In 2006, an innovative and original television show premiered on NBC that swept the nation. Its subsequent seasons would represent the broadcast television equivalent of being trapped in an elevator with your own farts as you go up 10 floors, waiting for the doors to open. Now, it returns with fresh new faces and a brand new story…and it’s pretty good, I guess.
The sci-fi drama Heroes returns to television as a 13-episode miniseries sequel known as Heroes Reborn. Picking up some time after the events of the original series finale, people with powers, known as Evos, are being pursued by the general populace after a terrorist attack occurs at a rally meant to promote equality between humans and evos. As per the show’s usual structure, the show switches between several different characters, each with their own stories. We follow a teleporter that tries to keep his high school life as normal as possible, a girl who searches for her missing father by traveling into a video game, a married couple who seek revenge on all Evos after their son dies in the attack and a drunk soldier recently home from combat who takes up the mantle of his vigilante evo father. Characters of the previous series make their own appearance, particularly Noah Bennett. The former “bagger-and-tagger” of Evos, living under an assumed identity, returns to the forefront after a man approaches him with insight on the truth behind the terrorist attack.
Reborn boasts a return to form in these first two episodes, presented as a 2-hour premiere. The fresh faces with their separate stories come as a reminder of what made the first season the best, the mystery and drama of “ordinary people with extraordinary abilities.” This clean slate tactic was probably creator Tim Kring’s best bet in trying to revive a once-great program. But perhaps it adheres to its roots a little too well.
By now, we’ve seen plenty of tired stories about people trying to be normal despite strange circumstances. In that respect, Reborn treads no new ground with the ol’ “super people are different and therefore scary” bit. The same clichés are simply slapped onto different people with different powers, especially when it comes to generic high school boy wanting to fit in. The more interesting elements of the story comes from the (seemingly) non-powered individuals like the married couple and returning character Noah, but even those aren’t without their glitches. The straight-laced and skeptical husband (portrayed by Zachary Levi) seems bogged down by his trigger happy wife (Judi Shekoni), who sometimes has the same questions as her significant other, but proceeds to shoot first before asking them. Noah (Jack Coleman) and his new sidekick Quentin (Henry Zebrowski) try to discover the real culprit behind the terrorist attack by investigating a mysterious corporation while the latter searches for his missing Evo half-sister. While this storyline offers up some originality, failure to keep up with the reboot’s prologue webseries will leave quite a bit of audience members in the dark (if you watched the webseries at all, you’d know this is a pun) and lowers the stakes for viewers quite a bit. Luckily, for those who didn’t watch the first show or didn’t remember certain things (Guilty), no callbacks to previous season stretched far past “Remember this thing? It’s back, but if you don’t remember, here’s what it is,” meaning newcomers won’t feel totally alienated; why you would be watching Reborn if you didn’t watch the original, I wouldn’t know.
All in all, this new reboot does well to ease people back into the show’s glory days, but brings almost nothing new to the table in doing so. Is it worth keeping up with? Maybe a little. But I wouldn’t expect anything groundbreaking this time around.