Monday, September 22, 2008

Return of Heroes: the evolutionary cult show

According to Wired News, Heroes returns to US TV screens today, with the start of the third series (not sure how long it will take to reach the UK).

The Rough Guide to Evolution contains a small section devoted to cult TV shows influenced by evolution, and Heroes, alongside The Simpsons, features heavily. Here we have a whole TV series steeped in references to evolution, albeit a progressive, near-magical distortion of anything Darwinian.

During the first series, Mohinder contrasts human evolution with that of cockroaches, while Darwin permeates Mohinder ‘s relationship with his father. In the second episode, Eden tells Mohinder that she was going to give his father a first edition Origin. In a dream sequence, Charles Deveaux says that Peter Petrelli is a Darwinian, while Claude Rains later compares Peter to Darwin’s pigeons. And the show’s haunting melody is termed Natural Selection.

The evolutionary backstory continues in the second season, the opening episode of which has a science teacher--and Claire--misattributing a quote to Darwin:
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change

which in fact belongs to Clarence Darrow (it seems even Heroes nods!)

We await with interest to see whether the evolutionary themes continue in the third series.
PS. More info on the evolution links in Heroes can be found here.

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