SyFy’s new superhero drama “Three Inches” already seems better than “Heroes”

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And it's only just assembling its regular cast. Three Inches comes from Harley Peyton — a former writer for Twin Peaks, so it has some good pedigree — and centers around a twenty-something underachiever named Walter, who is struck by lightning and suddenly develops superpowers. Eventually, he is recruited to a team of similarly superpowered people and fight crime. (The "fight crime" part I'm just assuming, but I doubt you'd join a gang of superpowered people to play mah-jongg.)

And at this point, I can hear you thinking, "James, this doesn't sound better than Heroes. This sounds exactly like Heroes, just with an unfortunately higher chance of capes and tights." Here's the real difference — Walter's power is that he can move objects with his mind, but no more than three inches. And the team he joins has similarly unglamorous abilities, like the power to influence the emotions of anyone standing very close by or mimic any sound they hear. Useful in certain situations, sure, but not exactly the sort of thing that makes you want to go out and take on bank robbers.

There are two things exciting me about this project: one, I think it's very healthy for a sci-fi show to give itself some stiff restrictions. Otherwise, who cares? Oh no, Claire the indestructible teenager is in trouble! She might get horribly injured and… quickly regenerate like nothing was ever wrong! Eventually, Heroes got to a point where the characters were so powerful and the abilities so outrageous that nothing really mattered anymore. But if you're watching a guy who can't do anything except bark like a dog try and take down some evildoers, there's automatically more tension. Basically, I'll take sort of crappy superpowers that lead to more inventive and exciting situations than a knock-off Superman any day.

The second thing is the cast, or at least what I've heard so far. Specifically, I'm pleased the show has plucked two former Torchwood cast members, Naoko Mori and (probably more excitingly) James Marsters, who has shown up on, like, every sci-fi fantasy show ever. (Buffy, Angel, Smallville…). Other cast members include unknown quantities Noah Reid and Stephanie Jacobson. No word yet on exactly when the show will begin to air, but I am pretty damn sure I'll be watching when it does.

Via Deadline