Pilot Perception: Heroes Reborn

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Heroes Reborn, NBC in the U.S. and Global in Canada, Thursdays at 8/7c

The Pedigree: The show was written and created by Tim Kring (Heroes), who executive produces with James Middleton (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Peter Elkoff (Sons of Anarchy). Matt Shakman (Fargo) directed the premiere.

The Cast & How You Know Them: The large ensemble cast includes Jack Coleman (Heroes), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Robbie Kay (Once Upon a Time), Kiki Sukezane (The Yokai King), Ryan Guzman (Pretty Little Liars), Danika Yarosh (Shameless), Judith Shekoni (Breaking Dawn), Rya Kihlstedt (Masters of Sex), and Gatlin Green (Criminal Minds). Actors from the original show will also show up, including Masi Oka, Greg Grunberg, Sendhil Ramamurthy, and Jimmy Jean-Louis.

The Premise: Heroes Reborn is a reboot of Heroes, the show about ordinary people who discovered they had evolved to possess extraordinary powers. It picks up a year after a terrorist attack that was blamed on the Evos (as in evolved), as vigilantes hunt Evos, Evos try to survive, and conspiracy theorists try to figure out what really happened.

A Taste:


What Works: I thought the premiere did a reasonably good job of providing an access point for new viewers, though there were definitely times when I wasn’t sure if something was supposed to be mysterious or if it was just something I didn’t know from the original. (I watched about a season of Heroes, so I get the basic concept but not all the details.) It made me care about at least some of the characters — especially young Tommy — and the migration and border scenes were resonant given current events, as were the themes surrounding using fear of the other to ensure power. (In case parallels weren’t obvious enough, the conspiracy theorists are called truthers.)

What Doesn’t: For everything theoretically going on here, it felt like not a lot really happened during this two-hour premiere — it definitely dragged. And it felt surprisingly low-budget; the effects were not good here, and things like the scenes in which a girl enters the world of a video game (???) came across as less cool and more “Community stunt episode” than was probably intended. With a show like this, I at least want it to look awesome, and this … didn’t. The exposition and dialogue were pretty heavy-handed; to some extent that’s necessary in reentering a complicated world with which some viewers are unfamiliar, but there’s just no excuse for using “It’s like being a witch in Salem” as an actual line of dialogue. WE GET IT.

Our Favorite Line: “Well that was a superior brand of drywall.”

You Might Like This if you liked the original, sprawling sci-fi stories with lots of different threads, or stories about new, advanced versions of humans living among normal people — at times it reminded me of X-Men.

If You’re Interested: Syfy is airing the first two hours on Sunday, or catch it on demand, on Hulu, or on the NBC or Global sites. Then set your DVR for Thursday at 8/7c.

(Photo courtesy of NBC.)

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