Zachary Levi turns to the dark side in ‘Heroes Reborn’

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Review: ‘Heroes Reborn’ faces big mission.

RETURNING SHOW: Meredith tries to grow accustomed to having roommates, Jackson prepares for April to come back, and Bailey goes after the chief of surgery position in the “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC at 8 p.m.) season premiere. There’s still little reason to think anyone is clamoring for this particular reboot, given how poorly the series was received beyond its first season, but the good news is “Heroes Reborn” feels like the first season of “Heroes” as it seeks to introduce a new batch of characters with superpowers.

SERIES PREMIERE: The “ordinary people with extraordinary abilities” have gone into hiding in a two-hour episode of the “Heroes” reboot “Heroes Reborn” (NBC at 8). NBC’s reasons for reviving the property so soon after its cancellation might have everything to do with the heroes craze sweeping the box office (see “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and TV (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”).

The world learned of the existence of these “evolved,” super-powered people — now called Evos — in the 2010 “Heroes” series finale. “Heroes Reborn” picks up four years later as a blast levels Odessa, Texas, killing thousands in town for a human-Evos Unity Summit, supposedly including indestructible Claire Bennet (actress Hayden Panettiere is busy on “Nashville” and doesn’t return). RETURNING SHOW: Olivia and Fitz are still together, Cyrus, Huck and Mellie have to face the consequences of their actions, and Olivia is hired to protect a queen’s secrets in the “Scandal” (ABC at 9) season premiere. Still, the buzz-generating energy of that first 2006 season lingers, enough to cause NBC and creator Tim Kring to relaunch the show (and, they hope, tap into the current superhero craze) for a closed-ended 13-episode run. Claire’s father, Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), also known as HRG (for his trademark Horn Rimmed Glasses), survived the blast but somehow had his memory wiped.

RETURNING SHOW: Annalise and Frank secretly investigate Rebecca’s murder, and Annalise gets a surprise visit from an old friend in the “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC at 10) season premiere. Hold on to that “closed-ended” part, because it provides the best reason to hope that Reborn will not follow in the original’s wandering footsteps — despite a two-hour premiere that is, in typical Heroes fashion, chaotic and inconsistent. Second, creator/executive producer Kring hasn’t learned anything from seasons two through four. “Heroes Reborn” suffers from the same excesses that alienated viewers — too many characters, too many plot threads, too many snippets of scenes that serve to advance little but the time to a commercial break.

One year later, he’s working as a car salesman and preparing to remarry when a conspiracy theorist, Quentin Frady (Henry Zebrowski), catches up with him and convinces him the official story, blaming Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), for the Odessa attack, is a cover-up, leading HRG to investigate what really happened. SERIES PREMIERE: In the drama “The Player” (NBC at 10), security expert Alex Kane (Philip Winchester) attempts to avenge his wife’s death by infiltrating the House, an exclusive gaming organization led by a mysterious man named Mr. Even so, combine some intriguing new characters and some fine old favorites with a seemingly workable “save the world” story, and you may just have enough to sustain those 13 episodes. Finally, the show seems old-fashioned — even NBC’s “The Player,” which debuts after this bloated two-hour premiere, has three times the action and spectacle. The 13-episode revival starts with a flashback to a year ago, to an explosion deemed a terrorist attack that pretty much wiped Odessa, Texas, off the map. “Evos,” as people with special abilities are now called, are blamed and hunted.

FINALE WATCH: “Documentary Now!” (IFC at 10) paints an intimate portrait of a fictional soft-rock band, the Blue Jean Committee, in this two-parter. Nerdy teen Tommy (Robbie Kay) just wants to be normal, but he’s stuck with the ability to teleport people and doesn’t have firm control over his power. SERIES PREMIERE: Fashion designer and stylist Rachel Zoe discusses pop culture, fashion and beauty trends on the talk show “Fashionably Late With Rachel Zoe” (Lifetime at 10:30). This time, however, the rest of the world knows. “Evos” have come out, and humanity is split between those who accept them and those who don’t — a twist that a bit too closely parallels the gay rights metaphor that ran through HBO’s True Blood. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and comedian-TV host Chris Hardwick visit “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC at 11:35), with musical guest Big Grams.

Instead of Hiro (Masi Oka, one of the few original stars set to return later this season) and his best pal/personal cheerleader, we have a Tokyo gamer who helps a girl (Kiki Sukezane) who never ever locks her apartment door realize she is “Katana Girl,” who goes off and fights evil — in a video game. Then there’s the anti-Evo crowd, including vigilantes Luke (Zachary Levi, “Chuck”) and Joanne (Judith Shekoni), who set out to avenge a loss by slaughtering the innocent. Journalist and activist Maria Shriver, comedian Jim Gaffigan, author Andrew Sullivan and Archbishop Thomas Wenski are on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (CBS at 11:50). The biggest name here might be Zachary Levi, best known for playing nice spy guy “Chuck.” He’s cast against type here, but his scenes are so short, it’s impossible to judge his effectiveness.

After that, conspiracy theory investigations kick in and “Heroes Reborn” starts to have a “more of the same” vibe reminiscent of the tangled thicket of plot webs in the original “Heroes.” The new show is not nearly as convoluted, but it shows signs that it could go down that road. Fans of Heroes will be happy to see some old faces, with the promise of more to come — and fans of Chuck will be happy to see Zachary Levi back in a TV action/adventure fantasy, although in a very different role. Still, compared to Minority Report, Limitless, Rosewood and its NBC companion, The Player, Reborn at least makes you think the people involved have some sense of how a TV series is supposed to work.

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