Great Superhero TV= My Hero

My Hero (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Whilst popular TV shows like Smallville and Heroes have come and gone, they were missing a crucial element to the superhero formula. Fun. Sometimes comic book movies and TV shows fail to showcase that having super powers can actually be fun. Spider-Man was overburdened, Superman became lonely and Green Lantern struggled to overcome fear. Before all the live action comic book genre really took in the 21st Century, came one delightful English superhero sitcom, My Hero.

My Hero was created by Paul Mendelson and aired on BBC One in 2000 lasting for six series until concluding in 2006. Ardal O’Hanlon played the role of the multi-powered alien superhero Thermoman, who creates a human alter ego George Sunday. The series follows the lives of George and his family, including his human wife Janet (Emily Joyce) and their two super powered infants. The show focused on how George struggles to fit into society, due to his un-familiarity with life on Earth, he finds himself being misunderstood often.

What made My Hero so successful was that it actually included all of the common conventions of a superhero show, but lampooned the superhero mythos to make the product humorous. The show explored how the hero struggled to fit into society, which provided tons of comedy material. George’s awkward relationship with Janet’s parents made you laugh, but also made you sympathize with him, as he could not reveal that he was really a multi-powered superhero.

What stood out for me with the show is that it took a superhero with set powers similar to Superman, and brought him down to Earth in a way comic book movies have always struggled to do. Due to George’s quest to be accepted by his Wife’s parents, whilst saving the world as Thermoman, audiences connected with him and actually supported him throughout the series. That’s how you humanize a character that’s invincible, something DC has long struggled with for Superman.

As Ardal O’Hanlon was the heart of the show, the product’s quality ultimately diminished when he left in 2006 to be replace by actor James Dreyfus. (Gimme Gimme Gimme) Gone was the lovable superhero, replaced by a camp archetypal character that single headedly, despite the best efforts of the show’s amazing supporting cast, destroyed the show. Despite the show’s poor ending, I can’t help but wish the BBC would convince O’Hanlon to return so that My Hero can grace our screens one more time. There are so many sitcoms they have in need of cancellation (My Family mainly) and it’s only fitting Britain shows America how to properly handle a superhero sitcom.


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