By Arturo R. García
Just as we’re getting used to having a show about zombies around again, NBC went one step further and dug up a show that is a zombie.
Yes, Heroes is apparently returning from the grave, with original showrunner Tim Kring in tow, sometime next year. As sensible longtime readers might have bleached out of their brain, the series’ first iteration ended, mercifully, with a pre-Nashville Claire-Bear outing the metahuman population to the world after Team Benetrelli saved the world from a group of angry carnival workers. Which gives just a little more heft to this bit of spin from NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke:
Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.
Sure, on one level that can be interpreted as a polite way for Salke to say, “PLEEEEEEEASE HAYDEN COME BACK,” but if the show really is a continuation and not just a “reimagining,” it puts Heroes in a very interesting position.
The genre television renaissance it helped define is mostly floundering; sure, Arrow gets its fair share of good reviews, but Agents of SHIELD has struggled to gain its footing and the British cult favorite Misfits has concluded. With Smallville long gone, Supernatural nearing the end of its run, Doctor Who surviving on a spread-out schedule and the CW’s Gotham and Flash projects looking unsteady, Heroes can reasonably expect to attract fans hoping for a return to its Series One risk-taking prime.
But for Reborn to truly thrive will take not just new blood, but picking the right (affordable) old faces to bring back. And more than anything, it is going to require Kring to learn from some of his costliest mistakes in the first go-round.
For starters, this type of casting decline cannot be allowed to happen again:
Secondly, the second Kring comes even close to saying something like this:
“Heroes” is, at its heart, a family drama that deals with two main families in particular, the Bennet family and the Petrelli family.
He should be tossed out on his ear. To borrow the title of the first series finale, it really is a brave new world out there, one with more people ready to embrace the kind of super-diverse cast of characters he assembled for Season One. (It would also help if he did not work with staffers who seemingly think nothing of insulting fans online.)
And while there’s probably a place for some members of the families — Noah would seem to be most needed in a post-outing scenario — here’s a few faces we also hope make it back for the revival.
What better place to start than by correcting one of the first series’ biggest errors — never producing a payoff for the glimpses of the badass, determined Hiro from the dark future? With metas revealed to the world, it’s easy to envision that future threatening to become a reality more than ever, so there’s no better time (no pun intended) for Hiro to become the hero we’ve known he can be, and for Masi Oka to become a built-in draw for returning fans.
As an added wrinkle, you can have him mentor a truly new Hero — let’s say, the daughter of Ando and his sister Kimiko, allowing Hiro to embrace another tenet of super-mythology.
On the bright side, he didn’t get killed off, and in the under-utilized Heroes: Evolution universe, Rebel became the codename for Micah and a group of young operatives committed to protecting superhumans. And in a post-Snowden world, having a hero with the ability to literally talk to technology would make Kring look ahead of his time. So Noah Gray-Cabey, one would think, would have to be on the short list of candidates for the new show.
HAHAHAHAHAHA, just kidding. After what happened to him toward the end of the series, we wouldn’t blame Zachary Quinto if he wanted to stay on track for those Star Trek checks.
Micah’s second cousin Monica Dawson was a brief flash of goodness amid the increasingly turgid Season Two. Worst of all, she was written off with almost no fanfare, apparently left to die inside a burning building.
But, much like Micah, Monica survived in the Heroes comics universe, which makes Dana Davis in play, whether or not her character is attacked to the Rebel team. Besides, who’s to say the Dawson/Sanders family can’t become as strong as the Benetrellis in this new order?
Dr. Mohinder Suresh
Outside of Noah, it’s possible there’s still no one on Earth as knowledgeable about the metahuman population as Mohinder. More importantly, he can be placed nearly anywhere on the proverbial chessboard. He can just as easily fit into the role of a Henry McCoy-like scientific activist as he can into that of a turncoat.
Bringing Mohinder back also has the potential to introduce a new woman of color to the cast in Mira Shenoy, (Kavi Ladnier) another character from the comics universe who became his colleague and his lover.
More women of color would be great to see on Reborn, what with the original series becoming nearly replete with white blondes. (It would also help if Kring and his new writers could avoid the temptation to place these characters under threat of rape as a tension-lifting crutch). And there’s never been a better time to highlight competent LGBT Heroes or villains. Plural.
If Claire’s gesture at the end of the original series did nothing else, it represented the Heroesverse establishing a new “normal.” For Reborn to succeed, Kring needs to channel some of that spirit. Because if he and NBC try to sell this show like it was 2006 all over again, the ratings will likely get so bad so quickly not even the cheerleader will be able to save it. Again.