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‘Heroes’ digresses from original premise

Imagine if Superman got so sidetracked buying flowers for Lois Lane he failed to stop a nefarious plot by Lex Luther.

Consider what would happen if Batman became so caught up in polishing the Batmobile he forgot about patrolling the streets of Gotham City.

We would still give the superheroes a chance to redeem themselves. Television’s “Heroes” is asking for the same consideration.

The latest chapter in the “Heroes” saga, “Fugitives,” begins tonight (9 p.m., KHQ-6 in Spokane). It’s an attempt to reset the NBC series after it got sidetracked following a dazzling first season.

The show’s basic premise of good vs. evil has grown muddled. Instead of creating interesting dynamics among the players, the storylines just got stretched in odd directions.

That has been particularly the case with the show’s resident bad boy, Sylar (Zachary Quinto). Last season Sylar drifted through seas of uncertainty; it was like taking the Green Goblin and having him pal around with Spider-Man.

The season also failed to get the most out of two of the show’s best characters. The time-traveling Hiro (Masi Oka) was again separated from the main story. And the reinvention of Ali Larter’s character was so ill-conceived she was little more than an afterthought.

Tonight’s episode picks up after the battle between Pinehearst and Primatech, competing companies in the superhero business.

Sadly, the plotline is reminiscent of “The X-Men” movie: A high-ranking politician is rounding up anyone with mutant powers.

“Heroes” is too good to give up on after one or two miscues. But there is a limit, and this latest chapter in the show’s saga appears to be headed toward a wall of familiarity.

That’s just not going to fly.