Will Heroes Reborn be the change in direction that Heroes needed?

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Posted June 19, 2014 by Jake Morris in TV

The return of Heroes, the alternative take on super powered human beings from 2006, has been a fairly muted one thus far. Arguably the reception has been taken with a pinch of salt due to the less than positive reactions to the show’s final couple of seasons, but now NBC have a return planned in ‘Heroes Reborn’, the questions posed have been does it still have a purpose, and if so what will change? For a start, it appears one character is already set to return, Noah Bennett, played by Jack Coleman. So how can Tim Kring and NBC improve upon what was once a promising series?

Noah-Bennet-heroes-reborn

Heroes, in this writer’s opinion anyway, always appeared as the outcast; a black sheep if you will, of the superhero genre. It wanted to do unique and different things than what people expected of a hero ensemble. When announced, the public’s perception was that of an X-Men show set in the real world with characters that had real problems. Season one tinkered on these themes, yet hinting at a greater scheme of good vs. evil. However the next few seasons just never gave in and allowed it to happen. The show became more about story and making everything bigger rather than keeping it scaled back and focusing on creating and developing relatable characters with a twist. That format is not unheard of, in fact many shows have done it before, but one current show focuses on a format of storytelling that may work in favour of Heroes when it returns under the Reborn moniker; Game of Thrones.
If you observe a show like Game of Thrones (although not the fairest comparison) where individual story threads run concurrent with one another, yet never with the tactic of all of them meeting up at the end to deliver a huge finale, is a strong point of that particular show. Does Heroes Reborn have the depth, engrossing storytelling and strong enough characters to not copy but emulate a similar format?

Heroes’  collection of characters have had a tumultuous past. What you came to know of them in the very first season was only an echo as the show progressed. Progression of a show is par the course with character progression and development. However, how much progression can a show provide until the core fundamentals of those characters are lost and diluted? Several characters that started off as intriguing and ‘faces’ of the show slowly drifted into limbo-like territory where their inclusion came across as more of a force of hand.
Most interesting about Noah Bennet being a fixture of Reborn is that he may not necessarily have been a large part of the show’s original future. Jack Coleman’s portrayal was part of why the supporting cast became an important factor in the success of the show as he delivered a menacing turn that played in the shadows as opposed to the villainous Sylar. Confirmation of Milo Ventimiglia’s Peter Petrelli and Hayden Panettiere’s Claire not returning for the reboot might upset hardcore fans but how much more could those characters offer the show? Heroes’ possibly biggest problem was that they never provided a central hero to root for. Petrelli was what looked like the stereotypical character apprehensive about fighting evil and becoming a somewhat chosen one but he was flawed to begin with.
The character’s ability to mimic other powers was the other side of the coin compared to Zachary Quinto’s Sylar who would instead steal powers, but it never felt as if Petrelli had a struggle with his ability. Instead the struggles of coping with those powers was showcased through the originators, where in which Peter would come a long and use them however he liked. His abilities essentially robbed Petrelli of ever having an individual side to him. Peter Petrelli was the every man but when the audience is already witnessing an amalgamation of all these powers through more compelling back stories and unique voices, the need for a passenger vehicle like Petrelli becomes unwarranted.

Long gone are the original cast.

Long gone are the original cast.

Lastly, why is Heroes returning? One theory is that the show started just prior to the big superhero boom that has all but consumed Hollywood’s box office. Back when Heroes was around, it was a world devoid of the Avengers and Marvel’s shared universe. There was no quirky Kick-Ass franchise and Superman hadn’t seen the silver screen since the early 00s. Heroes always came across as a superhero show that wanted to distance itself from actual heroism. The show was what has come to be known as ‘grounded’. It wasn’t a bombastic adaptation of already established characters, but maybe it should have prided itself in the material more? If NBC and Tim Kring have brought the show back in order to capitalise on the now popular area of pop-culture then maybe we as viewers will be granted something more fun and rewarding. Does the upcoming influx of comic book and hero themed shows mean that again we will receive another iteration of Heroes that distances its material from those proud superhero counterparts? We should all hope not.


About the Author

Jake Morris

When is Deadman going to get a film? Never, you say? Well, I'm just going to sit here and sulk. Comics, films, stuff... I like it aaaaall.