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Heroes Reborn (2015)
Creator: Tim Kring

review by Christopher Geary

Unexpectedly returning for a 13-episode run, Tim Kring's superhero TV show follows the aftermath of a terrorist bombing, as humans and evos (the evolved people, rarely superior humans) are once again at loggerheads over whether the super-powered are bad guys or not. This sequel series follows Heroes (2006-10) and, like its predecessor, it leaps back and forth in time from a year later, tracking the strands of investigations to expose a conspiracy behind the massacre. A further atrocity seems likely as the scenario flits between USA and Japan, while vigilantes hunt and slaughter mutant 'freaks'.

In Tokyo, katana girl Miko (Kiki Sukezane) is a manga heroine come to Tron-style life for cartoonery of video-game action and - thankfully for her - the game star's samurai skills overlap with Miko's reality quest to America, where the product launch of EPIC glasses (like Cerebro and a Mysteron detector) is actually Molly's power harnessed as a tech app to find any enhanced humans. Broadening the scope and scale of this story to global proportions, we see another super-girl and her invisible friend practice their powers on the colour and sky-line extent of northern lights.

Character-actor Pruitt Taylor Vince plays a memory-thief named Casper, exercising a 'penny for your thoughts' gag on various people. Noah (Jack Coleman) has big trouble remembering recent events, but it's a case of amnesia that he gave himself. Dr Suresh (the show's narrator) is wrongly branded a traitor after the bombing. There's a flyer, a telekinetic, a multi-clone henchmen, a shape-shifter, a fire-starter, a shadow-weaver, a mind reader (Greg Grunberg returning, as psychic Matt Parkman, but on the wrong side!), while younger hero teleporting Tommy (Robbie Kay) is a bit too much like the kid from Jumper (2008). Joining in the comicbook fun, we also see but do not savour an armoured human do-gooder who is something like Iron Man crossed with a Mexican wrestler. Ginger beardy Quentin is the most boring POV character, and he's played by Henry Zebrowski, who's probably the worst actor in any genre TV show of the last few years.

Noah discovers corporate prep for the global catastrophe of an extinction-level event - also a sci-fi theme of Extant, Revolution, The 100, and even British effort Utopia, so there's nothing very original, or even particularly distinctive, about its apocalypse or meta-fictive tie-ins to comicbook lore. Halfway through this new series, Heroes' favourite time-traveller Hiro shows up, a bit older but no wiser and still meddling with fate ("He said he'd be right back"), even if the devastating bomb-atttack might prove somehow unpreventable, according to the mid-season two-parter. So, we find there are twins of doom, raised apart but supposedly to be reunited just in time to save the world. Can a gateway to a distant future help our species escape from the solar hell of the HELE?

The drip-feed of mystery elements and sparse moments of weirdness rarely generates any measure of genre intrigue as was clearly intended by the show's writers. Much of the drama and thrills are short-lived, and sadly undermined by frequent lapses into a dismal soap opera, with characters crying into their mobile phones - to a sympathetic girlfriend or a bitchy ex-wife, and fretting over familial crises (mostly irrelevant when the planet is threatened), while grand destiny affects the collective future of everyone, pacifist or tyrant, deeply concerned or blissfully unaware, manipulative insiders or helpless bystanders, alike.

Unlike the far superior Alphas (sadly, and unfairly, cancelled after only two seasons), the fantastical notions of Heroes have always been super-glued onto a quasi-mystical sensationalism instead of more fascinating sci-fi intrigues. Guns are pointed or waved about, people get stabbed, and microchips are injected. Ridiculously clichéd solutions to insoluble problems abound, so this laughably suggests that if you do get lost in life, just read comics to learn the answer! Where Heroes Reborn succeeds admirably is in a few startling revelations that expand the back-story when time-shifting acts become relevant to explain the main plot. It's also good fun whenever some cheesy comicbook dialogue (e.g. - snarling villainess Erica: "Once again, Katana Girl has managed to get in the way." Japanese gamer Ren: "I am looking for the Master of Time and Space."), is delivered with witty conviction strong enough to sell us such, blatantly hokey, lines as melodramatic flourishes.

Heroes Reborn



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