NBC reboots Heroes – World says “What?!”

Heroes will be back on NBC in 2015 as a 13 episode mini-series titled Heroes: Reborn with creator Tim Kring retaining creative control. This is following the return of FOX’s counter terrorism drama 24 later this year in a similar format.

24 is more understandable; it ended after 8 seasons and still had decent enough ratings, it was just felt that creatively they had done all they could. Heroes probably isn’t that fondly remembered after slowly burning out after a single season of potential.

In 2006 it was a pretty big deal having a superhero show on a big network. In the UK the BBC bought the rights in an echo of the golden age of US sci-fi imports when you could sit down at 6pm and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation or Quantum Leap. Hell, people even tuned into to Sliders. In its early days Heroes was hailed as the next big thing in genre TV.

There had always been one show in every era for fans to gravitate towards, be it The X-Files or Buffy: The Vampire Slayer but the early 21st century proved to be a barren televisual landscape for fantasy fans. For a few brief months Heroes seemed like it would be the torch bearer. Our faith was misplaced.

The first season is undoubtedly the best but it’s only good in its potential. You can see the elements of what might have been as people around the world discover their super-powers. It could have been like X-Men year zero as people come together to save the world but it descended into a nonsensical mess with characters and plot threads appearing and disappearing with absolutely no sense of coherence.

Now it’s coming back and you have to wonder who it’s for. Sure, it’s a somewhat recognisable brand but does anyone care what’s happening with those characters? Who even knows where they left off at the end. If it doesn’t feature any of the originals then why bother making it Heroes at all? If NBC wants a new super power show then there’s a better one to be made than Tim Kring’s show ever managed to be.

In fact around the same time on the USA Network The 4400 had far more interesting characters, a coherent procedural format and a better realised mythology.  It ended after four seasons on a cliffhanger. I think the world would rather see more of that.