Superheroes drink in a bar, try to get on TV, and have really weird/bad sex. Britain's No Heroics sounds like a perfect U.S. sitcom, but ABC passed. We asked creator Drew Pearce about it.
In case you've missed our coverage of No Heroics before, it's a fun British sitcom about a group of loser superheroes who hang out in a bar. There's Electroclash, who can control machines and has impulse-control issues. The Hotness can generate heat, but is a bit of a washout. The good-natured but simple-minded She-Force is always searching for love, with dire results. And the gay superhero, TimeBomb, can see 30 seconds into the future... which usually reveals that he'll be having sex in the men's room. They're all jealous of Excelsor, who's the only A-list superhero in their watering hole, and is basically what Superman would be like if he was real: a total dick, in other words.
According to Pearce, the show actually filmed a U.S. pilot:
Oh yes, a pilot was shot. And it turned out really well, except for the whole "not getting picked up" part.
At the same time, he definitely leaves open the possibility that the show could be shopped around to other U.S. networks.
So why didn't ABC pick up the pilot after ordering it in the first place? Pearce says it was just a matter of timing:
I don't actually think anything went wrong as such. I will say that it's probably not the best year to do a massive, cool, edgy, expensive single-camera genre-based network-comedy without huge starpower on a major American network. Kind of obvious, but true.
He says the U.S. version would have worked pretty similarly to the British incarnation, with a group of superheroes hanging out in a bar and trying to get on television. But it would have had a slightly larger scale and "less gay blowjobs." The American version would have had even more "geek detail" than the original, with more cool references, and there would have been little strands connecting the American bar and the British pub. In other words, both shows would have taken place in the same, shared, universe.
So when can we expect to see season two of the British version? Says Pearce:
That's still up in the air. Hopefully we'll shoot it very soon. Turns out the ultimate nemesis a modern cape can face is the global economic downturn. Wait: somebody should make a comedy about that! Second-tier superheroes who can't get any work so they take sit around a pub talking about their crappy lives? That sounds awesome! All I need is a name, a group of characters and some extremely dirty jokes...
Here's hoping ITV commissions a second series of the UK No Heroics, so we can see if She-Force ever meets a guy who's not half fish. And it sounds like there's still a possibility that the U.S. version could find a home — maybe on Comedy Central? It would be better than more Reno 911.