Some are obvious, some are not. Here is a list of cultural references in Heroes. It’s spoilers galore, not just Heroes.
Psoriasis. The scaly skin and the peeling is the result of rapid skin cell regeneration. Whereas normal people replace their entire skin every couple of weeks, psoriasis sufferers can replace their skin in a day. This makes sense since Mohinder’s new power is full body enhancements from muscles to extra-light sensitive eyes. Oh well, that’s for being a douche Mohinder.
Chances that’s really the reference? I don’t see why not. It’s non-contagious and possibly inherited disease. Though, the writers could also derive it from a more well-known condition, leprosy.
Rock from Metropolis (and other Tezuka mangas) Metropolis is an anime movie based on a Osamu Tezuka manga. Rock, like Claire, is an adopted child with major daddy issues and a penchant for shooting anyone in his way. There is a major difference, though. Claire’s father loves her very much. Rock’s father, Duke Red, does not return his affection. Other than Rock being a guy and wears sunglasses, they are literally the same.
Chances that’s really the reference?. Most likely a coincidence. Though I like to believe that someone at NBC caught the film when it showed briefly in NYC or bought the Metropolis DVD. It could be just Rock, who appeared in over 60 Tezuka works, is a representation of a villain with a difficult childhood.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. In this expansion pack of the Bioware RPG, the player character becomes a spirit eater. As you progress through the game, you are given the option of consuming defeated spirits or suppress your “hunger”. It’s very similar to what Sylar is going through this season. Instead of spirits, it’s powers.
Chances that’s really the reference?. Fat chance. Anyone with a basic understanding of drug addition (working for television, who doesn’t) could probably has out Sylar’s situation. It would be cool though if one of the writers were a D&D fan.
More on the way…