NBC has lost its marbles and plans to bring back Heroes in a limited form as announced by a teaser during the Olympics. The teaser was just that, a tease of the logo and a subtitle, “Reborn,” for the new 13-episode miniseries, set to air in 2015.
I used to be a big fan of Heroes, and the first season of the show was remarkably well-done for an age where superhero deconstruction and large story arcs were all the rage. I’d still recommend watching season one to anyone who wants to see good superhero TV, the same way I’d recommend watching the fourth season of Enterprise (minus the finale) for what a decent Star Trek prequel series could be like (minus a lot of the acting). The three biggest root problems for the show seemed to be:
1. The first series relied upon premonitions of doom to drive the plot. As in comics, unless you’re psychic, have an intelligence gathering system, or just happen upon villany, it’s hard to know what to do with your superheroic self. Someone prophesying death and destruction is a decent hook, but it’s something to be used sparingly for the most part, since it makes your heroes more reactive than proactive. After the first season wrapped up and the threat was dealt with, the show kind of flailed around looking for where the next unifying arc story was going to come from.
2. The budget got cut back and the writers couldn’t cope. We had two ultra-dudes, characters who could absorb or copy the powers of others, and they finally met up for a big ol’ showdown. We’d seen possible futures (so many possible futures) where they met, and they hinted at something like the final fight from Highlander. All we saw of the fight were flashing lights under a pair of closed doors, behind which the climactic battle was taking place.
3. Towards the end, the writers couldn’t seem to think of anything to do other than add new characters and forget or kill off others. I think this came from giving the power-stealing (via vivisection) villain Sylar new victims to get abilities from along with a web series that needed new powered-up people. Thus, with this huge potential cast and all of these new possible threads to deal with, the mess became even more unwieldy, and things like Peter Petrelli’s season-two girlfriend getting stranded in a possible future where 97% of the human race has been killed off by a virus.
Maybe the success of the Marvel/Disney line of movies is what’s inspiring this return to the Heroes universe. I sure hope there’s a big ol’ retcon or “yeah, yeah, forget all that stuff, here’s where we are now” introduction to this thing, as the way it was left seems pretty nigh unsalvageable. M’self, I’d bring back Micah and his ability to interface with machines as a kind of “oracle” for the other heroes to get information from as to what they should do with themselves, and I’d work on getting Hiro back on track to be the leather-jacketed ninja-telelporter Future Hiro that everyone was hoping for.
Maybe it’ll work. If it doesn’t, it’s only 13 episodes, right?