“Heroes” returns to television for the first time in six years with the 13-part miniseries “Heroes: Reborn” — but, instead of re-introducing viewers to the world of “Heroes,” “Reborn” settles for making the same mistakes as its predecessor.
The story picks up several years after the events of “Heroes.” In the years since the events of the fourth season, those with powers (now called “Evos”) have revealed themselves to a world that has come to fear them. It’s a concept we’ve seen thousands of times in comics, television and film, and “Reborn” doesn’t improve on or reinvent what “X-Men” and “True Blood” already accomplished years ago.
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That being said, the series opening got off to an interesting start with the absolute destruction of the Primatech building. The fatal incident occurs at the beginning when, during a peace rally held by the reformed Primatech, an explosion levels Odessa. Hundreds are killed, including Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere, “Nashville”), or so we’re told. Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy, “Covert Affairs”) has claimed responsibility, and things are becoming less and less like we remember them — invulnerable Claire dies in explosion? Flawed but ultimately noble Mohinder is a terrorist? The surprises with known characters were one of the more welcome aspects of “Reborn,” however, killing the Haitian, one of the best characters of the series, seems like the wrong move.
Another unfortunate aspect of the series is that like the original “Reborn” lacks a cohesive storyline. Instead, the show gives its audience misappropriated, unwanted new characters that employ unearned melodrama and further devalue the show’s already-questionable status as a serious television drama.
The end product is a show that frustrates fans and newcomers alike, falling apart long before it even comes together.
The attempts to combine superhero tropes with social commentary in the Carlos (Ryan Guzman, “The Boy Next Door”) storyline is admirable, and at least right now, the most interesting of the series’ additions. Creator Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and his fellow writers should be applauded for giving us a Latino superhero, and Carlos, a non-Evo, could prove a fascinating answer to this world’s Batman.
The other storylines are less fruitful, to say the least. Tommy (Robbie Kay, “Once Upon A Time”) does feel pleasantly old-fashioned, something like an homage to the teen angst of classic Spiderman comics. Unfortunately, his home and high school life feel much less fleshed out than Claire’s did back in 2006.
We’re also introduced to Luke (Zachary Levi, “Thor: The Dark World”) and Joanna (Judi Shekoni, “Backstrom”) who lost their son in Odessa and are now indiscriminately killing every Evo they can find. It’s an incredibly disturbing story that does create interesting and darkly understandable villains, but it seems like we needed more than just a lost son before having the couple go full-on “Natural Born Killers.”
But the single biggest sin has to be the Kiko story. Her power, the ability to transport between the real world and a video game, is a cool idea, if it had been done right. Unfortunately, here it just feels out of place, under-developed, and incredibly cartoonish in a show whose melodrama constantly undermines its aims at making quality drama.
We seem to have an unquenchable desire for superheroes. There is undeniable evidence in comics, film, and television that the genre can sustain a certain level of prestige. “Marvel’s Daredevil,” for instance, proved to have more in common with “The French Connection” than the city-destroying madness and pretentiousness of “Man of Steel.” “Reborn,” however, falls far below the genre’s best, making the return of “Heroes” feel undeserved.