NBC’s returning to the world of ordinary people with extraordinary abilities with Heroes Reborn, a special 13 episode event series debuting on September 24, 2015. The new series brings back a few familiar Heroes players, with Noah Bennet (aka HRG, because he wears horn-rimmed glasses) taking the lead in the two-hour season premiere that combined episodes one and two. As with the show that spawned it, Heroes Reborn must be watched in release date order. But with only 13 episodes, at least it won’t be long until the big – hopefully – payoff at the end.
Heroes Reborn is set in a world in which normal human beings are aware of “evos” (evolved humans). Unfortunately for evo/regular people relations, a huge unity celebration in Odessa, Texas is attacked and hundreds are left dead. Also dead is any chance of regular people accepting evos since Mohinder Suresh (returning Heroes player Sendhil Ramamurthy) is credited as the mastermind of the terrorist attack. Evos are now fair game for vigilantes who feel it’s critical anyone with an extraordinary skill is either locked away or killed.
Tests have been developed in which swabs will indicate whether someone is an evo, and most evos have gone into hiding. One year after the attack and the true individual or group behind the bombing has not been exposed. Who did it, why did they do it, and was it important that the location of the attack was Primatech’s headquarters?
The who, what, and whys are what’s going to drive this 13 episode event series, but will audiences want to stick around to discover the answers? By the end of the two-hour premiere Heroes Reborn had so many disparate storylines going on that no individual evo – or evo hunter – was given time to actually develop as a character audiences could relate to and/or root for. Hopefully upcoming episodes will focus on just a couple of the characters per episode instead of trying to squeeze them all in. If not, it will be difficult to form any sort of attachment to the characters or to be emotionally invested in the series.
The evos introduced in episode one include a high school student named Tommy (played by Once Upon a Time‘s Robby Kay) who lives with his single mom and who just wants to finish school without drawing attention to himself, a goal made difficult by the fact he can teleport people to unknown locations. There’s also a masked vigilante working out of an East LA garage who has an military hero brother (Ryan Guzman) and a young son (Lucius Hoyos) who’s never told anyone about his power. An expert swordswoman (Kiki Sukezane) in Tokyo can jump in and out of a video game and is on a mission to save her kidnapped father with the help of a video gamer (Toru Uchikado) who stumbles upon her secret. In NYC there’s Molly Walker (Francesca Eastwood), an integral player in the future of evos who’s been kidnapped by two con artists looking for a big payday. And don’t forget about Mohinder Suresh who is barely seen in the series premiere but who’s a key player in the evos world.
Non-evos include a married couple (played by Zachary Levi and Judith Shekoni) out for vengeance following the death of their son at the unity event, as well as a conspiracy theorist who teams up with HRG (Jack Coleman) to try and uncover the truth. There’s also a strange man (Pruitt Taylor Vince) who’s protecting Tommy, constantly following him around and using a penny to take away the memories of anyone who might harm him. All this in only the first two episodes…
For the sake of full disclosure, I gave up on Heroes after season two. I actually bought a “Save the cheerleader, Save the World” T-shirt during season one but by the end of season two it had been relegated to the bottom of my T-shirt drawer. The original series lost its way quickly, and making this sequel just 13 episodes in length is a wise idea to compact the story and stay on course.
The TV landscape has changed dramatically since Heroes concluded its four season run and with so many shows based on comic books currently airing, is there really room for another superhero sort of tale? Yes, and more comic book inspired shows are in the wings waiting for their premiere dates. The problem the network has with Heroes Reborn isn’t superhero overload, it’s winning back an audience disillusioned by the final seasons of Heroes. NBC also has to try and draw in viewers who may never have watched the original series but are now so into comic book shows they’re willing to take a leap of faith and check out Heroes Reborn. Those viewers will be able to figure out the basics by the end of the first hour, but Heroes Reborn‘s disjointed and curiously flat first two episodes may not make them want to stick around for episode three.
Heroes fans who still fondly recall season one will likely be gentler with their opinions of Heroes Reborn‘s two-hour premiere and more willing to give it a shot at finding its feet. If we hold series creator Tim Kring to his promise of reviving what it was that made the show so popular and made the series so entertaining when it premiered back in 2006, Heroes Reborn will be more Heroes season one in tone than Heroes season four which means it’s too early to give up completely on the world of evolved humans. That said, Heroes Reborn episode three needs to make an emotional connection and prove there is a legitimate reason to revisit this world.
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