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Old April 9 2009, 07:34 AM   #5
Hermiod
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Re: Heroes and female characters

^I have no reason to believe a word writers' say when it comes to who is dead and who isn't anymore. Yes, I'm looking at you, Brian Reed.
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Old April 9 2009, 07:41 AM   #6
Kestrel
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Ok, I guess I'm just grousing that it's the cool and/or useful ones they've killed off. And haven't really introduced any more cool/useful ones (and not killed them off). Hayden Panetierre is nice to look at, Claire has a reasonably cool and well-pedigreed power. The writing for her has sucked lately (though that's true across the board). Angela of course is awesome.

Point is well-taken about male deaths of course, and two of my favorites (D.L. and Ted) bit the bullet rather early, while the boring Petrellis survived. And the Haitain has been painfully absent of late. It's perhaps worth noting that all of the Level 5 detainees (except Meredith for a time) were fairly bland male villains - the only interesting one was Doyle, and Knox's power could've been interesting if better developed. Many of the male deaths are "bad guys" I guess is what I mean here.


Tracy probably will return I agree, and if they keep her Bobby-esque I'll be happy. I don't agree about Nikki's potential, though the direction they took her you're right. Nonetheless, assuming Tracy returns it'll be worth it. Scratch that, I hope she'll return.

Elle and Sylar both suffered from regression in that episode after growing into semi-heroic characters, IMO, and she still went out like a little weak thing.

Good point about falling debris, but that's not what the scene presented as being threatening to Meredith, as I saw it.

Candace is easy, she's an illusionist, just cast a different actress. Daphne, meh, still grousing because I really liked the character but at least she got a proper sendoff. And Caitlin couldn't even get a throwaway line? Just something about popping back into Ireland, or being trapped in the future but not-dead, or anything? Fans really shouldn't be dictating how your show is run, because who can you please. Though Caitlin was boring...

Point taken about nobodies.

And I'm one of those that disagrees that nerfing Peter and Hiro was a problem.
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Old April 9 2009, 07:54 AM   #7
Hermiod
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Re: Heroes and female characters

De-powering is something the Women in Refridgerators types like to get angry about, I'd be very interested to see if they're so upset about Peter and Hiro (or Sylar, or the fact that Heroes uses de-powering like you and I use a cold water tap).

Fans affect ratings, which affects whether or not your show stays on the air.

I could very easily complain about the fact that the male villainous characters are so typically bland and uninteresting, with the exception of Sylar and to a lesser degree Danko and Adam Monroe. Or I could complain that so many of the villains from the last chapter were male, like men have the exclusive franchise rights on being evil. Elle (my evil Dad used to do experiments on me) and Daphne (I'm disabled!) were, as usual, given excuses for their behaviour.
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Old April 9 2009, 09:15 AM   #8
Kestrel
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Re: Heroes and female characters

The depowerings simply don't bother me, especially with those two characters. Peter's an idiot anyway, and until he develops otherwise he doesn't need all those powers. And his current limit of one-at-a-time still makes him flexible, but not too powerful. Or if he gets his full powerset, they need to bring back the "channel-an-emotional-state" requirement that he seemed to have early on. If they'd done more exploring of Hiro-without-his-power and his relationship with a powered Ando, I'd be happier with that development. As it is, he's got some power back anyway, and I'm sure more will come. Just please, no more time travel; Timestop and Teleport will be enough.

As a general plot device though, I have no problem with depowerings, especially as they tend to be temporary... unless you're a Marvel Mutant, of course.

Fans affect ratings, but if writers and showrunners become concerned only with what fans want, you have a huge problem of trying to please everyone. Just look at the big kerfluffle over in TrekLit. Tell a good story, and have fan considerations second. Ratings and fans come from good television, not vice versa.

You could very easily complain about those things, or you could just chalk it up to poor writing. The potential was there, at least for Flint and Knox, for more depth. Elle was a psychopath, but was being redeemed along with Sylar - and unlike "Forgive Me" Sylar, there's no sense that Elle even had a moral compass to be violating (early on that is). Daphne was never a true Black Hat, from as early as her playing courier for Arthur Petrelli. She just had a much-abridged and less-well-done Noah Bennett path.
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Old April 9 2009, 09:29 AM   #9
Hermiod
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Kestrel wrote: View Post
The depowerings simply don't bother me, especially with those two characters. Peter's an idiot anyway, and until he develops otherwise he doesn't need all those powers. And his current limit of one-at-a-time still makes him flexible, but not too powerful. Or if he gets his full powerset, they need to bring back the "channel-an-emotional-state" requirement that he seemed to have early on. If they'd done more exploring of Hiro-without-his-power and his relationship with a powered Ando, I'd be happier with that development. As it is, he's got some power back anyway, and I'm sure more will come. Just please, no more time travel; Timestop and Teleport will be enough.
My point was that depowering is seen by the Women in Refridgerators people as an analogy to rape. As a lot of people say, rape is about power, specifically taking another person's power away. A lot of female comic book characters used to suffer this.

The same people who were concerned about women in comics being killed and stuffed in refridgerators were also concerned about depowering but they aren't so concerned when it happens to male characters. Why ? Because it doesn't fit in to their argument that women in comic books are mistreated for the pleasure of the largely male comic reading audience.

Neither do the deaths of people like Bucky Barnes, Harry Osborn, Jason Todd and the multitude of male sidekicks who have been killed off to further the plot and hurt the main hero.

You could very easily complain about those things, or you could just chalk it up to poor writing. The potential was there, at least for Flint and Knox, for more depth. Elle was a psychopath, but was being redeemed along with Sylar - and unlike "Forgive Me" Sylar, there's no sense that Elle even had a moral compass to be violating (early on that is). Daphne was never a true Black Hat, from as early as her playing courier for Arthur Petrelli. She just had a much-abridged and less-well-done Noah Bennett path.
I can chalk it up to bad writing, sure. I'm perfectly happy for Flint and Knox to be random stooges along with the rest of the all-male group of villains who escaped early in the season.

I'd love to have more interesting female characters on the show as this show is turning in to a sausage-fest that before long only Temis will be able to watch. Oh look, Mohinder's shirt fell off again.
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Old April 10 2009, 10:43 PM   #10
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Heroes and female characters

The Heroes writers aren't very adept at writing female characters. Sandra, Angela and Elle have been the only really good ones - and I guess Audrey, who technically isn't dead...Daphne was okay but kinda limited. Ali Larter has been able to do nothing with Niki or Tracey, so I'm not that interested in seeing her try a third time with Barbara. We'll never be rid of Claire and her spoiled brat routine, sigh.

I'm happy if the writers just kill off the waste-of-space characters and are smart enough to leave the ones with potential alone. Gender doesn't matter much to me.

I'd love to have more interesting female characters on the show as this show is turning in to a sausage-fest that before long only Temis will be able to watch. Oh look, Mohinder's shirt fell off again.
We need a character whose power is to make guy's shirts fall off.
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Old April 11 2009, 01:30 AM   #11
Anwar
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Well, there was a female character who could changes peoples' clothes in the 1994 Legion reboot series: Kinetix. Just get someone with her powers on the show, instant fanservice from anyone...
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Old April 12 2009, 01:33 PM   #12
FreezeC77
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Elle Damnit.
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Old April 12 2009, 02:06 PM   #13
Delta1
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Don't forget Hannah Gitelman. She got uploaded offscreen and evidently does marketing for Heroes, so not quite dead, but not coming back. Too bad--a one-woman NSA would have been fun in the current storyline.
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Old April 12 2009, 06:54 PM   #14
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Heroes and female characters

FreezeC77 wrote: View Post
Elle Damnit.
They probably would have kept her if they could have hung onto Kristen Bell.

Delta1 wrote: View Post
Don't forget Hannah Gitelman. She got uploaded offscreen and evidently does marketing for Heroes, so not quite dead, but not coming back. Too bad--a one-woman NSA would have been fun in the current storyline.
Eh, she's another of Heroes' parade of secondary characters I don't give a flip about seeing again. Micah can fulfill much of her role.
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Old April 13 2009, 11:01 PM   #15
ria 75
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Re: Heroes and female characters

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
I'm happy if the writers just kill off the waste-of-space characters and are smart enough to leave the ones with potential alone. Gender doesn't matter much to me.
Sure. But can't they give potential to female characters in the first place?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Oh look, Mohinder's shirt fell off again.
We need a character whose power is to make guy's shirts fall off.
Excellent idea! Meanwhile, there is maybe the Fantastic Four's human torch: his shirt always burns off.
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