In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, ABC Family
In the UK: Trouble, BBC2, Living in that order, at some point this year and next
Since Kyle XY first started, it's gone through something of a mutation. At first a sci-fi mystery series - Who is Kyle and why doesn't he have a belly button? - along the lines of John Doe crossed with Dawson's Creek, it slowly became something of a Roswell - teen angst set against a backdrop of weird sci-fi-ness. Revealed as a cloning experiment designed to unleash the full potential of the human mind and body, Kyle has slowly accumulated more - and occasionally better - superpowers than Peter Petrelli. However, much of the mystery has disappeared, replaced by the thrills of conspiracies and shadowy organisations.
When we left Kyle at the end of last season, his girlfriend had been abducted by one of the aforementioned shadowy organisations; Jessi XX, his slightly demented, equally super-powered friend, was just about to run out of town with clone mum Ali Sheedy; and everyone else was worrying about whether to shag their partners after the prom or not. So far, so complicated.
With the return of the show for its third season, it looks like Heroes is going to have a run for its money this year.
As is now tradition with Kyle XY season-openers, a whole lot of mysteries get explained and a few new ones get started up. We find out where Christian totty Amanda went to after the prom and what the shady Latnoc is up to. Jessi gets a floppy-haired, big-chested, English bad-boy neighbour with a surname for a forename (Cassidy ) to ogle after and strike up painful conversations with. Ali Sheedy goes all mysterious again. MIA is Kyle's clone daddy Adam and minder Tom Foss, but I'm sure they'll turn up again some point down the line. And there's a whole lot of shagging and not shagging agonised about in excruciating Dawson-esque detail. But, of course, not everything is as it seems...
More notably, after spending two seasons building up Kyle's arsenal of special skills, this first episode lets rip with them all - the exciting ones, anyway - to surprisingly good, albeit unbloody effect, in exactly the way you wished Heroes had done with Peter Petrelli but never got round to. It's unclear whether this is just a budget-blowing attempt to draw and keep a bigger audience in its first episode or a new angle the producers are taking for the show, but it's a good and exciting beginning to the season, whatever it is.
It doesn't quite feel like Kyle XY at the moment though. Kyle's social naivety is almost a distant memory and although Kyle's adoptive parents do a great job of being embarassing liberal types with their kids, they've little to do but fret. But, when the season settles down, I'm sure it'll change.
If you've not watched it before, there's enough backstory now that you'll probably be a little confused, but you should be able to join in without too much difficulty, and with Heroes forgetting how to do coherent, character-oriented writing for superheroes, this should act as an entertaing alternative - at least, if you like the Claire at high school strands of Heroes best. Regular viewers might hope for a little more once the season's started, but shouldn't be disappointed.
Here's a very exciting YouTube promo that gives you the backstory and some really good clips from the third season that should show you what I mean. After that is a four-minute clip shown at ComicCon that gives you some of the most exciting, power-laden parts of the first episode.