Heroes Reborn: “Brave New World/Odessa” Series Premiere Review

Photo Credit:http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/heroes-reborn-gets-mostly-fresh-start-225872

It took four seasons, and five extra years after for it to happen, but the Heroes universe has finally reached that dark future they promised us back in 2007. It makes sense after all, the cheerleader wasn’t saved.

Heroes Reborn opens with Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere, who has since moved to Nashville) getting killed offscreen in a massive terrorist attack just as her father Noah (Jack Coleman) is going to meet her, hoping to reconcile. Since Claire revealed her powers to the world in the series finale of Heroes that I’m assuming none of you watched, the public has seemingly approached it similarly to LGBTQ equality. “God Hates Evos” a protester’s sign reads before the attack. If you thought this revival would be any subtler than its predecessor, you were immediately shut down.

From there, this two hour premiere moves briskly along, introducing new heroes and integrating us into their daily lives. Some of their stories work better than others, but they are for the most part lacking in character.

The one longtime fans will be most interested in is Noah’s new investigations on what he apparently doesn’t remember. Our old friend The Haitian (Jimmy Jean Louis) is brought back to tell us and then immediately killed off. It’s a testament to just how good season one of Heroes was that upon seeing The Haitian, I got chills and couldn’t hold back a smile. But then a bullet goes through his chest, and the sense of warmth is gone. Instead, Noah has a new sidekick, Quentin (Henry Zebrowski), who does nothing more than make jokes the writers should be embarrassed about. Their journey brings them to Primatech, where they uncover a plot that involves Molly Walker (Francesca Eastwood), a little girl you might remember from the last few episodes of season one who stuck around for the following season and a half. She can find people.

But the show is really trying to sell you on Tommy (Robbie Kay), who is essentially Peter Parker, bully and love interest included. He can make people disappear, and might be the only new character to have a straightforward ability that gets used in the premiere. His story partially works, simply because it at least has the energy of the cliches its using. Energy is something a lot of the other stories seem to be lacking.

Like Luke and Joanne Collins’ (Zachary Levi and Judith Shekoni), whose son was killed in the terrorist attack, so they go around murdering Evos. Somehow, no one has caught them or anything. Considering they wave their guns around in the street, this is something of a miracle. Their story is one-note and overly melodramatic.

Moving on to war veteran Carlos (Ryan Guzman) in Los Angeles, who literally doesn’t have powers, at least yet. His one brother dresses up as a superhero and has something that looks like super strength, while his younger brother can phase through solid matter. Initially, I was proud to see the Heroes universe finally embracing the costumed superhero. But, as with The Haitian, just when I got excited, the character in question got killed off. Sure, Carlos is all but destined to put the mask on, but how long will that take? Heroes Reborn needed to hit the ground running, and this plotline is such a fake-out of that to the point of being insulting.

Is there anyone that can save this show?

Maybe.

Miko’s (Kiki Sukezane) world is slowly connecting to a popular video game. When she unsheathes the sword her father left her, which bears the familiar symbol the series has carried with it since the pilot, she’s transported into the video game. The animation is gorgeous and the action is hilariously violent. She may not be excited about her power, but the gamer who tracked her down and plays alongside her certainly is. This story is everything great about Heroes. It’s imaginative, whimsical, and unlike anything else on TV. I don’t know what power transports you into a video game, but this story was too fun to care.

So Heroes Reborn gets off to a slow but not terrible start. The two hours definitely went by pretty quick, but it doesn’t feel like anything happened outside of character introductions. That would be fine had all the characters been interesting, as they were in Heroes‘ pilot. But for now, we’ll have to settle for our lingering affection for Noah and video game heroine Miko. Will they be enough while the writers work out the kinks with the others? I guess we’ll find out next week. Welcome back Heroes. I’ll resume the post I left when you first ended back in 2010, where I just waited for you to get better. Don’t take too long. There are already some really great superhero shows I can turn to instead. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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