September 24, 2015 saw the pilot episode for Tim Kring‘s Heroes Reborn air on NBC and for the first time since the first season aired back in 2006 (“Save the cheerleader save the world.”) The verse of Heroes is exciting again. There are a few familiar faces in this new version of the old series. Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) is back, it was his daughter Claire (Hayden Panettiere) who was the cheerleader in question in the first iteration of Kring’s show.
Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is also back, at least as an almost background presence whose voice is heard providing narrative and sage sounding philosophy. Suresh is also blamed for the June 13 Odessa incident. Back too is the Haitian Rene, still played with sublime otherworldliness by Jimmy Jean-Louis, and it looks like Matt Parkman may turn up as well. There also seems to be references, in the IMDb credits at least, that this reviewer’s personal favorite Hiro (Masi Oka) will be back for a few episodes.
Some things have changed in this small screen version of X-Men. The painter is gone, although there did appear to be a comic book reference in young Tommy Clarke’s (played by Brit actor Robbie Kay) book bag/backpack. There appears to be a new Japanese Evo in the form of Miko Otomo (played by (Kiki Sukezane) and her “normal sidekick” Ren Shimosawa (portrayed by newcomer Toru Uchikado) who are this series’ replacements for Hiro and his buddy Ando.
In what may be the coolest plot device ever, Miko is a character whose father’s hidden samurai sword transports her into a video game world. The game is called “Evernow” and the most famous player in the world; Ren, meets Miko although their meeting does not go overly well. As he leaves Ren sees a door that reminds him of the game.
His second meeting with Miko goes slightly better and he tells the girl that she looks like the hero in the game, Katana Girl. Shimosawa drops off a manga which tells about Katana Girl and her quest to rescue her father in Evernow. The book also leads Miko the hidden sword in her father’s office and when she unsheathes the weapon she becomes Katana Girl in Evernow.
This is but one thread and one character followed throughout the pilot. Like the original series, the show follows several “Evo’s” and their personal journeys as well as how they all interact. Bennett’s storyline is his being drug back into the world of Primatech and their replacement Renautas by Molly’s brother and the incident at Odessa. Noah believes initially that Claire died at Texas explosion but after finding the old facility learns that may not be true.
Young Tommy (his latest name) almost dies twice, his “power” is making things transport. We follow his attempt to fit in and the boy meeting what will apparently become his “love interest” Emily (Gatlin Green). There is another storyline dealing with El Vengador; an Evo vigilante who ends up being murdered and his brother, Afghani war hero Carlos (played by Ryan Guzman) steps in to take over.
There are two assassins who are married and vengefully killing every Evo that they can track down since their son Dennis died at the Odessa Evo tragedy. A mystery man with a briefcase full of pennies, played with brilliant creepiness by Pruitt Taylor Vince) and similar to the first season’s Skyler problem, this version of the show has a new problem.
As a sidenote; another difference is that Skyler will not be back, at least not in the guise of Zachary Quinto who has now moved on to playing Spock. The common thread of threat this time is an event rather than an individual. Something big is about to happen and it is not going to be good.
The presence of Bennett helps to bridge the old series with the new and, somewhat oddly, the Japanese storyline is more interesting than the other characters’ arcs. Although this is understandable, the “Hiro Nakamura” storyline was the most interesting of season one and opened events in season two.
Interest in the original series had waned considerably when it ended in 2010 and now NBC and Tim Kring have made the concept exciting again. The pilot, Brave New World/Odessa which ran for 89 minutes never flagged in its delivery and there was only one blaring faux pas with a cocked pistol scene, shades of Longmire, to jar the proceeds.
Heroes Reborn is more than a trip down memory lane with Tim Kring’s original series, it is a return to an exciting season with more intrigue, mystery and of course those X-Men sort of small screen heroes and villains. The show airs Thursdays on NBC, miss this and miss out on some awesome television.