Here are 5 things that Heroes Reborn should try to do or avoid to make sure the new show is a success….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The word is out — Heroes will return with a new series on NBC in 2015 called Heroes Reborn with original producer Tim Kring back on board to lead the upcoming series as well. NBC has been scarce with the details about the upcoming project except to say it would be a miniseries event of 13 episodes with digital webisodes debuting prior to the show’s launch date a year from now.
In the press release announcement about the series, NBC officials stated that there was no word on whether any of the original cast members would return for a full time role or even cameo appearances in Heroes Reborn.
So with a year to go until the show debuts, as a huge fan and eventually critic over the course of four seasons from the original series, I’m going to run down a few key things that I believe the new Heroes series either needs or needs to avoid to be a success when the show returns in 2015. Anyone that was a fan of Heroes knows that the show suffered a huge blow in season 2 when the famous writer’s strike took place in Hollywood, which virtually crippled the series just a year after it was one of the most popular shows on TV.
Heroes rebounded slightly in season 3 only to fall apart again in season 4 before the show was cancelled and NBC put the series on the shelf. Now with superhero movies at an all time high at the box office as well as shows like Agents of SHIELD on ABC as well as new series in development such as Gotham at FOX and the four upcoming Marvel series on Netflix, the peacock certainly wants to cash in as well with possibly the most successful superhero TV show of all time.
This list will consist of five key items that I believe could help or hurt Heroes Reborn depending on how you look at them and hopefully at least a few of these do or don’t make it into the new show coming in 2015.
Don’t Start From Scratch
If you’re going to call the series Heroes Reborn, it damn well better have at least some correlation to the previous series. Starting from scratch and building a whole new universe seems easy, but if you’re going to use the Heroes name there needs to be some kind of connection to the past stories or characters. Heroes — for all its flaws and shortcomings when the series ended — still managed to put together some of the most compelling stories and characters that the comic book world has ever seen on television and this was all from the creators’ imaginations. The definitely stole ideas from past comic books, but ultimately this was still an original series. Don’t forget what got you to the race in the first place and that was a foundation built on Peter Petrelli, Claire Bennett, Syler, Mohinder Suresh, and the rest of the cast and crew from the original series.
There are definitely elements from the first four seasons of Heroes that I’d like to forget, tuck them under a pillow and pretend like it never happened. Hiro’s awful time traveling adventures and the show’s constant obsession with him. Niki doing pretty much anything. The most ridiculous powers ever imagined being created like the deaf girl creating psychedelic waves of energy.
But how this differs from the first topic is this — as much as some fans of Heroes would love to go back to the end of season one and start over again from there and pretend like seasons 3-5 never happened, that’s not the case. Even if the new show chooses not to completely acknowledge very nook and cranny that the old series traveled, there are still elements that could help create a mythology for Heroes Reborn.
The fact is Heroes was a launching pad for a lot of careers so the chances of this new show bringing back many if any of the original cast is slim. But don’t forget that they existed and don’t forget the stories that they helped to tell. It doesn’t mean everything that happened over the course of Heroes has to be rehashed, but it also means don’t gloss over it like none of it ever took place. I want to see new characters and new origin stories, but remember Nathan Petrelli had kids, Molly would be grown up now, Micah isn’t a kid anymore, there are plenty of previous characters that could still appear in the new series that wouldn’t require offering Zachary Quinto half the budget to show up on set.
It’s fine to ignore Samuel’s traveling carnival of stupidity, but the butterfly effect of Claire coming out to the world at the end of season 4 could be a perfect jumping off point to the time we live in now where heroes exist, new ones are being discovered daily, and everything is changed from where we last left things
Get At Least One or Two Cast Members to Return
Over at Entertainment Weekly, the suggestion made for Heroes Reborn was the retcon the entire series and start from scratch after the abysmal way the show ended just a few years ago. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s easier to forget and move on than to forgive and recreate what was at one time a very unique and creative show.
My idea is this — if you’re going to revamp and relaunch the series and show runners are going to do as best they can to distance themselves from the original, then create a new world all together, maybe a dystopian universe like we saw in the vision Hiro had once upon a time where everyone had powers and the world was virtually in ruins. Or maybe this is an X-Men: Days of Future Past nod where people with abilities have been harvested and destroyed by the government and the last survivors are making one final mounted effort to save the world they live in.
Bringing back at least one or two cast members from the original show, maybe just for the debut episode to pass the torch to the new series would be the way to do it. Jack Coleman as Noah Bennett would be a perfect candidate to use from the old to the new. He wasn’t ever gifted with powers, but he was at first a hunter and capturer of those with abilities, and now maybe he’s the last hope these survivors have of evading the government forces that want to destroy them. Maybe it’s Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder, the doctor that tried to discover those with abilities before tampering with the genetics involved in creating superpowers.
Or if you want to go with one or two Heroes, maybe you can get Milo Ventimiglia or Masi Oka back for a couple brief appearances just to pay homage to the old show. While I personally despised all of the time traveling antics Hiro engaged in, his character could have easily set off the chain reaction that started whatever peril this world is in right now and he could pop in for the first episode before dying or befalling some other odd kind of fate that takes his powers away, thus rendering him unable to fix what went wrong.
The point is there are possibilities to include at least somebody from the old show, even if it’s only a cameo during the series.
Don’t Be Afraid to Kill Somebody
One of the most frustrating points about Heroes — and this started during season one as well — was the producers love affair with certain characters, actors or actresses. While there were plenty of temporary roles eliminated over the course of the show, Heroes virtually refused to let go of anyone from the main cast.
Even when characters died they always found a way to bring them back! I know that’s classic comic books 101 that no character stays dead forever, but in TV and movies, if there’s no consequence to an action, what’s the point?
No matter how many times the guy died, Nathan Petrelli just would not go away. Now, I enjoyed Adrian Pasdar’s performance as much as the next guy, but the moment he flew his brother into the sky so he could explode and not destroy all of New York City, that should have been the end for his character. Then there was Syler, who was Nicholas Brody before Homeland was even created. Here was this villain, this bad guy who wanted to destroy the world, but within a few episodes of a single season the producers noticed something interesting — Sylar was the most popular character on the show so just like Homeland couldn’t let Damien Lewis leave their show, Zachary Quinto was forever employed at Heroes.
And then there was Ali Larter, who will always look good in a whipped cream bikini, but when it came to Heroes they just could not find a way to fire her. It got to the point by the latter seasons that I was convinced she had an iron clad contract that literally said she could not leave the show so the producers just kept killing off her characters and bringing back new versions with the hope that at least one of them would be likable to the audience. Unfortunately, it never happened.
This new show has to have consequences for the lead characters — good or bad. Now Heroes Reborn doesn’t have to employ George RR Martin so they can go on a killing spree, offing actors like The Walking Dead goes through show runners. They just need to be willing to lose a few of them. If Heroes Reborn really is a 13 episode miniseries, treat it as such. I’m sure by episode three or four, NBC will know whether or not this ‘miniseries’ will get another run, but either way the show needs to be written and the story needs to be told in the way it’s intended to happen. Not repackaged, resold and regurgitated once Heroes Reborn gets a second season.
Keep the Powers in Check
One thing that always bugged me about Heroes were the absurd amount of abilities being passed around not to mention the hoarders like Sylar and Peter that eventually were able to keep an arsenal of limitless powers. The best part about a series like X-Men is that each mutant has their own set of abilities, and that’s what they will have for the rest of their lives. Certainly some mutants are more powerful than others but there were always limitations.
Heroes not only spawned some ridiculous powers like the guy who could melt toasters, but the show felt like with each new character introduced, there had to be a new, shocking ability revealed as well. Creativity counts obviously so coming up with new powers outside of flight, invisibility or super strength is great, but when you have a guy’s ability literally being the Midas touch or some weird vortex power, it goes from the exciting to the inane.
So for this new series of Heroes Reborn, limit the amount of abilities handed out and please don’t have any one person able to harness all of them. It’s the old argument of why Superman was always the most powerful character, but rarely the most popular. It’s because how can you hurt a man who is literally stronger and faster than everyone else with power beyond anyone else in the universe. At the end of season one of Heroes considering Sylar had already amassed a ton of abilities, no one should have been able to touch him much less the absurd fight that actually took place.
Keep the abilities in check, don’t hand out too many to one person, and the show and the team of people with powers becomes that much more compelling.
So there you have it folks, a list of five things that I believe could make Heroes Reborn not only a worthy show, but one that could get renewed for another season or two at least. There’s tons of promise with this show, let’s just hope the producers, writers and directors learn from past mistakes and make this new version and even better one than what we got during the first run.