All eyes are on Heroes fourth season premiere later this month, but not necessarily in the way the craft-masters behind NBC’s ailing franchise may want. The question of whether or not Heroes can recapture its former glory is trailed by a very heavy, pulsing question mark. Last season saw Heroes live viewer numbers shrink below seven-million, and the franchise suffered relentless abuse from mainstream and arm-chair critics alike. However, at the core of all of the kvetching was a fanbase that was as galvanized as ever. Let’s face it, Heroes is far from dead if these six-million or so die-hards can convince the rest of the world that it is must-see-tv once again.
The first look at season 5 was promising, with new baddie Robert Knepper oozing a level of darkness not seen since Sylar stepped out of the shadows. Then there was that silly knife fight scene, with all of the crazy swishing sounds and low-budget Matrix stylization. Yuck. Hope that the schlock factor would be banished from Heroes was completely and utterly lost.
Now, though, NBC has released six clips that once again will fill your heart with hope for a Heroes rebound. Some excellent character work that reminds us of the very high caliber of acting talent that comprises the Heroes ranks, and more than a couple of bits of pseudo-comic intensity that flirt with Heroes’long lost potential as a mixed medium of superhero-genre meets regular folk dramatics. I, for one, am hopeful again. As long as there aren’t too many swishy knife fights.
Heroes kicks off its fourth season September 21st at 8:00pm/est on your local NBC channel.