I love TV. Especially good TV. And I don’t necessarily mean good as in high ratings or good as in highly entertaining. (Although, those things do help.) I mean good as in a good story. Hmm… Maybe I should start this post over.
I love a good story. If you have the privilege of hearing a story told by someone who knows what they’re doing, you will get to experience all of the things that make up our everyday lives in the span of a couple of minutes.
A good storyteller knows how to draw you in from the beginning. He knows how to keep you interested by helping you to place yourself in the middle of the story. He does this by giving you details. Things like setting, context, and descriptive adjectives help us to imagine that we’re there. These things are great (and, for sure, help us use our imaginations), but they’re not the parts of the story that stay with us. The parts of the story that stay with us are the parts that reach deep down into our soul and reflect who we are, at our core, in them. Things like conflict, tragedy, comedy, success, failure, and the search for something more. These are the things that are common denominators amongst all of humanity. No matter who you are personally, geographically, or economically, you will encounter and experience all of these things in your life.
And that’s why I love the show Heroes…
I fear that I may have lost a few of you there. I’ll explain. Yes, I am a comic book nerd. Yes, I quite enjoy a good science-fiction story. And yes, I love a good serialized hour-long television drama. But none of those things, all of which the show possesses, have earned my love. No, the reason that I profess my allegiance to the show is that I have found common ground with all of the main characters. The one thing that unites them all in the story also pushes me forward in my everyday life. And what could that thing be?
I’ve always found the idea of destiny fascinating. This idea that our lives aren’t just a random series of events and transitions, but are meant for something more. I think that all of us, if we were honest with ourselves, have wondered about it. Probably more than we’d like to admit.
And it would seem that our culture has followed suit. The past 5 years have seen a rise in epic storytelling across all media. We see that in movies like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Spiderman, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. We see it in TV shows like Lost, Prison Break, and 24. But why? I think that it has a lot to do with a spiritual sobering of our society as a whole. We, as a people, are finally beginning to publicly (even with our art) ask the question that, internally, we’ve been asking for centuries: Why am I here?
I think that’s what our fascination (at least mine anyway) with destiny boils down to. It’s about our search for a purpose. The reason why millions of dollars are spent on ticket sales and DVD purchases of epic movies is because we want to imagine ourselves as part of a story that’s bigger than us. We want to know that our life, whether we believe it to be small or large in the grand scheme of things, is an important part of a grander plan. We want to fight for something. Something good…and big.
But as good as I’d like to make myself out to be, what with saying all of that, for me the fascination also boils down to one final thing: I want control. I want to know the future. I want to know what’s coming.
And that’s where Heroes came in. You see, in this show, people from around the world discover that they’re special. And, one by one, they begin to discover that they have a purpose; a destiny, that they are being propelled toward. Some embrace it. Others fight it. But, like it or not, they are bound to it, and to each other.
And, in watching this show, something was awakened inside of me. A question. This isn’t really that odd for me, as I find myself asking questions all the time. But, this question was different. It was different because I felt like it didn’t have an answer that I could discover definitively. And yet, I found myself drawn to it anyway.
What’s my destiny?
What I found at the end of my search for an answer wasn’t what I expected at all…