So. Heroes is coming back. Yes, that Heroes. On NBC. Network television. That is a thing that is happening. A thing that is strange and unexpected enough that I don’t even have any jokes about it. Yet.
No, I am absolutely not kidding. Stop looking at me like that. What would I possibly have to gain by lying about such a thing? Jesus, we have little enough of a reputation for journalistic integrity as things are now.
No, fuck you. Go ahead and ask NBC:
NBC is bringing back its conquering “Heroes.”
An iconic series that still commands a rabid fan base, “Heroes” will return to the network in 2015 as an event miniseries with original creator and executive producer Tim Kring at the helm, it was announced today by NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.
NBC has ordered 13 episodes for a new stand-alone story arc entitled “Heroes Reborn,” with all details of storylines and characters being kept under wraps.
What could possibly be your motivation, NBC?
“The enormous impact ‘Heroes’ had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening,” said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke. “Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment. 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. Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”
Okay, let’s get the cynical shit out of the way right up front: NBC is willing to take a chance on bringing Heroes back because it was a big hit in its first season, and if it meant getting a new hit that doesn’t involve Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine voting on unknown singers, they will try anything, from giving Heroes another chance to disinterring Johnny Carson and imploring Satan for favor over his bones. NBC is so deep in the hole that it seems that Community might get a sixth season (and a movie!), and as good a show as that is, it has been about as far from a ratings powerhouse as you can get without being on YouTube. As Chris Rock once said: they need a hit like a crackhead needs a hit.
And as for Kring? Well, he did okay with Touch with Keifer Sutherland for a couple years, but it was cancelled last year and, well, it’s not like anyone was hailing him as a showrunning genius the way they were at the end of that first season of Heroes were they? So if someone is gonna come around and throw money at him to do a show he already has a bible written for? Well, that’s damn near free money… and a chance to rehab the ding his reputation took when the show started falling apart somewhere in the second season.
But now for the optimism: that Heroes really had one hell of a first season, if you remember. It’s easy to forget that, before the writers realized that they had to figure out how to keep Hiro – the most popular character in the first season – on the sidelines, because a dude who can travel through spacetime can solve any problem ever, that first season was pretty tight. My theory is that Kring and crew were able to whip together a pretty solid story with a beginning, middle and end… but most comic stories don’t really have an end. And when it came to building a mythology, it probably wasn’t anyone’s strong suit.
But for Heroes Reborn, we’re talking about a limited arc, which plays into that first season’s strengths: it allows a limited arc where the producers can focus on a single, simple arc. And on a personal note, I want to like this new season. Look, I’m like everyone else: I loved the first season of Heroes, and was ready to let it go by the time that fourth season ended.
But I saw the pilot to Heroes at my first San Diego Comic-Con in 2006, and I remember coming back from that convention feeling like I was in on the ground floor of something really cool. And for a season, I was right… so I am willing to give this a day in court. And look at it this way: considering CBS seems to be trying as hard as it can to cancel Hawaii Five-0 by scheduling on Friday nights, literally opposite everything fun in the world to do, maybe we can get Masi Oka back as Hiro.