Mondays at 9 p.m. on NBC. Eighteen episodes into the first season.

Heroes lacks many of the markers of good TV. The writing is often stilted, the acting is often wooden, and the plot deals with superheroes, if you’re going to be snobby about that sort of thing.

Yet despite all that (and something because of it—awkward delivery of melodramatic dialogue can be oddly charming), Heroes is a compelling, endearing show, using cliffhangers to great effect and ably juggling more than a dozen main characters, even making some of them worth caring about.