Recently, I was trolling the internet and found a darkened corner wherein someone lamented all the unfinished plot-lines and lost opportunities of Tim Kring’s ‘Heroes.’  Though initially interesting, the book coasted a bit in season 1, fell apart due to the writer’s strike in season 2 and never regained my interest enough with season 3 to bring me back for the last “volume.”  Given its ‘super-powers are genetic’ premise and the multiple similarities to the comic-book adventures of the X-Men, some have said that the end of the show was due to a case of Xavier-envy, but I wonder about what might have been, and how Claire would look in her Wolverine costume.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) learned the most important lesson that ‘Heroes’ had to teach, which was the simple lesson that hair gel equals evil, asking: In your opinion, what property, comic or movie worst squandered the potential of its premise?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Man the Highlander movie was awesome, they should have left it as it was, but they had to make sequels. Don’t get me wrong, those sequels had interesting storylines, but the way they did them was AWFUL

      • I’d agree with you, but I think the later television series did quite a bit to redeem the property, given the limits of non-network budgets.

    • The only sequel I even remotely enjoyed was “Endgame”, and even that was bad (though not nearly as bad as Highlander 2 or the most recent, Highlander: The Source).

      And as with AllenBT, I rather enjoyed the TV series. I was reluctant to watch it at first after the terrible Highlander sequels left me starting to dislike the franchise, but I ended up enjoying it. Of course, it also suffered the fate of terrible sequels (The spinoff series “Highlander: The Raven” was AWFUL).

  2. Star Trek Enterprise: They had the potential to explore the backstory of the Federation, its allies and its enemies: especially the klingons and romulans. And the show worked very well when it stuck to those topics. But it strayed too far afield, creating new enemies that nobody cared about because they were just proxies made up because the producers wanted to do their own things. They went from a temporal cold war which made no sense to another almost omnipotent enemy who hung around in nebulas, etc. while pretty much ignoring the klingons and romulans. The problem was that none of these new enemies existed or were mentioned in the other ST series, and certainly if they’d done so much damage to earth, the federation and the timeline, it would have been included as part of federation history. It was all wasted potential and opportunity. Then, to have Fox cut the series short because it “didn’t fit their business model” and, when it went into syndication, to have Fox pick it up in syndication was just adding insult to injury.

    • Fox had nothing to do with Enterprise. It was part of the UPN (United Paramount Network), which was a Viacom joint… Enterprise was always part of their network block, and never went into first-run syndication, canned by UPN in 2005, with the network following it into oblivion the next year.

  3. as much as I love the Smallville, I always felt it could have been so much more. They wasted so much time trying not to let him be Superman that it felt stunted.they were lied too much on romantic drama when they should have been focusing more on action

    • I think that is part of why I kinda stopped paying attention until later seasons when they started having stories with other DC characters and adding more action stories. I watched a few episodes of seasons 1 and 2 on TNT recently and had almost forgotten that the show used to be quite different than what it had become. I do agree that they stuck too much to romance stories though, particularly when most of us knew some of these relationships were doomed before they even began.

  4. The Wing Commander movie. That was a giant steaming pile of _____. However, the games, especially 3 and 4 starring Mark Hamill and Biff from BTTF, were fantastic. They could have built a franchise around that property if they had handled it better.
    A close runner up was the Eragon movie. The book quadrillogy is awesome, but its almost like they didnt have the funds to produce the movie on the scale they needed to. Heck, the elves didn’t even have pointy ears in the movie. Do you not have enough money for a couple bucks worth of silicon rubber?

  5. Because I have screwed-up tastes, my prime examples are two Western-produced magical girl series, W.I.T.C.H. and Winx Club. Winx’s flaws are obvious, but the basic set-up (each planet has magical protectors & they need to attend a special school before they can take that position) has promise. W.I.T.C.H. has an appealling design (I adore the color scheme their costumes use) & well thought-out mythology, but the comics deteriorated into villain fights with real stakes to boring slice of life stories with only a bit of magic. And the less said about how Disney USA mismanaged the property or the TV show’s attempts to make a magical girl series into something targetted largely at little boys, the better. I like both more for what they could have been with more effort than what they ultimately were, but seeing what they’re content to be is just depressing. It’s so frustrating to be a magical girl fan in the States sometimes…

  6. The Dresden Files tv series. Excellent source material (it’s all I can do not to buy the new book rather than wait for Christmas) that they blew completely to hell, making all sorts of changes that made no friggin’ sense (e.g, having blonde, Irish Murphy be a brunette Latina in the show while making brunette, Latina Susan Rodriguez be a blonde). Also, Paul Blackthorne? Fine actor, but not the right guy to play Harry Dresden.

    • I actually found the choice of Paul Blackthorne to work quite well for what I thought of Harry. In fact, none of the actor choices really bothered me. Where I felt the show fell apart was when we got story lines from the books. Each episode that tried to take a full novel and condense it just flat-out failed. Also, changing Bob into a former human was a mistake.

  7. American Gothic, one of the wave of 90s ‘mythology’ shows that erupted from X-Files mania. It had enough of the X-Files elements to be interesting, but wasn’t so derivative as to seem like an overt ripoff (Dark Skies). It just never quite found its footing, but Gary Cole as the ‘is he or isn’t he the Devil himself’ was pretty awesome. Always felt that one should’ve gone 6 seasons and a movie.

    • I have not and will NEVER forgive CBS for canceling American Gothic. #wipes away manly tear# excuse me the pain is still too fresh.

  8. My all time pick for wasted potential has to be Robocop 3. I’s just just so frustrating to sit there watching the bland family friendly action flick that came out of the Hollywood sausage factory and still be able to see flashes of the darkly comic, vicously satirical and intelligent film they could have made.

  9. ST: Enterprise had a decent 4th season, but by then, the handwriting was on the wall. If they had started the series with some of the plots used in the 4th season, the series might have made it to 7 seasons, better yet, a cold war with the Romulans.

    • Because of how different the series was compared to the Trek we knew before that series, I was actually convinced that Enterprise was set in the Mirror Universe (or another alternate timeline) until they had the Mirror Universe two-parter. It was the only way I could mesh the canon flubs with established history.

  10. I really liked The Cape television show. I thought it suffered from a low budget and some major suspension of disbelief , but it was a fun show that tapped into great super-hero tropes but could have benefited from a larger cast and full network commitment.

  11. This may cause a bit of a firestorm, but anything by Stephen King. I really enjoy his work until I get to the end. He builds these wonderful little worlds with amazing characters. The dialogue is sharp, and the suspense builds really well, but his endings tend to leave me with the feeling of “That’s It”.
    Thankfully the Dark Tower series has not let me down yet, but considering I have not gotten to the end of the series, I hope I won’t be disappointed like I usually am.
    The Dark Sword Trilogy by Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman also had a great build and a phenominal second book cliffhanger. Unfortunately, the third book seemed to completely change the character of the book and tell a completely different story. For those unfamiliar with the plot, it takes place on a world where everyone does magic and technology is forbidden due to superstition. Even using a stick to move a rock is against the law. One boy is born cripled in that he can not do magic. The amazing world is filled with an eclectic set of characters who hit the wall in the third book unfortunately.

  12. Is it a cheat to call it a tie between the Reeve Superman and the Schumacher Batman sequels? I thought both initial installments were great examples of serious attempts to create real superhero movies, that worked for fans and John Q. Public alike. Superman had great visuals for the time, terrific tone and a pretty good cast. Batman had Nicholson…and Keaton wasn’t horrible as Wayne. I thought each was a fine effort.

    …then we had the sequels…particularly the 3rd installments of each series. WTF…

  13. At the end of the Neil Gaiman novels I’ve read I always find myself shaking my head and wondering how it is, again, that he had me wrapped up in these characters only to leave me feeling rushed, flat, and divested of the story at the end. I find that Neil Gaiman just doesn’t close well for me.

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