“Save the cheerleader, save the world.”
The first season of Heroes was a milestone in serious comic-book inspired television (what did we have before that? Smallville or Lois and Clark? Pfft) that became a worldwide phenomenon, getting millions of viewers to watch a motley crew of superpowered strangers follow their destiny to save the world…and then season two happened.
I’ve been trying to justify to myself why I would recommend watching Heroes Reborn. I want to recommend shows that are really good or great here and this show just isn’t that. It’s just okay.
But for being okay, Heroes Reborn feels like the follow-up second season the show deserved, cutting loose all the excess baggage that was the first season cast and progressively convoluted story lines that got worse over the seasons.
The second season committed the travesty of trying too hard to hold onto a good character, the villainous Sylar; overusing him by following him from the first episode instead of holding him to use for more impact later on. In addition to that, it held onto some not so good ones like Mohinder Suresh, who got exponentially more annoying and pointless per episode, and Peter Petrelli, whose storyline went haywire with vague implications and stakes.
Though season two was all around awful, it introduces a few potentially great powered characters, who nonetheless get wasted. Elle Bishop (played excellently by Kristen Bell) a sociopathic superpowered blonde with electric powers and Dania Ramirez as a girl who has uncontrollable poison emission (please no mexican food or water jokes).
Season three had a great idea for a premise, which was executed haphazardly at best; Villains. In it, they go further into the idea of the company (Primatech) being led by a brotherhood of evil mutants and they scratch the surface of normal humans being given powers artificially.
The polarizing fourth and final season had a great finale I would recommend, because even though it wasn’t yet cancelled, the ending wrapped the series well enough with a callback to season one, revealing the existence of superpowered people to the world. Here, they also explored the idea of superpowered persons being stronger in a group, amplifying their abilities, just like when a group of women living together sync menstruation cycles.
Now, Heroes Reborn goes back to the well with fresh eyes, since our only direct connection to the series’ past is ex-company man Noah Bennett, who also happens to have had his memory wiped (by the Haitian obviously). The only other concrete tie we have is Molly Walker (recast with a different actress), the girl who could find any superpowered person on earth.
Our main storylines involve newer mutants not just dealing with their powers, but hiding them for fear of being hunted down, since a disaster at Primatech the previous year was blamed on extremists who support “evos,” or “evolved humans.”
Tommy Clark is an adorkable teen played by Robbie Kay who played an evil reimagining of Peter Pan on Once Upon a Time so well, it’d almost make you want to watch that show. He can make things disappear by willing them away, initially accidentally, but thereafter as an awesome deus ex machina.
His is the most relatable storyline, the typical “kid feels isolated because he’s different” and “has crush on girl he’s perfect for but he’s invisible to her.” But as the story progresses, we find out more about him that hints at a more storied past than running away from bigots.
Carlos Gutierrez is a returning veteran and is a skeptic on “evos,” he lives in East L.A. and the neighborhood raves about their own “evo” masked vigilante. He soon discovers that his brother has been the vigilante and their other relatives and friends also have powers and have been running an underground railroad to hide runaway “evos.”
There is a girl being raised in isolation in the Alaskan wilderness who is being trained to “save the world” and can create aurora borealis, hail gusts of wind, and make trees grow. I guess she’s kind of like the love child of Gaia and Captain Planet, so clearly she’s trouble for any baddies.
The most unique story is that of Miko Otomo, a seemingly normal Japanese girl who one day has a weird gamer show up at her apartment, claiming to have found the address in a game’s code once beating it. Her father was the creator of the game and has been missing.
The gamer’s ranting piques her curiosity enough to lead her to take her father’s sword, which then surprisingly transports her physical body into the video game’s world of “Evernow.”
The graphics of the fight sequences and game world may not be up to par with current gaming standards, but it’s a fun side track.
Jumping into a video game may sound like a dumb excuse for a new superpower on par with Jubilee shooting fireworks or Squirrel Girl being Squirrel Girl, but I’m hopeful that it’s a red herring for an actually good superpower.
All of these new heroes are unwittingly going to cross paths (I assume, I mean come on, seriously) with Erica Kravid, a steely anti-“evo” corporate head of Renautas who is rounding up “evos” for an unknown shadowy master plan to rid the world of “evos.”
Renautas here is like an evil version of Google, so basically the Google that San Franciscans imagine. Also, “renautas” is latin for “born again,” hint hint.
In addition to the regular season, they also had a lead-in web series that led to the events of the Primatech disaster. In one of the better uses of corporate synergy, the web series directly ties to the series paying off in reappearances from the main characters in fairly important roles in the series.
To reiterate, this is what all should have happened for season two. Less Petrellis, less direct carry-over, more connectedness of plot lines, and pretty much just more fun. Even if that fun is in a darker timeline with no cheerleader to save.