Heroes Reborn: EW review

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Heroes Reborn,’ ‘Player’ arrive.

Much of the NBC sequel “Heroes Reborn” is shrouded in secrecy, but one of the few things we do know is that Jack Coleman’s Noah Bennet (aka the Man with the Horn-Rimmed Glasses or simply HRG to fans) is again at the center of it all.NBC has a very violent night in store Thursday with the premieres of “Heroes Reborn” and “The Player.” Both series are flashy, mean and unnecessary. The common wisdom about Heroes is that it showed tremendous early promise (and huge early ratings) but flamed out creatively in its second season and never returned to form.

Ahead of the 13-episode miniseries’ two-hour premiere on Sept. 24, Coleman spoke to Variety about returning to HRG, TV reboots and why now is a good time for another look at his much-beloved mid-2000’s TV series. But then came NBC’s Heroes, which filled a huge void on network TV with its sprawling ensemble, its story about superpowered people around the country, and its dense mythology.

How it unfolded was a bunch of us were watching the Winter Olympics last year and all of a sudden there was an ad: “Heroes Reborn 2015.” All of a sudden, all of the actors were on this group chat instantly asking if anyone had heard about it. More importantly, how can Heroes Reborn, debuting Thursday, compete in a TV landscape where the kinds of stories it wants to tell are now commonplace? What’s good: Winchester tackles the physical role with ease; he pulled off a similar feat in “Strike Back.” Snipes brings amusing flourishes to his melodramatic dialogue. When the first (Emmy-nominated) season of Heroes debuted in 2006, its use of time travel and other tricky narrative structures was pretty cutting edge for a network show. (Usually studios insisted that each week’s episode be fairly accessible to new viewers.) Now, shows like the CW’s Arrow and The Flash deploy those kinds of storytelling tricks every week and have whole universes of interconnected spinoffs built around them. Heroes Reborn reintroduces a world clogged with new characters and conspiracies to unravel, but it’s so hell-bent on being convoluted that those mysteries quickly lose their appeal.

If you don’t know something about the mythology of where he worked and the people who hunted the super-powered individuals, you’re going to be a bit lost. Characters like the time-traveling Hiro, the brain-eating villain Sylar, and the indestructible cheerleader Claire were fun to follow along with at first, but the show quickly got bogged down in the uninteresting origins of their powers and in the larger web of shadowy government agencies.

Heroes Reborn decides to lead with the latter, tossing several unfamiliar characters into an even denser mystery, and expecting the audience to remember plot details from a show that went off the air in 2010. Set five years after the fourth season finale, Heroes Reborn sees people with superpowers (now dubbed “evos”) facing public scrutiny after a terrorist incident in Texas is blamed on one of their own. One returning character, Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), seeks to unmask the real perpetrators of the attack, which leads him to cross paths with a slew of new characters.

During a convention of the evos on 13 June at a facility in Texas there was a giant explosion, which not only killed all the evos in attendance (including Claire) but also turned the world against them. For a show with Heroes in the title, it’s shocking just how many are seemingly mundane human beings, like Noah, the angry vigilantes (Zachary Levi and Judith Shekoni) seeking revenge for the loss of their families in the attack, and Quentin (Henry Zebrowski), a conspiracy theorist who spurs Noah to come out of hiding. I don’t know what is worse, that there is already amnesia in the first episode or that Claire died in an explosion when her power is that she’s invulnerable. What’s not so good: This grueling attempt to please fans starts with a Sept. 11-style disaster, and more horrific violence follows with alarming regularity. “Reborn” shifts to animation for some of the most graphic mayhem. And there’s the promise of many returning favorites, from Hiro to the telepathic Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) to the clairvoyant Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose).

Unfortunately, they don’t pop up in the two-hour opener, which is devoted instead to a vast cast of newcomers, each involved in some tiny personal drama that might, at some point in the future, tie into a larger plot. Movie source material used to be plays or novels and then they became reboots of movies and then they became movies made from television shows or movies made from comics. This was a problem with the original Heroes, too—the creator Tim Kring got so invested in his individual characters that he forgot to unite them into a team. You might recall the show’s first season motto, “Save the cheerleader, save the world,” but you’d probably be hard-pressed to remember just how the plot eventually played out. Five years is really a good amount of time, in my opinion, because it’s long enough where the dust has settled, the air has cleared and everyone’s gotten some distance from it.

The character of Molly Walker, the girl who can find anyone by thinking about them, is also back, but now she’s all grown up and played by Francesca Eastwood (Clint’s daughter and Scott’s half sister). There’s a weird Japanese person (this time a girl), an innocent from the heartland (this time a boy), a sexy guy who wants to do the right thing who doesn’t have his powers yet (still a boy), and they’re all being followed around by shadowy people, dastardly corporations and secret organisations.

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