There is nostalgia, there is thinking outside the box, and then there is NBC’s hilariously ill-conceived plan to bring “Heroes” back from the dead for a new miniseries to air sometime next year.
The project, called “Heroes Reborn,” will be 13 episodes and tell a standalone story. NBC is keeping all details of the stories and the characters under wrap, but they did announce the most important – and damning – aspect of it: “Heroes” creator Tim Kring will again be running things.
Look, I get that miniseries – or, in this case “event miniseries” – are the hot thing to try right now, and properties with brand names have ever-more value in an era when it’s hard to get viewers to sample anything new. It’s why NBC is already doing a four-hour remake of “Rosemary’s Baby,” and it’s why FOX has Kiefer Sutherland back in the saddle for “24: Live Another Day.”
But people still have fond memories of “24.” It’s ratings dipped towards the end, and maybe the audience got a little tired of the moles, the incompetence and some of the weirder plot devices, but there remains a great deal of affection for Jack Bauer and for Chloe. (About the only exciting thing during the second half of the Super Bowl blowout was the “24” teaser.) That’s a show that needed to go away in order to come back, and maybe it’ll be good or maybe it will play like a relic of an earlier time, but you can at least understand why FOX thinks it’s an idea worth trying.
“Heroes Reborn,” though, is a desperation play, involving a property that the general public tired of very quickly, and that even its most die-hard fans grew to hate long before it was over. People liked the first season, up until it turned out that all these elaborate story movements and weighty pronouncements about the future had been building up to one guy beating up another guy with a parking meter. (And even with that finale, “Heroes” was still named Program of the Year by the Television Critics Association, beating “The Wire” season 4, among other things.) After that, interest began waning as it became more and more clear that Kring’s complete lack of knowledge of superhero stories – which had briefly made the show seem fresh and innovative – was now leading to a muddled, aimless rehash of ideas that guys like Stan Lee had decided were hacky 30 or 40 years earlier, wrapped up in a pretentious coating.
Now, I didn’t stick with “Heroes” all the way to its original conclusion, and have no idea who lived, who died, whether Sylar was ultimately good or evil, and whether Peter Petrelli ever stopped being too stupid to live. But is there anyone, anywhere, who was clamoring for the show to return, and with Kring in charge of it? If NBC maybe wanted to reboot it, keeping the name and the concept of superheroes without codenames or costumes, but starting over with a new writer, maybe. There was definitely an appetite for the kind of show “Heroes” wanted to be. But the actual show that “Heroes” was? It went away and it should have stayed away.
What does everybody else think? Anyone want to mount a stirring defense of Kring and/or the show’s later seasons?