Synopsis of 5×01 and 5×02: Picking up a few years after the original series skidded to a flaming halt, a new story begins with new heroes, some old haunts, and whichever original cast members would answer Tim Kring’s phone calls.
Heroes, as it existed once, was a hugely formative series for me. I burned through Season One DVD after a blind purchase from my local Wal-Mart, enveloping myself in the characters, the world, and the fetching box art. The first TV show I ever wrote was back in high school, comprised of Heroes fan fiction I scrawled in wide ruled notebooks and modified enough to make it my own, basically making me the forerunner of the Fifty Shades of Grey style of content creation. And a few episodes into Season Four, I just gave up. All at once I just stopped watching what was my favorite show. Somewhere around the time an evil circus geared up for its sinister plan regarding carney rights or something*, the sixteen-year-old version of me looked down at what he was doing and just said, “Nah.” Using my girlfriend’s internet to watch the week’s episode on Hulu just wasn’t worth it anymore. I wasn’t alone, and Heroes disappeared without much mourning.
And now, in 2015, Heroes has returned, albeit in a shinier form featuring 100% more Chuck. This makes the least sense of anything I have ever experienced. NBC, in its infinite wisdom and obviously having seen the gadzooks of money Marvel has been raking in, has looked down at its catalog of shows, seen it had a superhero one just lying around, and revived Heroes, apparently having forgotten the universal ire towards the show engendered by everything that happened in the back 75% of the show. As usual, NBC is only half a decade late to this party.
The world of Heroes has changed much since we last saw it. After Nashville’s own Claire Bennett came out to the world (the show’s words, not mine) as one of many powered humans or “Evos” as they are now called because mutants, Inhumans, Powers, and metahumans are already taken, an attempted peace summit was blown up by somebody somewhere and now everybody hates superheroes. This is no longer a world where clever Evos can slip by undetected and continue their lives as senators or high schoolers. Evos are hunted and shunned. Graffiti artists seem to hate them. They could almost be metaphors if this show put any kind of thought into anything.
Seemingly having learned nothing at all from the incredible mess his show became, showrunner Tim Kring still insists on splitting up all of his characters across vast distances so that they can hardly interact and become stranded in their own dull little worlds. Now, if you’re an avid television viewer, you might be of the opinion that having characters interact with each other is the primary draw of a television program. In fact, you may say depriving a show of this might as well be the worst creative decision you can make. One could almost be lead to believe that this was an intentional decision by the creative team meant to undercut the way we watch TV if one were to believe that Heroes Reborn put that much thought into anything.
Given the split up nature of the show, I would like to recap Heroes Reborn in much the same way that I used to recap Game of Thrones, by breaking it down storyline by storyline.
A Buddy Cop Pitch: Noah Bennett and a Bargain Basement Jack Black
It’s pretty fitting that the only character from the original show to return to Heroes Reborn in a major way would be Noah Bennett. Noah was the subject of the show’s best episode (the stone cold classic “Company Man”) and stood up with Matt Parkman and Sylar as being consistently entertaining as the show quickly circled the drain of malaise.
Noah is no longer Primatech’s go-to guy. He’s now a used car salesman of some variety with a vague amount of memory loss. Early on in the pilot he’s accosted by a blue truther hobo character obviously written for a Zack Galifianakis that they could not afford. What follows is a whole lot of nothing as the two forge an unlikely partnership and uncover strange new words like “Umberkinesis” (the manipulation of darkness) and have the Heroes Reborn-equivalent of witty http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/arthritis/ dialogue (“First rule of tailing someone: know how to tail someone”).
Any amount of clarity would have done this plotline a world of good. I admire how much Heroes Reborn doesn’t bother explaining anything about itself to anyone who may have forgotten something in the five years since they stopped caring about the show or, Heaven forbid, never watched it. I wasn’t even aware Noah had memory loss until he was asking his dying friend which memories were taken from him. Some mystery is good, but there was a real lack of clarity or motivation for anything going on here.
I also adore how each of tonight’s two episodes featured Noah kneeling over a dying friend and asking for information before the bullet wound ultimately consumed them. I would be fine if this happened every episode. I would enjoy that a good deal.
The Adventures of El Vengador and Smoke Priest on the Underground Railroad
What was great and revolutionary about Heroes when it first began was that it was tackling people with superpowers without any capes or masks coming into play. In looking at that great concept that brought people to his show in the first place, Tim Kring shrugged and said, “Nah,” in what is becoming a real pattern around this show.
Of all the plotlines this season, I just know this one is going to suffer the most from being separated from the others. The travails of the first costumed hero in this universe (arriving a decade too late to be interesting to the audience) are going to grow very tiresome very quickly. Mark my words. I’m already bored.
I have no idea what’s going on here.
By Far the Most Interesting Thing to Ever Happen in Carbondale, Illinois
What really holds back the story of Tommy The Blinker from being passable is universally terrible acting. From Tommy himself to Emily to the bully who is weirdly on board with all of this to the abusive step father addicted to The Biggest Loser**, this plot is wall to wall bland performances. The only hope this storyline has is Tommy’s weird stalker Mr. Pennies who I thiiiiiiiiiiiiink is from the original run of the show. Act soon, Mr. Pennies. We all need you to act soon.
Chuck’s Campaign of Carnage
What is truly amazing about Heroes Reborn is that no matter how much has changed from the original show, ultimately nothing has. The production values are still Heroes production values. The church basement fight scene near the top of the premiere was hilarious, with one Evo gifted with superspeed used it to jump around in frame for a while before just being shot in the head.
As for the plot given to Luke and Joanne I say, “What plot?” They got out of a room. Mazel-tov.
Japan, I Just Don’t Get You
I do not, on any level conceptual or personal, understand the Japanese plotline. It may just be the worst thing I have ever seen, and I sat through both the Simpsons/Futurama crossover and the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover. Nothing that happens from the first frame of this plotline until its ultimate Matrix: Revolutions moment of revelation makes a lick of sense. Who are either one of these people? What is Miko’s dad doing in a video game? What does she do all day? Did they really think that Leeroy Jenkins reference would be anything other than embarrassing? And what on God’s green Earth is happening?
I cannot explain to you one iota of this plot, of who either one of these characters are, or where it could possibly go over the course of thirteen episodes. It is the most miserably confused I have ever been and I could not look away.
To Be Continued…
So this is Heroes Reborn. And it is everything I could have possibly dreamed it would be. I’ll see you all next week, after I do some research to see if the timeline of Molly Walker turning into a sexy lady remotely checks out.
*What was it about terrible NBC superhero shows and their sinister carnivals? Heroes and The Cape would make a heck of a marathon session…
**The step father’s love of The Biggest Loser is baffling. Obviously, the show had access to it because it’s an NBC show, but why would NBC want one of its few successes directly associated with an abuser, not just once but as a running joke?