So… were they right to resurrect the noughties show?
UK Broadcast TBC
US Broadcast NBC, Thursdays
Episodes Reviewed 1.01-1.09
Heroes Reborn should have been a chance for redemption. It didn’t need Hiro’s time-travelling abilities to fix things. It didn’t need a mysterious Haitian to wipe our memories of seasons two to four. It didn’t need a fat cop to compel us to like it. It just needed to be good.
Because there is still a lot of goodwill for season one. A season that not only redefined how small-screen superheroes could be portrayed but which popularised the whole “multiple, parallel, criss-crossing, on-going storylines” format that dominates US TV drama these days. It was a phenomenon. It was revolutionary. And if Heroes Reborn had been anywhere near as good, we could have happily forgotten the intervening three seasons of meandering, directionless filler.
All Heroes Reborn needed to do was to try something new. To once again set new standards rather than jump on the bandwagon. Sadly all it brings to the table is 2007’s leftovers, barely reheated. Actually, that’s being generous. Heroes Reborn doesn’t merely look like nothing has moved on in fantasy TV in the past eight years; it actually feels like it hails from an even older era of TV, when plot was king and characters were mere slaves to it.
It’s all so predictable. After Claire Bennet revealed the existence of “Evos” to the world at the end of season four, humans and heroes have been living in an uneasy co-existence until evil human big business types manipulate heroes-hate with what looks like a terrorist explosion at an Evo summit. Claire is killed – which may have been a great starting point mystery (she could recover from any injury, remember) if the
Most of the new heroes are a forgettable bunch
series didn’t make such a bad job of disguising the fact that Hayden Panettiere simply wasn’t available for filming. Mix in mysterious twins raised apart (very Luke and Leia), game-playing Japanese geeks (Heroes apparently believes Japan is entirely populated by geeks), a heroes-killing Bonnie and Clyde, the Northern Lights and evil scientists, and you’ve got a compost heap of recycled plots, desperately hoping something rare and exotic might take root in it. Nothing does. Mostly it’s weeds. Even when, later in the season, the show becomes momentarily more interesting when Hiro is freed from a videogame and his time-travelling antics with Noah Bennet create an alternate universe, you swiftly realise this is just another riff on the season one story “Five Years Gone”. Hey look, characters we know are acting differently. Nurture definitely beats nature in the Heroes universe as slight changes to the timeline can turn the good guys evil.
Familiar characters from the original series are, Noah aside, strictly rationed, and often given short shrift – and in the case of psychic cop Matt Parkman, an unconvincing makeover. Hiro gets some decent screen time and a few good lines but not enough of either. Most of the new heroes are a forgettable bunch – no chance of any zeitgeist-troubling icons coming out of this show. Some of the effects are downright shoddy.
It’s watchable, just. It’s well acted. It’s directed with bland efficiency (which is especially disappointing as a couple of the original show’s best directors have returned – maybe it was shot in a rush?). But what’s the point in rebooting a show if your ambitions for it don’t even match the original at its most pedestrian? Dave Golder
Joanne and Luke: not quite pacifists.
Only one of these characters can grow a new arm when required.
If only Hiro could travel back in time to the first season.