I just recently began watching Heroes – from the beginning of season 1. I have done this with several series that I didn’t start watching from the beginning but had recommended to me later. (It was good to have something to do during the long hours of computer problem resolution besides staring at the screen watching it reboot for the nth time).
The first question I found myself asking is whether Heroes or The 4400 came first. Of course, I suppose the answer is X-Men came long before either of them, and so there is no reason to think that one of the two recent series directly inspired the other.
Scientificially, the show treats evolution in a way that is unscientific, and one might say it mythologizes evolution. It treats evolution as this thing that leads to progress and will eventually endow us with telekenesis, the ability to fly without wings, clairvoyance and other magical powers.
Evolution is not going to save us. It doesn’t have the capacity to do all these things. Technology, on the other hand, might. It has the power to regenerate our cells and perhaps one day allow us to fly with only minimal mechanical paraphernalia attached to us, as power sources become smaller and new forms of propulsion are developed. This doesn’t mean that we should simply mythologize technology, however, and treat it as salvific in the way the original Star Trek series tended to. Technology has the same ambiguity as the Heroes’ powers: the same nanobot technology that might one day enable Claire-like healing might also cause Nikki/Jessica-like personality takeovers and Sylar-like murders. Technology is powerful for accomplishing these sorts of ends, whereas it is unclear that any changes to the human genome, whether natural or artificially-induced, will ever be able to allow us to bend space and time. Thankfully, this doesn’t stop my from enjoying the show, any more than my being more of a skeptical Scully-type stopped me from enjoying the X Files.
I’m still in season 1, so no spoilers please. I will say that my favorite moments so far are when Hiro Nakamura, perfectly fluent in English and without glasses, arrives from the future; and when Petrelli flies in his pyjamas (as all flying superheroes are expected to).