In many ways, the first Heroes series was like every bad relationship I’ve ever been in: beginning with excitement and hope and quickly dissolving into frustration, anger, & daily questions of “Why am I still here?”
Because of this, I entered the 2-hour series premiere of Heroes Reborn with slight hesitation. Although I liked the idea of a 13-episode mini-series event with a cohesive beginning, middle, & end, I wasn’t sure I was ready to let myself be burned by Heroes once more. Maybe it’s because I was so enamored with the first season of the original series or because I’m a sucker for any sort of TV nostalgia, but I was pleasantly surprised with the introduction of Reborn. Though not without its flaws, Tim Kring’s reboot of the Heroes Universe immediately pulled me in and (dare I say it) left me full of anticipation for what’s to come.
Before sharing thoughts on the series as a whole, let’s break down what I did and didn’t like by storyline.
Premiere: Thursday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Cast: Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Robbie Kay, Kiki Sukezane, Ryan Guzman, Gatlin Green, Henry Zebrowski, Judith Shekoni, Danika Yarosh, Rya Kihlstedt, Greg Grunberg, Francesca Eastwood, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Lucius Hoyas, Jimmy Jean-Louis
Synopsis: A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding or on the run from those with nefarious motives. Two such vigilantes include Luke and Joanne who are seeking to avenge a tragic loss. Noah Bennet, a.k.a. H.R.G., has gone off the grid but conspiracy theorist Quentin Frady finds him and opens his eyes to the truth behind the Odessa tragedy.
While in hiding, some are discovering their newfound skills. Awkward teen Tommy just wants to be normal and win the girl of his dreams, Emily, but normalcy is virtually impossible after learning of a new ability that terrifies him. Coming from a very sheltered upbringing, a bold and ethereal teenager, Malina, has been told she is destined for greatness. In Tokyo, a quiet and unique young woman, Miko, is trying to track down her missing father while hiding an extraordinary secret that will make her a force to be reckoned with. Elsewhere, a different type of hero is emerging through former soldier Carlos.
Meanwhile, the head of the highly successful tech conglomerate, Renautas, has an agenda of her own.
For better or for worse, some are fated to cross paths with assorted heroes of the past, including
Hiro Nakamura, Matt Parkman, Mohinder Suresh and the Haitian, among others. Yet, together, their ultimate destiny is nothing less than saving the world and mankind.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Noah Bennet/Quentin/The Haitian
From his series opening monologue to the very last shot (no pun intended) in the episode, Jack Coleman (Noah Bennet) slips seamlessly back into his horn-rimmed glasses and helps bridge the gap between the two series perfectly. Jack was always a bright spot of the original series & he turns in a stellar performance here as a grieving man trying to put the pieces of June 13th together again. Watching H.R.G. and Quentin Frady (Henry Zebrowski), whose story we first learned about in the Dark Matters prequel – which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already, go tête-à-tête on a mission to avenge their loved ones and discover the truth was a highlight of these two episodes and I’m already deeming them my official BrOTP of 2015. My only real complaint with their story was how quickly the writers killed off René/The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis). I understand the new series needed a true moment of shock for the audience, but my elation to see René (and hear that iconic music!) again was cut far too short.
Robbie Kay’s Tommy got the majority of the screen time in the premiere and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Tommy’s quest to find a place in the world and discover the true potential of his abilities is a captivating one and reminded me of Peter’s journey in the original series so much. Speaking of the Petrellis, did anyone else catch Tommy’s confession that he didn’t know the identity of his father? I’m willing to bet he’ll end up being related to someone we’re already familiar with – perhaps a heretofore unknown Petrelli family member. Tommy & Emily’s (Gatlin Green) burgeoning relationship is already full of promise, but I’m not sure we can trust her after those mysterious texts Tommy received.
For me, Luke (Zachary Levi) & Joanne’s (Judith Shekoni) storyline is one of the weakest so far. They are both grieving an unimaginable loss, but how will killing as many Evos as possible help them find any sort of closure? I just don’t buy it. However, Luke’s growing hesitation in his wife’s plan should make for an interesting spin on their tale of vengeance.
Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for an origin story where an unlikely hero discovers his true potential, which is why Carlos’ (Ryan Guzman) story is another high point of the premiere for me. I’ll admit that I originally guessed Carlos would be El Vengador from the beginning – and was pleasantly surprised when it was revealed Oscar was originally the man behind the mask. One of the most exciting parts of Heroes Reborn will be watching Carlos’ journey to bring down a crooked police force (a timely storyline for 2015, no?) and save the day.
And, I’ll admit it: I may be slightly swayed by the fact that Ryan Guzman is exceptionally nice to look at.
From the moment the Heroes Reborn trailer first debuted with appearances of “Where are the Evos?” signs, I was screaming out the name “Molly Walker”. As original fans remember, Molly’s power was the ability to track down anyone on the planet just by thinking about them. Although the original series may have ignored & bypassed its own rules and continuity over the four season run, I was pleasantly surprised that Molly’s ability wasn’t passed over this time around. Molly Walker’s return (albeit being played by a different actress, Francesca Eastwood) hadn’t been announced, but it was another fun reveal for fans of the original series and I’m intrigued to see just how she ties into Renautas’ (Rya Kihlstedt) nefarious plans.
We were introduced to Malina (Danika Yarosh) very quickly over the course of the installment, so her storyline is the one that remains shrouded in the most mysterious. All we truly know is that something’s coming and she can’t control it anymore. Could she be another Peter Petrelli-style human bomb? I suppose only time will tell.
Out of all the main characters this time around, Miko’s story was the most surprising – Kiki Sukezane can kick some ass! I love the reveal that she is an actual video game character and the way video game fight scenes were integrated into the series. I know we’re getting a set of Heroes Reborn video games soon that don’t revolve around her, but I only hope that one day Miko will be an actual playable character. NBC Marketing Department, I hope you’re reading this! Seeing her team up with Renautas to save her father (or is it creator?) made me nostalgic for the days of Hiro & Ando working together to save the cheerleader and the world.
The one thing everyone seems to ask after hearing that I’ve watched the new Heroes Reborn is “Is it any good?” and I’m elated to respond to them with a resounding “Yes!”
The two-hour premiere felt a little rushed with the introduction of so many new characters, storylines, & abilities – a sure sign of their limited episode run. However, the fast pace made for a truly gripping two-parter, one I couldn’t look away from (mostly for fear of missing an important plot point!). Tim King & Co. have touted numerous times that you needn’t be a fan of the original series to enjoy this show and, while you technically don’t, having seen at least season one of its predecessor provides a richer viewing experience. One other thing I’ve had to remind people (myself included) is that there is no way this series could possibly live up to the standard set by season one of Heroes.
The TV landscape is completely different in 2015 than it was when the original premiere back in 2006; this time around, the series has Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, & (the coming soon) Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow to compete with. At the end of the day, I hope old & new fans alike give Heroes Reborn a chance. The series may not have saved the cheerleader (a question that’s still up in the air), but, like many of its characters, has the potential to be something great.