How desperate must NBC be to bring back ‘Heroes’ this season? Did anyone miss the show in the five years it’s been off the air? The network describes ‘Heroes Reborn’ as a “retooling” rather than a reboot, but as near as I can tell it’s just more of the same.
Several major cast members have returned, as has creator Tim Kring – the guy who ran the show into the ground the last time. You’d think that a real retooling would involve, at the very least, bringing in some fresh talent to run the thing. I guess not.
I’ll be upfront that I gave up on ‘Heroes’ partway through its second season, when it was painfully clear that the quality had taken a steep nosedive after the (uneven but mostly fun) first season. Everything I’ve heard from people who stuck it out is that the series just kept getting worse and worse until it finally limped to a close, satisfying no one. While I may not be thoroughly versed in all the plotting that happened during the seasons I didn’t watch, I tuned in for the premiere of ‘Reborn’ regardless. The promos and ads all implied that this was supposed to be a fresh start. Given the show’s propensity for ret-conning away its storylines left and right, it hardly seemed important to keep up with them anyway.
The first part of the premiere, called ‘Brave New World’ (the same title as the Season 4 finale), shows us a world where people with super powers have publicly come out and wish to integrate with society. A “Unity Summit” in Odessa, TX is meant to bring the so-called “Evos” (evolved humans) together with normal folks in peace, understanding and harmony. Sadly, that plan falls to shit when the conference is blown up in a terrorist attack that kills hundreds. The event is blamed on Mohinder Suresh (referenced numerous times but never seen in the first two episodes), who’s now the world’s most hated Evo Supremacist. I suspect we’ll eventually learn that he wasn’t really responsible.
The story then jumps forward one year. In a plot lifted directly from the ‘X-Men’ franchise, Evos are forced to register with the government like sex offenders. Most have gone back into hiding. Bigotry against them is out of control.
The main protagonist of this iteration is Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), the man better known as “Horn Rimmed Glasses” or more succinctly “HRG.” His daughter Claire the indestructible cheerleader (also never seen) was killed in Odessa, or at least he thinks she was. (I have it on good authority that she’s living in ‘Nashville’ these days.) Either he’s wrong or she’s destructible after all. Currently, HRG is living as a car salesman calling himself Ted. His new fiancé has no idea of his past, and he’s ditched the glasses. Like Superman, nobody recognizes him without them. He also has some memory loss issues regarding the events of the past several years, making him an ideal surrogate for audiences who’d prefer to forget them as well.
Of the new characters, the more interesting would be a high school kid named Tommy who can teleport anything he touches, and a Japanese girl named Miko (Kiki Sukezane) who turns into an animated avatar and enters a videogame world. Obviously intended to be a replacement for the absent (at least so far) Hiro Nakamura, the latter fights with a katana and even has a nerdy non-powered sidekick. Her power is incredibly cheesy.
Zachary Levi plays a guy named Luke who blames Evos for his son’s death in Odessa. He and wife Joanne have made it their mission to hunt down and kill as many of them as they can find. I get the sense that Luke will be redeemed and become a good guy before too long, and the many murders he’s committed will be forgiven and forgotten.
Clint Eastwood’s daughter Francesca Eastwood is central to the plot as an Evo named Molly Walker whose power is the ability to locate every other Evo. That seems like something that will be important.
Among the less interesting new characters is a Mexican American guy named Carlos who puts on a luchador costume to become a masked vigilante. I’m not even sure whether he has any super powers.
The two premiere episodes work in cameos for a couple of other old characters, such as HRG’s former sidekick The Haitian. (He doesn’t last too long.) Already announced for later episodes are the return of more familiar faces including Hiro, Mohinder and Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg).
Episode Verdict / Grade: C
I wouldn’t go so far as to call the premiere terrible. Aside from the lame videogame scenes, it has nice production values and the plot is coherent enough. However, it’s not terribly exciting. Honestly, it’s just plain dull. Knowing this show’s history, I can’t bring myself to care about anything in it.
Maybe I’m not the best person to judge this because I was never a big ‘Heroes’ fan in the first place, but the premiere was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity. I’m done with the show again.