Essentially, this is a ‘next generation’ exploration of the consequences of Claire Bennet throwing herself of that ferris-wheel and blowing the secret world of supernatural humanity. To be honest, the first few episodes are pretty annoying but it delivers eventually.
Luke and Joanne (Levi and the atrocious Judith Shekoni) are on a vendetta against the ‘Evos’, the story of which you can feel being deliberately withheld for a big reveal in later episodes. Luke doesn’t do much, looks pained a lot, but it’s Zachary Levi so you know he’s important. Indeed, he is, but it takes hours and hours to care, then find out why. Joanna is a sadist, not rich material for empathy, but Shekoni ruins every scene regardless of the script, even though it doesn’t help her. It’s almost like because she’s not ‘important’ there wasn’t as much effort invested in her. Minor characters shouldn’t be so one-dimensional.
Tommy Clark (played by Robbie Kay) has a tough job with a storyline which really stretches his range. Fortunately, he pulls it off and a slow start for him bears the most fruit out of all the new characters. His journey is great storyboarding. Noah Bennett (Coleman) provides the solid unifying structure throughout and forms the most of the bridges between old and new ideas and heroes.
There are a number of more tenuous faces whose contribution to the whole seems impossible and ridiculous. However, the series does culminate in a cohesive finale which sees the main players contribute to a distinct conclusion – something that didn’t seem likely for a long time. The gradual introduction of familiar figures from (sometimes quite literally) the past also makes it feel like a more substantial addition to the ‘canon’. The writers make some serious choices which might surprise you in terms of the ‘old guard’.
It is only after you have finished the finale that you realise they have copied the formula of that season of the original, this time with the additional gravitas of people who have had another three seasons to grow. With that in mind, knowing it’s still not hit those heights is disappointing, but clearly the correct direction to have attempted. Dare we say it’s a little like the relationship between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens? You use a universe and (loosely) a familiar story to introduce new characters and ideas into a world fans loved in the past in order to reboot a franchise. The reason Star Wars seemed to do so well was the balance they struck between being familiar and creating something new. The Heroes team just do an average job. It could have been much worse.
Some innovations and new characters render it interesting, if not ground-breaking and it leans heavily on older characters from the original show. However, the new characters do bed in and build to an engaging crescendo, much like season one of Heroes. Annoyingly, over the 13-episode character arc, as the new ones become more able to hold our attention on their own, the more important the old characters become, rendering the initial investment in the bizarre trajectory of the opening episodes a bit pointless. In the end, it’s actually fans of the old show and those more complex characters that will get the most out of this sequel – if they are still with the makers after three fairly poor seasons following the highly arresting debut season, a standard to which they will always be judged by.
Review by George Meixner