He­roes Re­born

Ideas still­born

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

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.

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