In the US: Mondays, 9pm, NBC
In the UK: Mondays, 9pm, BBC2. Starts October 1st
Heroes was the show everyone loved during its first season. The one real breakout hit of that year's new entries, it was an ensemble Unbreakable for the small screen: ordinary people suddenly find they have superpowers and have to work out what to do with them.
Then came its second season and then it wasn't quite as loved as it was before. Apart from its crimes against Ireland and the disappointingly unsuper finale to the first season, the second season just plodded along like it was Lost or something. Bah. Where were the superfights and the superpowers? Why did we have to deal with all these rubbish new heroes when the old ones didn't have enough screen time as it was?
Fortunately, along came the writers' strike in the US and curtailed the second season, forcing it to speed up and giving the writers more time to think of a decent third season.
So now, it's back, finally, after a hell of a wait. The writers have regrouped. Have they managed to fix their mistakes and return Heroes to the glory of the first season?
And more importantly, since it's the only really important question in the whole of this introduction and perhaps even the world, is there any point to life any more or is Ali Larter definitely still in the cast list?
I'm going to try to avoid spoilers at this stage, but given there are so many twists, turns and revelations in these first two episodes, even if I did give away about 20 plot points, there'd still be another 980 to delight you with.
Suffice it to say that rather than plodding Heroes, we've been served up with zippy Heroes, sometimes quite literally. Yes, more of what you want, how you want it, and in just the right doses. Insanely great cliffhangers, more scary villains rather than tedious new heroes, fun bits with Hiro and Ando on a quest, a literally Earth-shattering future to prevent, time travel: it's all there. You even get to see what Sylar does with his brains.
But there's also been a bit of nimble footwork, here and there, just to stir things up. Our heroes are getting new powers, swapping powers, swapping other things: nothing is quite what it seems to be, so there's going to be fun learning, too.
There are the usual niggles. Tim Kring still writes incredibly hokey dialogue. Plot loopholes are there aplenty. A lot of the time, you'll be thinking, "Hang on. But if he can do that, why doesn't he just do this?", inserting a far more logical course of action for 'this'. Indeed, I guarantee you that by the end of the first episode, you'll have thought, "Hang on. Those slats are made of wood!", for example.
Also slightly disappointing is the fact that just about everyone on the show turns out to be immortal. Really, no one can die on this show. It's incredible. Okay, some can, thankfully in gruesome ways, but no one important or a fan favourite.
So for my one proper spoiler that isn't actually, I'll just reveal to you that yes, Ali Larter* is back, life does have a meaning still, and better still, she's not Niki any more and she seems to have learned how to act. See? Even that bit of the show's better. I will indeed carry on watching.
Previous viewers of Heroes should be relieved to know that it's back on form and full of action - at last. New viewers might find things a little hard going, but since we're in reboot territory and there are enough cheesy lines of "Ah ha, I think you'll find that that's a , which as I said back in episode 16 to your mother who is also my best friend except for when she " style dialogue to explain everything to the newbie, you should be in the swing of things and ready to buy DVD box sets by the end of the second episode.
Roll on part three and more Ali, I say.
Here's a more than slightly spoilery promo.
* It's like Michelangelo went to Mount Hotness, brought back a slab of hot, chiselled away at it for days and there inside, fully formed, was Ali Larter. She's like the eighth wonder of the world.
- September 25, 2008: Heroes musings
Some random thoughts about Heroes
- September 25, 2008: Just how are the current US shows being advertised?
The various billboards and ad campaigns in the US for the latest TV shows
- October 3, 2008: Review: Dirty Sexy Money 2x1
A review of the first episode of the second season of the ABC show Dirty Sexy Money
- February 3, 2009: Review: Heroes 3x14 (aka Volume 4x1)
A review of the first episode of the fourth volume of Heroes, A Clear and Present Danger