Kristen Bell and ‘Heroes’: A Double-Edged Sword

In case you missed the big news from very late last evening…well, okay, very late for me four hours ahead of pacific time…

From Variety:

NBC is adding former “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell to the cast of “Heroes.”

Peacock has snagged Bell for a key multiepisode arc of its sophomore sensation. Casting is a major coup for NBC since Bell — who plays the title character in Judd Apatow’s upcoming “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” — was reportedly being sought for several TV gigs, including a part on ABC’s “Lost.”

Now, I admit I’ve been too busy to be blogging about this entire saga, but Bell was apparently approached for a gig on Lost, a more substantial one than a “multiepisode arc,” but turned it down. According to TV Guide’s Michael Ausiello, this was because she didn’t want to move to Hawaii and was perhaps lining up a Broadway run in Legally Blonde.

This announcement is, however, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I love seeing a talented actress whose series struggled in the ratings be recognized as just that: a true talent capable of continuing on in television. I have to admit, though, that I am concerned about a lot of things in this development.

No, not because I like Heroes less than Lost or some other shows she would have been good for, but rather because of what it does to Heroes on a whole. Heroes has never been good at balancing its ensemble cast, and has already added an insane amount of characters to the upcoming second season of the drama.

The result, I feel, is going to be even more of a balance problem: considering that apparently only one of the three in-peril characters are dead after the first season finale, the show is going to be more bloated and overloaded than before.

I like a lot of what Bell’s character description says, though…

Bell will make her first “Heroes” appearance in October. She’ll play Elle, a character described as a sexy, mysterious young lady who has ties to the supposed death of Peter, H.R.G.’s past and the future of Claire. Elle will kick off her arc by committing a serious crime, though it’s unclear whether she’s good or bad.

As far as guest arcs go, this sounds like a pretty good one.

Heroes has had guest arcs in the past, but never one to this level of “casting coup” in the trades. The closest they really came was George Takei (‘Sulu”) as Hiro’s father, but even that was a different situation. Most were subtle, the best example being Jayma Mays as Charlie, Hiro’s memory-heightened diner waitress love interest. It was charming, simple, and had meaning in the story.

My concern is that Bell’s fame will result in a guest arc that isn’t subtle: that, when introduced, her character will not integrate into this universe but rather smash her way directly into it. I think that Bell is capable of subtle acting, don’t get me wrong: my lack of faith lies in the Heroes writers, especially now that Bryan Fuller fled the coop. Subtlety has never been their forte when it comes to writing this series.

So while I love Bell, and enjoy Heroes, I don’t know if they’re the right combination: when a show struggles to achieve balance, is a multi-episode guest arc worthy of a Variety article of this nature really the right idea? The role sounds good, the actress sounds good…so why I am still questioning it?

In my view, Heroes has a lot to prove after a disappointing first season finale. Here’s hoping they prove my concerns wrong, and that Bell’s appearance is part of a resurgence in quality from the series.


1 Comment

Filed under Heroes, NBC, Television, Veronica Mars

One response to “Kristen Bell and ‘Heroes’: A Double-Edged Sword

  1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens first at the Galaxy’s Edge in Disney World in Florida on December 5, 2019, and then at Disneyland in California on January 17, 2020. Have you visited either Galaxy’s Edge or the Hagrid ride yet? If so, what were your wait times like?

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