Next week NBC will revive its one-time-hit series Heroes. Here’s what we know going into the first new episode:
- It’s been years since the end of season 4. People with powers have a collective title now: EVOs, indicating “EVOlved” humans.
- Claire Bennett’s big reveal at the end of season 4 has led to a trend in EVOs creating videos demonstrating their powers and putting them up on the internet.
- The “normies” are frightened and there is an ideological split amidst the people of the world; with anti-EVO protesters using propaganda reminiscent of contemporary hate marches, and anti-EVO legislation being passed…
- A mysterious figure called Hero_Truther is making all of this information public on the internet. Who could he be… it’s Micah; he’s doing the whole Rebel thing again but with a different paint job and more flashing TV monitors in the background.
- These legislation efforts have led to counter-protests on behalf of EVOs, and a major gathering is announced to be taking place in Odessa, Texas… yes, the location of the original Primatech site.
- Primatech has been rebuilt under the name Renautas.
- …at this amazing gathering, something happens. What exactly? We don’t know but it’s big, and it has something to do with a college student named Phoebe Fraday, who can control darkness… cool.
- …somehow, this “thing that happened”, we can surmise, killed the indestructible Claire. In fact, considering the announced cast for the new season, it’s safe to say that Claire, Peter Petrelli and Sylar, all formerly main characters, are all dead as a result of “the thing that happened”.
- Noah Bennett, distraught over the death of his daughter, goes into a funk, forcing him to become a car salesman (weep for him, children, his is truly a tortured path).
- …the whole “thing that happened” is blamed on Mohinder.
- Phoebe Fraday hasn’t been seen since the “thing that happened”, and she is presumed dead, but her half brother, Quentin, isn’t buying it, and has joined up with Micah’s underground movement to uncover the dark secrets of Renautas; and all the while filming himself v-log style (because framing device).
And that’s pretty much it. If you want to get to know Phoebe and Quentin, as well as meet some of the people our Heroes will be going up against in Renautas, check out the mini-series: Heroes Reborn – Dark Matters. It’s on YouTube, there are six episodes, each about ten minutes long.
My thoughts going into this? This series could either be amazing, or an incredible let-down.
Well, duh, you say, that’s TV for you, right?
Yes, yes, very true, but hear me out. Heroes Reborn has some big shoes to step into. The original run of Heroes was a turning point for the perception of superheroes and comic books in popular mass media. It’s easy to forget how things were nearly a decade ago, but compared to today we are spoiled for superheroes.
Heroes premiered on NBC in 2006, a whole two years before the first Iron Man rocketed superheroes beyond children’s cartoons and into the forefront of the popular zeitgeist. Comic books were still a pretty niche market, and as such, the initial feel of Heroes’ long-form narrative and ensemble-based story was fresh and enticing all on its own.
This was also a whole year before Mad Men would air on AMC, kicking off the new golden age of television with shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Meanwhile, the new Doctor Who series had only been airing in the US for a few months by this point. At the time, the only TV shows available to US audiences in the view of Heroes were the popular ABC series Lost, and the rebooted Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi Channel (each beginning their run in September and October of 2004, respectively).
Heroes fell just at the cusp of these major milestones of popular entertainment, bracing audiences for the onslaught of new television shows that would challenge the film industry, and the absolute tidal wave that was/is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The playing field has changed. Audiences have changed. And Heroes is greatly responsible for planting the seeds of interest that helped that change come about.
Heroes Reborn is capable of attempting storylines that large audiences will embrace much more easily than they would nine years ago, and it could easily push the genre further than it has before.
On the other hand, we’ve seen this set-up before; namely, a look at how society treats those outsiders among us, with parallels to the issues of hatred and prejudice we face in real life; governments creating special registrations, gathering people into camps; and all utilizing the framing device of people with spacial powers who must hide who they are for their own sake, and the sake of their loved ones.
It should, it’s all seven X-Men movies. And The Incredibles. And Chronicle. And Man of Steel. And Heroes! Yeah, Heroes already did this story back in its tumultuous third season. So, NBC is going to have to really step up their game if they want to rise above the rest of the superhero material flooding the screens.