For some reason, I was thinking about Heroes the other day and decided to visit the official NBC website. It’s now a big ol’ advert for Heroes Reborn, a 13-episode mini-series reboot scheduled to air in the summer of 2015. I was shocked, given that audience enthusiasm for everything Heroes fell off a cliff after it’s first season.
However, I did a little digging and thinking and I think I’ve come out the other side on this thing.
1) Mini-Series Format
The original series began its run in 2006, just 2 years after LOST became a national phenomenon. Both shows traded pretty well on mystery-driven plots and character drama. The trouble is, you can only hold onto a mystery for so many episodes before viewers either lose interest or you have to reveal all the details. The (roughly) 24-episode-per-season format worked against them in those regards.
For a whole bunch of reasons, the 8 to 12 episode season works much better, especially for mystery plots. It lets you plot more tightly, keeping the story moving and fans engaged. You don’t have to introduce extraneous plot devices and characters to fill time.
2) Tim Kring
Another reason to be excited is that the creator of the original show, Tim Kring, is still on board. That might not sound like a good thing given that he drove the series into the ground. Consider though, that he gave us season 1 which was certainly impressive and had fans hotly anticipating season 2. A mini-series could repeat the success of season 1 without the threat of a follow-up season.
I’m aware that thanks to the Battlestar Galactica reboot, mini-series actually means “we’re testing the waters and we’ll make a shitload more of this if enough people watch it” but at least there’s a chance of an unadulterated first season.
3) It’s Not Season 5
It appears that the mini-series will not be a continuation of the story after season 4. No characters have been announced yet but NBC Entertainment President, Jennifer Salke said “we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.” To me that sounds like cameos at the most, though I’ll admit that it’s not concrete.
Salke also said “We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept.” Sounds like the original concept, not the original plot, is the basis of the mini-series. Well-executed “new textures and layers” on the idea of an epic super hero universe could breathe new life into Heroes.
I know webisodes are not traditionally very meaty or all that great but I have enjoyed a few of them and they usually give you a taste for the tone of a show. They’re also a really good place to tease a mystery plot and get people excited for the full course meal of the mini-series. It’s a little bit of “try it before you buy it” for people who are unsure whether they want to reinvest in the Heroes universe.
Even if seasons 2, 3 and 4 were the Yaris to season 1’s Versa, I loved that first season. The idea of a reboot has me very excited. I’m sure we’ll be podcasting about it when the time comes.