Sunday, April 11, 2010


I stumbled upon an interesting TV-series the other day, and have so far been able to see about half of it. It's called Raines and is about a policeman who solves his murder mysteries by talking to the dead victims. Their in his imagination of course, but quite real to him.

It's quite obvious that the misfit hero has become the flavor of the... decade perhaps. We've had a return of Sherlock Holmes recently, perhaps the most misfit of all misfit heros with his drug abuse and sociopathlike behavior (although in his case it is more of a übermoral behavior instead of the other way around). Watchmen was also recently made as a movie, which also is about misfit superheros. Tv series like House also portray awesome people with awesome issues. Apparently we no longer want to see superpowers, but superflaws. We want to see people who despite, maybe even thanks to (as is the case with Raines) their often really troublesome quirks continue to save the day. That's the kind of people we can, and want to relate to today with all the new focus on mental disorders we're having.

Mental disorders used to be reserved for the bad guy. Now the bad guy is the logical, reasonable person who tries to keep the mental dude from going bananas. Maybe with all the new focus we're having on depressions and people who burnout, we don't want to see cheery superheros with none of these problems. Who've never even heard of these problems. Who never catch a cold (or worse) and still have to work to finish that extremely important deadline. Instead we need to see people who have it worse than us. That not only catch the regular colds and aches and thoughts of self-doubt but even verge on being completely psycho. And who still manage to solve the case. They can't cope with reality, but they can still solve problems no one else can. We want to be super like that.

Oi what a rant. Back to Raines. The main character (Raines, if you hadn't figured that out) is played by Jeff Goldblum, an actor whom I like, despite his horrible (in a good way) character in "The Fly" (see that movie if you haven't already). He has a special way which I like. In the end of the first episode when he is standing on a graveyard talking to one of his imaginary friends again a gravedigger (that's the real name of the occupation, right?) comes up to him and asks him who he's talking to. He answers; "To the dead. They hunger for brains and will come at midnight".
That cracked me up.

So overall it's a good detective series, with an acceptable amount of supernaturality (there's a tendency to overdo it nowadays I think, with all the vampire series everywhere...). Jeff Goldblum does most of the work of course. It's only 7 episodes long, so I recommend it if you're looking for a nice, short series to see. Disclaimer: I haven't seen it all, so I disclaim any responsibility for it having a really bad ending.


  1. The Anti-Hero trend has been going on for quite a while. People got tired of self-righteous super humans (super man) a long time ago. They just don't seem human to us mortals. Some claim that half of Spider-man success comes from the raw fact that Stan Lee designed him to have problems, I mean, as you say your self, which other super hero, other then spidy, could you imagine catching a cold? We want our heroes to be heroes despite misgivings and flaws, perhaps even because of them.
    As with House etc, I believe that the the latest "normal" "super power" that many many new protagonists possess is near superhuman perception and observations skills. I.e. they notice more, and can draw more conclusions from what they see, then the people around them.

    There is more one could say on such a topic but my dog needs an emergency walk. I might check out raines later though.

  2. Yeah exactly, it is interesting though to see that this trend is actually going back to the Sherlock Holmy superhero, like I mentioned. All he really has is, like you say, superhuman observation and deduction skills. He was a huge success when he came (late 1800) and apparently that formula still works. Even the basically flawless vampires are driven by primal urges. Very human indeed. Probably we'll go back and fro between these two kinds of heros (Holmes and Superman) though.