Pop-Ed: Heroes Reborn

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Veronica Mars made huge waves last year when a Kickstarter campaign was successful in raising funds for a major motion picture. A lot of questions were brought up revolving around the ethics of crowd funding and if something like this is even worthwhile for those who essentially paid hundreds to see one movie, regardless of rewards. It also left a lot of people wondering if some of their own favorite shows could come back as Kickstarter funded movies. Pop-Break.com hopped on this bandwagon too with a group post about shows certain staff members wouldn’t mind coming back. Yours truly contributed with a section on Heroes, the 2006-2010 NBC drama that started off strong and progressively fizzled out as the series continued. Its unplanned series finale was very open-ended, leaving fans wondering if they could ever get the closure they wanted.

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Well wonder no further fellow fans because Heroes is coming back! NBC used their amped up Winter Olympics coverage last night to tease Heroes Reborn, a new 13-episode miniseries coming next year. It will feature a completely separate story arc that may or may not have some of the previous stars coming back in cameos. The Internet, of course, self-destructed at this announcement. Heroes was one of those shows with a massive fan base that rabidly consumed any and all material. Graphic novel tie-ins were read, DVD sets were purchased, online webisodes were watched, and an entire Heroes Wiki was packed to the brim with fan theories and speculation. The story about normal people with superpowers really resonated with viewers of all ages. I too got swept up in the craze with several friends of mine, and even used Heroes as a cornerstone of my semester long senior portfolio about the supernatural for my Honors English class in high school. It got an A obviously.

Like I’m sure many fans are, I’m cautiously optimistic about this announcement. Heroes was my favorite show on TV during its four season run but not even I could pretend that it wasn’t dropping in quality. There’s a set consensus among fans that the first season was the absolute best and everything else after paled in comparison. The first season was a tight, exciting, superhero drama that revolved around a group of people trying to save a cheerleader named Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) from the ruthless, power-absorbing Sylar (Zachary Quinto). “Save the cheerleader, save the world” became a household slogan. There were several sub-plots thrown in but they all revolved around this main story. The two heroes viewers rallied behind were Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) who could manipulate space-time and Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) who mimicked powers.

Everything just went downhill once Season 1 ended. The Season 2 premiere brought series high viewers but the numbers steadily plummeted after. The show became a jumbled mess of random plots, stupid characters, and unfulfilled promises. When the series finale mercifully came, people were ready to see it go. So what does this all mean for the miniseries? Well obviously the writers will want to focus on what made the show so great during the first season. Already the idea of this miniseries being a stand-alone story is very promising. FX, for example, employs this model to great effect with American Horror Story. Each season is a self-contained story that wraps up with a nice little bow. If Heroes had used this concept during its four year run, it could have stopped itself from getting too wrapped up in pointless character melodrama that spanned space and time. So already there is a good sign that this could be something special.

This new miniseries also gives Heroes a chance to permanently go out on a high note. It really sucks that every fan remembers the first season with fondness and everything else with immense derision. Heroes getting the can was basically a mercy killing. How is this an appropriate conclusion to any show, regardless of fandom? Even four years later I still have a bad taste in my mouth regarding how poorly the show ended. If the writers can make this miniseries as good as the first season and give it the conclusion a show of this caliber deserves, fans might actually be able to get the finale they’ve always wanted. Heroes could finally be remembered as a show that started strong and ended strong, not one that started strong and came through the finish line as a bloody mess.

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But of course, this all revolves around IF this new miniseries is good. There’s a strong possibility that it could further tarnish the memories people have of this show. Like millions of others, I had already accepted that Heroes was done for good. I have since replaced the show with so many other, much better programs and I’ve long stopped asking for more. I seriously wouldn’t have cared at all if Heroes ever came back. Yet here it is, rising from the dead in a manner that could end up permanently ruining the show for everyone. And what if this miniseries is successful and delivers record breaking ratings for NBC? You can bet your ass talks will happen to bring the show back again. If such a thing does happen, who’s to say that old problems won’t rise again like a bad fungus that won’t go away?

There really is no better way to describe my feelings than “cautious optimism.” I loved Heroes when it was on TV, even when it became painful to watch. I wanted more when the show ended four years ago. Now I’ve moved on to bigger and better things. Yes I’m happy that the show is returning for a brief miniseries, but the last thing I want is for it to further tarnish the positive memories I have with this program. At this stage, I’d much rather have this miniseries come back with the awesomeness Season 1 had and then ride off into the sunset forever. Giving this show an appropriate send off is really the best case scenario right now. Will I end up wanting more when this miniseries comes next year? I’m not going to lie, that may happen. But right now this should be a one and done deal. Make it great and let the show rest for good. We’ll see next year if this is something that deserves another go.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I wish the graphic novels kept going after the show was axed. Buffy and Angel kept going after it ended.
    The writer’s strike killed Heroes. At least, I always thought it infected Heroes with the virus which was supposed to be a big deal in season 2. I hated how they depowered Peter, and basically screwed with their logic (Clare’s blood can cure her adoptive dad getting shot in the eye, but not her bio dad getting his throat cut?).
    Maybe the miniseries will be about getting Caitlin back from the future?
    But seriously, I am looking forward to this. Other than Sylar and Claire, no one else (actorwise) is currently doing anything useful anyway.

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