Experience the epic 13-episode event series, Heroes Reborn, from Tim Kring, the creator of the global phenomenon, Heroes. Kring creates a wildly imaginative and thrilling new volume in the Heroes universe featuring a host of new characters with startling powers.
After a massive terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, evolved humans are blamed for the tragic event, forcing them into hiding or on the run from those seeking retribution. The conflict between humans and evolved humans - dubbed "Evos" - escalates into all out civil warfare. Timely, thought-provoking, and startling inventive, Heroes Reborn recaptures the magic of the original series and lays the foundation for the next volume in the Heroes mythology.
I'm guessing I'm going to be getting a lot of negative feedback on this review. Because I've come not to bury 'Heroes: Reborn', but to praise it. I didn't watch this 13-episode "event series" reboot on NBC when it aired, primarily because I was one of those fans who gave up on the original series when it more or less went off the rails in its final couple of seasons (I gave up at the mid-way point of Season 3 and still have not seen a single episode of Season 4). I'd heard so much negativity about 'Heroes: Reborn' that I thought it would be a chore to review this Blu-ray release. And maybe some of my reaction is due to the fact that I expected it to be bad, but I can honestly say I enjoyed 'Heroes: Reborn' quite a bit, and think it returns to both the fun and drama that got many of us interested in this series to begin with.
For those of you who (like me) didn't see the end of Season 4, the events of 'Heroes: Reborn' are a direct result of Claire Bennet's (who does not appear in this reboot, although her character does play a big part in what transpires) actions, as the original series ended with her jumping off a Ferris wheel and showing to the world her regenerating abilities. This new series picks up several years down the road, with a big gathering of Evos (as those with special powers have now been dubbed) arriving at a summit that is intended to foster a better relationship between them and ordinary human beings. Noah Bennet (aka 'HRG' for the horn-rimmed glasses he dons, and played by Jack Coleman) is in attendance hoping to patch things up with his daughter, but an explosion rocks the building, killing thousands – although Noah manages to survive. One of the driving plot devices of 'Heroes: Reborn' involves Noah not only trying to find out what happened at the summit, but find out what happened to Claire, who died in a hospital room the same day. Unfortunately, for reasons he can't figure out, Noah has had his memory wiped of that day's events...and he spends much of the first half of this new season trying to figure out why.
As was the case when 'Heroes' first came on the air, this reboot has a lot of different stories in different parts of the world going on at once – and it's only later in the run that we begin to find out how all these different tales merge together. For newcomers (or those, like myself, who only watched some but not all of the original show), things can be a little confusing early on, as I was unsure just how much of what was being said tied back to Season 4 of the series and how much was brand-new info, but once things get rolling, it's hard not to find something appealing in all of the various storylines being presented. There's teenager Tommy (Robbie Kay), who has the ability to teleport people by touch to anywhere that he thinks of. There's Carlos Gutierrez (Ryan Guzman), who doesn't have any powers of his own, but becomes a real-life superhero (including costume) in the streets of East L.A. There's Luke Collins (Zachary Levi), whose son was killed at the summit and who now roams the countryside eliminating Evos with the help of his wife, Joanne (Judith Shekoni). There's Malina, who has the ability to control the elements. And over in Japan, there's young Miko (Kiki Sukezane), who is able to actually enter into a video game with a sword (that loyal fans may find familiar) in an attempt to free her father, who is trapped inside the digital world. Of course, all these characters have secrets on top of their secrets (which I wouldn't dream of revealing here), which provides for a lot of "ah-ha!" and "wow!" moments as the story unfolds.
In case you're wondering if any other regulars from the original series pop up along the way, other than the already-mentioned HRG, rest assured that they do – and most of them are far more than just cameos – they're pivotal roles in what transpires. Creator Tim Kring does something very smart here...he spends the first half of the season developing his new characters, then he uses the second half to bring back many of our favorites from the original series and get them involed in the mix. Of course, the argument can also be made that the fact that Kring didn't bring back the other players much earlier probably hurt 'Heroes: Reborn' in the ratings (and, indeed, the show is not being brought back for another season – at least that was the official word from NBC at the time of this review), but story-wise it works...because by the time the characters/actors do show up to reprise their roles, each appearance is a nice surprise.
As for Jack Coleman, I love the fact that he plays a major role in 'Heroes: Reborn'. He was always my favorite character from the original (yes, even in those early days when he essentially played the bad guy), and he's nothing short of the leading man here – essentially being the viewers' guide to this new 'Heroes' world. There's also a point in the show where he goes back in time (you might be able to guess what famous character assists him on that trip) to try to stop the summit explosion and the death of his daughter that is simply wonderful and probably my favorite couple of episodes of the 13 we get. I was pretty happy that both HRG the character and Jack Coleman the actor were given so much to do this time around.
While 'Heroes: Reborn' is not without its share of problems (for one, it's a little too F/X-heavy, and often those effects are rather cheesy looking...even for a TV series), I must confess to liking it quite a bit. When 'Heroes' first hit our TV screens, much of its popularity had to do with the fact that there weren't many – if any – other superhero-themed shows on the air. Now, the opposite is true, yet 'Heroes: Reborn' still felt fresh and exciting to me. At the very least, it managed to get the bad taste out of my mouth that the old series left me with. If we never see these characters again, I feel that this reboot gave them a decent – if not quite perfect – send-off. If you skipped this show because of equally bad memories about the original, I encourage you to give this a look.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Heroes Reborn' comes to life on Blu-ray inside a standard keepcase, which houses the first two 50GB discs on a plastic hub, while the third disc is on the inside right of the case. A single insert contains a code for an UltraViolet copy of the 13-episode season. The flip side of the keepcase's slick (seen from inside the box) contains a short synopsis of each episode, along with the disc they appear on and the bonus materials on that disc. A slipcover matching the artwork of the keepcase slides overtop.
Upon loading each disc, viewers will be posed with the odd question of whether they want "U.S.A. & Canada" or "English." This is on all three discs, but the only difference I could find between the two options is that there are slightly different front-loaded trailers on Disc 1. The U.S./Canada option gives viewers trailers for 'Shades of Blue', The Expanse, Grimm, Mr. Robot, and 'Kubo and the Two Strings'. The English option gives viewers only the trailers for Grimm and Mr. Robot.
The Blu-rays in this release are region-free.
'Heroes Reborn' was shot on the Arri Alexa and appears on Blu-ray in its original television aspect ratio of 1.78:1. For the most part, the images here look pretty good, and I particularly enjoyed the production design of the series, which makes use of a lot of bright and comic-book-like colors, which really pop in HD.
However, as seems to be the case with a lot of recent Universal TV series released to home video (see my recent review of the first season of 12 Monkeys), the image here has some macroblocking issues. It's not as bad as what I saw in '12 Monkeys', but it's evident, primarily in the backgrounds and on characters wearing more solid colors. Additionally, noise creeps into some of the darker scenes of the series, but it's no more obtrusive than I've seen in a lot of other releases shot on the Alexa. There's some minor aliasing from time to time as well, but nothing too major or too distracting.
As part of 'Heroes Reborn's plot, there are some video game sequences that pop up throughout a handful of episodes. Here, some mild banding rears its head – but again, this is an issue I've seen with animated releases elsewhere, so it's nothing new and more a result of the way the animation was put together than an actual issue with this transfer.
Most of the above is only going to be a distraction to those with bigger screens or projection set-ups. It's a shame though that quality control over at Universal seems to be different for their TV releases than their theatrical ones, as most of their theatrical releases on Blu-ray don't seem to suffer the problems listed above, but their television releases do.
Given the action-packed and heavy on special effects tone of the series, one might expect the English DTS-HD Master Audio track for each one of these episodes (the only audio option available by the way) to be immersive and fun – but it's actually rather subdued. As expected, dialogue is pretty much exclusively front and center, but there's not a whole lot going on with the surrounds, and any sense of immersiveness is pretty much non-existent. The rears are primarily used to enhance the soundtrack and to provide a few ambient noises now and again. There's very little use of the surrounds for directionality, and even when things like large explosions happen on screen, they have neither the 'oomph' or use of LFE most listeners/viewers would expect.
With the above in mind, there's nothing necessarily technically wrong with the track...it's pretty much glitch free and clear enough, it's just dialed back a bit – which I confess is somewhat of a surprise as I find a lot of Universal's theatrical releases on Blu-ray over-emphasize action sounds (again, as I mentioned in my video text above – there seems to be a noticeable A/V difference between Universal's movie and television releases). So while the audio doesn't 'wow' in any way, it's still a pleasant enough listen.
Subtitles are available for each episode in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
I'm probably in the minority here, but I liked 'Heroes Reborn' quite a bit. As someone who bailed on the prior series, I thought this reboot did a fine job of both introducing us to new characters while continuing some of the storylines and characters from the original. It's sometimes hard to follow and (for me, at least) takes a few episodes to be able to keep track of all the various characters and their motivations, but I thought this return to creator Tim Kring's world of extraordinary humans was worth it. Recommended.