Back in 2006, the world was holding out for a hero. Amidst the storm of troubles facing the globe, we were in dire need of a little hope. Thus, cue Tim Kring’s multiple award-winning superhero drama, Heroes, in which a cast of everyday folk develop superpowers after a solar eclipse. Much like a modern day X-men, Heroes introduced us to a world where anyone could be special, and gave us some truly iconic characters, from cheerleader Claire Bennett to time-travelling Hiro Nakamura, and of course the terrifying Sylar, the role that launched Zachary Quinto’s career.
After ruling the airwaves for its first two seasons, Heroes seemed to take something of a bizarre sidetrack with the advent of the third season. Convoluted storylines and jarring changes to characterization meant that audiences began switching off, finding comfort instead in the blossoming world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. By the end of season four, only the hardcore fans remained, and the show tragically went out with more of a lackluster fizzle than the bang it had once deserved.
Fast-forward over half a decade, and it appears that the disappointed cries of fans across the globe have been heard, as Heroes has finally returned to our screens in the form of its aptly named progeny, Heroes Reborn.
After Claire’s outing of “evos” (evolved humans) at the end of season four, the world is a different place. Humans live in harmony with those with powers, and our former government-funded hero-hunter Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) is pretending to live a normal life under the alias of mild-mannered car salesman Ted. The entire world is turned on its head, however, when a bombing at a peace conference in Odessa is blamed on our old friend Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a known evo activist. Cue the arrival of conspiracy theorist Quentin (Henry Zebrowski) who drags Noah back into the world of the unknown in order to get to the truth behind the bombings.
What follows is a typically Heroes-style rollercoaster of a ride towards a possible apocalypse, filled with time-travel, plot twists and a rogues gallery of great characters, both fresh and familiar. Evil corporation Renautus (formerly Primatech) use young Molly Walker (Francesca Eastwood) to create their own Cerebro, whilst a vision from matriarch Angela Petrelli (Christine Rose) predicts that only two young teens can stop the end of the entire human race.
Heroes Reborn is a wonderful continuation of the original show, feeling perhaps not like season five as it were, but more season ten. Our characters have evolved, moved on from the days of hiding in the shadows, and found their places in the new world. Some for better, some for worse. In this sense, for the first few episodes, Reborn is perhaps not quite what fans may be expecting. Familiar faces are few and far between to begin with, and those we do meet are only under the most fleeting of circumstances.
But this gives us time to get to know our new roster, and what a crew they are.
Reborn sees some of the coolest and most complex characters to have graced the Heroes universe. Zachary Levi plays conflicted bounty hunter Luke who, after blaming evos for the death of his son in the Odessa attack, goes on a killing spree, only to discover that he himself is one of his supernatural prey. Ryan Guzman meanwhile is the costumed vigilante El Vengador, powerlessly stepping into his brother’s boots after he is killed defending the city streets. The real breakout character, however is Miko “Katana Girl” Otomo, played by the lovely Kiki Sukezane (with whom you can read our interview here), a mysterious sword-wielding Japanese girl who also happens to be a video game character.
Much like the original first season, Reborn is something of a slow burner, but it’s well worth the time. In a world saturated by big-budgeted explosive heroes, it’s a reassuring exploration into what it truly means to live up to that accolade. The majority of our main players are without powers, and those who are are constantly plagued by the blurred lines of morality.
Tragically cut short once again, hopefully Heroes Reborn will be picked up for a second season by one of our beloved on-demand services. For now, however, it is a worthy and much needed continuation of one of the most iconic shows of the naughties. Smart, impressively original, and as engaging as ever, Heroes Reborn is essential viewing for heroes and humans alike.
Created by: Tim Kring
Starring: Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Robbie Kay, Kiki Sukezane, Ryan Guzman, Rya Kihlstedt, Gatlin Green, Henry Zebrowski, Judith Shekoni, Danika Yarosh
Music: Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin
DOP: Alan Caso, Itai Ne’eman, Glen Keenan, Anette Haellmigk
Number of Episodes: 13
Episode Runtime: 44mins
Heroes Reborn is out now on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures UK