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TV Review: Heroes Reborn - Series Premiere "Brave New World/Odessa"

09.24.2015

Plot: In a new world order, people with extraordinary abilities are in hiding and are hunted by those with nefarious motives following a catastrophic terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas. 

Episode: "Brave New World"/"Odessa"

Review: Five years ago, Heroes went off the air fairly unceremoniously. After debuting in 2006, the NBC series was an immediate hit with it's mixture of comic book mythology and original characters. It introduced the world to Hayden Panetierre, Zachary Quinto, and many more. As the seasons went on, Heroes devolved into a spoof of itself featuring carnivals, serial killers turned heroes, and more convoluted plots than any other series on television. Now, with a half decade in between, Heroes is back in the form of the NBC event series Heroes Reborn. And, I am glad to say, it is a welcome return.

Showrunner Tim Kring has done something a little different than the recent 24 event series and the pending return of The X-Files. Heroes Reborn does feature many characters from the initial run of the show but has changed the dynamic by featuring an almost entirely new main cast with a distinct yet eerily familiar overarching plot. While a true reboot would not require having seen the series that preceded it, Heroes Reborn is steeped in the mythology of it's predecessor. While Heroes is not required viewing, I can imagine those new to this fictional universe could use some Cliff's Notes to catch up to where this series begins.

As with Heroes, the series picks up with a volume titled Awakening with the first episode titled Brave New World, the same title as the Heroes final episode. Set a few years after the series finale of Heroes, Claire Bennet's revelation to the world of the existence of super-powered humans, now called Evos, has resulted in the world being split down the middle between those tolerant and those against them. The split is very timely with the countless political divides regarding race, religion, and sexuality across our country and world. Much like in the Marvel Civil War comics event, a mass explosion in Odessa, Texas takes the lives of numerous Evos and humans alike. Several years later, the world is against Evos and their supposed terrorist leader, Mohinder Suresh.

A lot of time is spent with Noah Bennet as he deals with the fallout of the June 13th tragedy and the supposed death of his daughter, Claire. Bennet explores who really caused the June 13th explosion and whether his daughter may still be alive. Many references are made to characters from the original series, but the focus of the new series is on Carlos Gutierrez (Ryan Guzman) as a normal human who helps Evos through an underground railroad to Canada, Tommy Clarke (Robbie Kay) as a teen trying to harness his powers, Luke and Joanne Collins (Zachary Levi and Judith Shekoni) as grieving parents who have sworn to hunt down and kill all Evos after the death of their son, and Kiki Sukezane as a woman with a familiar katana sword who is able to enter and exit a digital video game world.

After these first two episodes of Heroes Reborn, you will either be bought in for the ride or ready to bail on the series. Personally, I found the two hours to be incredibly familiar and much more in line with the great first season of Tim Kring's original series. Jack Coleman is a welcome sight as he slips back into his trademark horn-rimmed glasses while Zachary Levi is playing a much more serious and dark character than he ever did on the under-appreciated NBC series Chuck. The rest of the cast have yet to prove themselves as worthwhile event viewing but the promise of many more callbacks to the original series will make this a series to keep an eye on.

Tim Kring said the reduced episode count from the 22-plus runs of Heroes to a lean 13 was because they had a story to tell that made it work bringing the show back. Having this series start with the promise of being "volume one" makes me wonder if this is as standalone as we were led to believe. If these first hours are any indication of how the rest of the show will be, then buckle your seat belts as this is going to be a fun ride.

Source: JoBlo.com

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