NBC delighted Super Bowl viewers on Sunday with a short teaser trailer for the upcoming Heroes Reborn, which presumably most didn’t know was coming since not everyone reads TV blogs for a living, and this is the first time NBC has really promoted it.
The short, fifteen second spot shows familiar face HRG and newcomer Zachary Levi approaching a Last Airbender-style uh, Aurora bender, a child in a snowsuit with the ability to manipulate the Northern Lights. Presumably, the two adults are rival recruiters, but it’s hard to judge from just fifteen seconds. What’s clear is that with the inclusion of HRG, there will be some crossover with the past series, but to what extent is unclear. A direct continuation would have to deal with the ramifications of Claire revealing her powers to the world in the original Heroes finale, but perhaps they’re going to scrap that and make a fresh start with some sort of alternate timeline or a big time jump.
But whatever Heroes Reborn ends up being, it needs to avoid some of the mistakes of the first series.
No Overpowered Superpowers
It can be hard to avoid plot holes entirely when you’re making a show based around superheroes, but some of the powers of the original Heroes were just too derailing. First and foremost, time travel has to go. Hiro may have been a beloved character on the show, but his power broke pretty much every plotline, and added little of value. Eventually, they stripped it down so that he could, at best, freeze time, not jump in the past and alter events, once they realized it was too extreme. Similarly, while giving one big-bad villain like Sylar a huge collection of powers as he kills supers was a good plot device, the concept went off the rails when the show gifted Peter the ability to absorb powers by mere proximity, which turned out to be insane in practice. Eventually, the show stripped down that power to only allow him to have one at a time. Lets avoid these mistakes with Heroes Reborn, shall we?
Too Many Heroes
Like X-Men: The Last Stand before it, Heroes eventually suffered by introducing simply too many characters for its own good. While the show was always meant to be an ensemble to some extent, as time went on the cast got so huge that it forced the creation of extraneous subplots for relatively useless characters like Mohinder and Ali Larter’s set of triplets. It’s a much better format to have say, six heroes with their own character development and plotlines, than trying to juggle a solid dozen or more so there’s no time to do anything. Some shows like Game of Thrones can do this well, but Heroes never proved it was good at that kind of thing, so it seems better not to risk overload, particularly if this is a “refreshed” version of the series.
Know Where You’re Going
The stated plan for Heroes Reborn right now seems to be a limited run miniseries, but in TV speak, all that means is a shortened season that will aim to prove whether or not there’s still interest in the show. FOX recently did something with 24: Live Another Day, but given the popularity of that, it’s doubtful we’ve truly seen the last of Jack Bauer after that series wrapped. Other shows use the miniseries to just start-up regular seasons, like CBS’s Under the Dome. Honestly, I hope Heroes Reborn really is crafted as a fixed-run series with a start and end date. That will allow the writers to form a coherent story, and not veer into the sort of aimlessness we saw from every season of Heroes after the first one. On top of this, I think shorter seasons in general do wonders to prevent shows from feeling bloated or overstuffed, so that’s a step in the right direction.
Bonus: Start Fresh
I know there will obviously be some carryover between the old series and the new, judging by HRG’s inclusion, but I think Heroes Reborn shouldn’t be afraid to take its core concept and free it from the constraints of three years of weird plot turns from the original series. Everyone will benefit from the show being truly “Reborn,” whether that means cutting the majority of the old cast or not.
[Photos via NBC]