Picks and Pans Review: Heroes

UPDATED 10/02/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/02/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

Yowee, this one's a wild ride. Three episodes in, you'll feel as if your brain had been plopped into a centrifuge and whipped into a meringue. In a good way. A daringly wide-flung science fantasy, Heroes tracks the strange, violent destinies of a group of people who have somehow mutated to a level that's superhuman. A young Manhattan man begins to fly. A cheerleader can withstand everything from fire to a broken neck. A guy from Japan teleports himself to Times Square. And an artist with visionary powers is one step ahead of them all, mapping out their futures in paintings and comic books. It's like X-Men without the sexy costumes but full of shadows, menace and morbid effects. One problem for our heroes is that evolution, for some, isn't a ladder to improvement but a giant banana peel on which to slip and fall: Someone who may also be superhuman is on a sinister mission, offing people in spectacular ways—and stealing their brains. The show's fun, and a little freaky.

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