Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Heroes Reborn - Episode 1: "Brave New World"

When Heroes originally began back in 2006 it was an instant pop culture phenomenon. “Save the cheerleader, save the world” became a common household phrase as did Hiro’s “Yatta!” Everyone was talking about it, myself included. It placed interesting characters with superpowers in the real world and placed them into interesting situations against one of the greatest villains ever created for television – Sylar. 

But then series creator Tim Kring (Crossing Jordan) left the show after the first season ended and everything quickly went downhill. I couldn’t make it halfway through season 2 due to the dumb way the characters and stories developed. I peeked in every once in a while to see where events were heading, but it wouldn’t take me long to remember that Heroes had become one of the most brain cell deadening shows on television. When it ended after its fourth season in 2010 the fans proclaimed that “it was put out of its misery” and not cancelled. And rightfully so as I had never seen any series go from outright amazing to absolute trash so quickly. But I always wondered how the series would have developed if Kring had stayed with the show…
Flash forward to September 24, 2015. Tim Kring and NBC apparently felt that the world needed more Heroes and premiered the first episode of his sequel mini-series Heroes Reborn. Does it return the series to its former glory? Yes and no.

The story picks up some time after the original series ended. A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities (known as EVOs) are in hiding or on the run from those that would see them eradicated from the face of the Earth.

For starters I like that this series has gone dark. It’s violent and depicts a world where people with superpowers isn’t all puppies and unicorn rainbow farts. It’s dangerous and you never know if the person who has powers is out to do you harm or just wants to be left alone. Sounds like life in the big city! But I digress. It starts off in an in interesting place with the terrorist bombing that changed the way the world views the EVOs and jumps forward a year to show how the world has evolved. Paranoia, fear and death seems to be a given for these people. Great set-up.
The new EVO characters introduced are all likable in their own way and some of their powers are more than a little rad. One of the issues I had with the original series was how generic everyone’s powers were with only Sylar being the unique one. Here we have someone that can teleport items to any location they are thinking about, someone who can transplant their body into a video game and someone who can control the Aurora Borealis (I’m assuming magnetic fields in general). Pretty cool. I really like Robbie Kay’s Tommy (the teleporter) for not only the effects used to sell his powers, but how his well character is written. I love how he has to restrain from using his abilities every moment of his life, from getting rid of a bully to throwing some trash away. Kiki Sukezane’s Miko (video gamer girl) is rad too in how the video game she can transport herself into is based on real life, so wherever she travels in the game mirrors a place in reality, and when she logs out (through the use of a sword) she is in that place in reality. It’s a neat variation of teleportation and it works. Her character not knowing about her ability until a fellow gamer point it out was fun too.

The new villainous human characters, played by Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Judith Shekoni (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2) don’t fare as well. We haven’t been given much to go on about their characters, who hunt down and kill EVOs, outside of basic revenge that has yet to be expanded upon. They’re just depicted as evil murderers. I hope this changes soon.
But the main issue I have with this reboot/sequel is all the returning characters from the original series. For starters their storylines have carried over to this new show. For someone like me who gave up on Heroes early on I am completely lost and I have no intention on revisiting it any time soon. Or at all. Secondly, this is to be a new story involving EVOs. Why involve any of the legacy characters? Sure I felt Noah Bennett, played by the great Jack Coleman, was one of the best characters from the original show. Did I need to see him again? Not really. But he seems to be the focal point of the story and through him I’m sure that we’ll end up catching up with the other legacy characters such as The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis) as in episode 1. If I were trying to create another chapter in the saga of Heroes I would try to distance myself from everything that reminded the audience of how epically awful the original series ended up being. Legacy characters included. Sorry Noah, but whenever you were on screen I felt like I needed more information to make sense of what was going on.

But Heroes Reborn holds promise. Enough new characters and plot threads are introduced to capture my interest and I do want to see more. Sure some bad choices were made in my opinion, but if I can look past that, which I have, and look forward to all the cool places the story can go from this jumping off point I think that’s saying something. As long as they don’t bring back the evil carnies. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea?!

3.5 out of 5

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