In 2006, NBC was blessed with an unexpected hit. Many behind the scenes at NBC didn’t expect Heroes, a show about a group of regular humans attaining superpowers, to become the smash hit that it was. Perfectly cast and brilliantly written, it was one of those rare times when audiences were treated to a show with so few flaws.
Yesterday, we were treated to a small glimpse of Heroes Reborn, a 13-episode mini-series arriving this September. Whereas previous clips have shown unknown heroes manipulating the skies, this new trailer is noticeably absent of main characters. Instead, we’re shown a world that knows about the existence of super-powered people, and appears desperate to find out where they have all gone.
If this rebooted series ends up becoming a hit, it will be nothing short of a miracle. After all, the original show didn’t have the best track record.
Towards the end of its first season, NBC practically went out of its way to sabotage Heroes. The planned finale of the show, which was supposed to kill of Sylar and Nathan Petrelli, was altered in a way that preserved the two characters. The show was meant to feature a steadily revolving cast, but instead ended up castrating fan favorites and rehashing old story lines.
Then came the writer’s strike, which not only did irreparable damage to the show, but also forced NBC to cancel its plans for the spin-off show Heroes: Origins, which would have told six new original stories. Despite this mortal wound, Heroes limped on for two more seasons.
With all that in mind, it was a shock to many to see that short promo during last years Superbowl. While only a few seconds long, it was enough to peak both the interest of fans and ire of critics.
Heroes had performed so poorly during its last season that very few fans were truly saddened to see it go. This wasn’t like The X-Files, which is also scheduled to come back as a miniseries event this fall. For NBC to want to bring this property back, they had better have an ace up their sleeve.
One could argue that Heroes has an even more difficult task than the aforementioned X-Files miniseries. Despite the disappointing X-Files: I Want to Believe, the franchise still has far less apologizing to do than Heroes has.
Thankfully for those of us that were fans of the show (myself included), the rebooted franchise has several things working in its favor, starting with the fact that this show is a one-off, 13-episode miniseries. This is a far better option than a 24-episode season. Fewer episodes means that writers have to bring their A game to every moment of every episode. There won’t be room for unnecessary subplots or characters that take up space.
Heroes Reborn has also assembled an impressive cast of both familiar and new characters. Among those returning are Mohindir Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey), Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg), The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis), Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose), and Noah “HRG” Bennet (Jack Coleman).
Some may be saddened to hear that Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) are not scheduled to return, but this may be a blessing in disguise. While arguably the most powerful characters in the show, it was plain to see that it was becoming more and more difficult to make the constant back-and-forth entertaining.
There are a number of fresh faces joining the cast, including Francesca Eastwood, Caitlin Green, Ryan Guzman and Robbie Kay. Zachary Levi, known for his roles in Chuck and Thor: The Dark World, is also joining the cast, as a character named Luke Collins. Reports have stated that Levi’s character will be the main focus of the show, which could easily make up for the lack of older lead characters.
If Heroes Reborn is going to be a success, it will need to capture the awe and wonder the same way that the first season did. At the same time, it will need to set itself apart from the original series enough in order to avoid unfair comparisons. If the point is to make something new again, then the best thing you can do is to swing for the fences. Tom Kring has as much to prove as he has stories to tell, and I for one am hoping this new series recaptures what made that first season special.
With Heroes Reborn heading to Comic Con in a few weeks, I for one will eagerly be awaiting to see what else lies in store for us.
Heroes Reborn will premiere Thursday, September 24th at 8:00 pm on NBC. Will you be watching?