Monday, March 07, 2011

No Heroics - not quite comics, but still superheroes

So, this weekend I watched No Heroics and I really can't recommend this enough for any fan of superheroes and crass British comedies.  This is basically a foul mouthed version of Seinfeld who are B-list superheroes in London.  The language is much more adult, the situations a lot more out there, but all in all this is well worth checking out.

It originally broadcast on ITV2 in the UK in 2008 and as far as I know was never released in North America.  In 2009 ABC ordered a pilot that had Freddie Prinze Jr in the Superman pastiche role but it was never picked up.  And thank Christ for that as a neutered version of this show is basically The Cape: After Hours and there's enough pabalum on TV as it is.

What worked for me is that this was just a full formed world that didn't need to be set up for the viewer.  No origin stories here, although I'd love to see how they handle one.  They writers clearly know the genre as the final episode is a play on the common superhero funeral scenes.  No, this show works because the characters are charming losers and really, who does that better than the English?  Plus, they get to hang out in a pub full of beers and alcohols that are superhero and comic book puns - from Shazamstel, and Von Doomenstein beers to Grey Widow Gin and V for Vodka, this is a great world to visit.  Sadly, I don't think it was ever taken up for a second season.

I guess what I appreciated the most here is that it's actually an ironically mature take on superheroes, and it's successfully played for laughs - something so rarely found in actual superhero books, maturity and comedy.  You can get one of the other in the books, rarely both.  In fact I can't think of anything recent that fits this bill besides Nextwave (granted this show isn't exactly current at 3 years old).