‘Heroes Reborn’ wasn’t worth wait

Robbie Kay struggles to convincingly play the young Tommy, who is developing superhuman abilities out of his control. gageskidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

Fans of the science-fiction series “Heroes” (2006 – 2010) were devastated when the cult favorite was canceled after an epic cliffhanger. “Heroes” followed the lives of characters all around the world who had begun to develop superhuman abilities. The show traced their various encounters with each other and saw several characters band together on multiple occasions in order to save the world from doom. The last season of “Heroes” ended with Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), a Texas teenager with the ability to miraculously heal herself, jumping off the top of a ferris wheel, and getting up, completely fine, in front of dozens of bystanders and news reporters. This stunt essentially outed the existence of people with superhuman abilities to the world, and then — boom — that was the last episode of the series.

Because “Heroes” ended with loose plot lines all over the place and absolutely no closure, expectations were high and excitement was through the roof when whispers of a spinoff series became a reality. Many fans think that “Heroes” peaked in its early seasons and took a steep decline in quality in its final year on the air. So there’s no way a spinoff series could possibly be worse, right? Wrong.

“Heroes Reborn,” which premiered its first-ever episode on Sept. 24, has none of the appealing characteristics of the original series. Granted, “Heroes” wasn’t a work of art, but it was entertaining, had compelling characters and earned a cult following. If “Heroes Reborn” continues in the fashion that its premiere did, there is a slim chance it will do the same.

The premiere opens similarly to its predecessor’s, giving viewers a taste of the lives of superhumans all around the world with no explicit connection between the characters aside from their abilities. Viewers are told that, a year ago, in the Bennets’ hometown of Odessa, Texas, there was a terrorist attack at an amusement park, which was intended to kill off superhumans. Claire is presumed dead.

First on the list of changes, people with abilities are now referred to as “Evos,” as in “evolved,” which is something fans of the original will have to get used to. Viewers will also likely be disappointed that the entire cast of “Heroes” has been replaced in this new series, save for Claire’s father, Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), who was one of the most unlikable characters on the show. It honestly feels like, besides Coleman’s redeeming performances, this is the cast’s first time acting and the writers’ first time writing.

The cast is comprised mainly of new faces, and since the original show had such a talented cast (Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia and Zachary Quinto, to name a few), this is severely underwhelming. Even in the first episode of “Heroes,” the characters were able to make an impression, good or bad, but all the characters in “Reborn” are bland and forgettable. They fall into convenient clichés, void of the unique quirks that made the original band of superhumans so much fun to watch.

The dialogue and writing is at the level of “Heroes” at its lowest point — in its final season. Hopefully it will only get better from here, because, at this point, it is flat and poorly executed by the seemingly inexperienced cast. The main issue with “Heroes” was that it would start off with a great plot arc and, somewhere in the middle, the writers would get in over their heads. The story would then devolve into something nonsensical and convoluted. The original series’ intriguing storyline and lack of resolution are what will bring fans of “Heroes” flocking to this spinoff series, but they shouldn’t expect much. The replacements for characters like Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), Sylar (Quinto) and Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) are lackluster and insufficient.

The two-part season premiere just doesn’t evoke any feeling or inspire any dedication from fans. There’s no reason to watch more of “Heroes Reborn” for anyone except those optimists who hope that the premiere is just suffering from the growing pains of a new show, which is always possible. Let’s hope this is the case, because if it isn’t, “Heroes Reborn” will only be a disappointment five years in the making.


2 stars