Brave New World plot: After a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, left the city decimated and lives in shambles, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding after being blamed for the catastrophic event. A new world order has them being hunted by those with nefarious motives, such as Luke (Zachary Levi) and Joanne Collins (Judi Shekoni), who are out to avenge a tragic loss of their son. Meanwhile, Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) has taken measures to put his old life behind him and start over, until he comes face to face with Quentin Frady (Henry Zebrowski), a conspiracy theorist out to uncover the truth behind the Odessa tragedy.
Superhero TV is quickly becoming a crowded landscape. Arrow and Flash and now Legend of Tomorrow are going strong on CW. Supergirl is debuting to some pretty good reviews on CBS. Agents of Shield may have finally hit it’s stride on ABC. Daredevil and soon Jessica Jones are blowing everyone’s mind on Netflix. Hell, Powers on the Playstation network wasn’t bad. There is even a report an X Men show may be coming to FOX. That last one may not be worth bothering with because Heroes Reborn is a better X Men show than any X Men show FOX can produce.
That assessment relies on two similarities and two key differences between the Heroes and X Men franchises. The similarities are not uncanny. Both revolve around a team of superpowered heroes with random genetic based powers. Both contain a central conflict based on regular people hating the super powered people. Heroes however does not have to deal with the baggage and expectations that come with a huge franchise like X Men. Heroes also gets to introduce new characters that can surprise audiences that are already way too familiar with the X Men mutants. And full disclosure, I watched the first season of Heroes and gave up after that.
Let’s break Heroes Reborn down based on some of the major characters introduced in the premier.
I was immediately onboard with this character. A soldier who uses his notoriety as a hero to have sex with teachers in schools where he is speaking is an interesting character, super powered or not. He kind of reminds me of the promise of the first half of Will Smith’s Hancock. He is a regular guy with heroic potential who is squandering it. His trajectory in the first couple episodes is pretty predictable. He needs to take up the mantle of the Mexican wrestler/superhero who helps people with powers move around unnoticed. I hope his character is given a lot to do because apart from one other group, I am most interested in his story.
Noah and Quinten
(Jack Coleman and Henry Zebrowski)
Noah is the player linking both the original Heroes and this new Heroes Reborn. At the opening of the series, we are introduced to a world that seems at peace with the relationship between powered and nonpowered people until some kind of attack throws that relationship out the windows replacing it with Evo experimentation and incarceration. As the father of the cheerleader from the “Save the Cheerleader. Save the world.” lines, only he has access to information about what really happened that day and with the help of Quinten, he is going to figure it out. I really enjoyed Jack Coleman’s performance in this episode. His frustration with the state of things felt genuine and making him the seemingly sole connector to the original Heroes was a smart move.
Tommy and Emily
(Robbie Kay and Gatlin Green)
Tommy is as close as I can find to a singular main character. His arc is fun and it feels a lot like the best parts of the early Spiderman films. He has to deal with his powers in relation to bullies and girls and school. Luckily Robbie Kay also feels more like a real highschooler than either of the movie Spidermen. Hopefully Tom Hollands take in Civil War will be similar to Robbie’s character in Heroes Reborn. Tommy is appropriately burdened by his powers but his life isn’t all doom and gloom. His interactions with Emily let the series breathe. Instead of focusing on the epic battle between Evos and everyone else, Heroes Reborn gets to spend some time on lighter subjects like being picked on in high school. He also ends up in a real interesting place and with a power that I find to be one of the more interesting of the series.
Miko and Ren
(Kiki Sukezane and Toru Uchikado)
I don’t have a clue what’s going on here. I don’t love when superpowers interact with technology in a way that seems to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how both work. Since these characters are also the farthest geographically from the other main characters, I hope they will meet the main storyline soon so their storyline doesn’t feel unnecessary.
Luke and Joanne
(Zachary Levi and Judith Zekoni)
These two are the reason the show is working. Their performances are solid. Levi’s doubt plays very well off of Zekoni’s resolve. Their angle is interesting as a xenophobic husband and wife avenging the loss of their son. More important than that however is the fact that they are bumping into other main characters left and right and that is what makes a show like this work. Interconnected stories are fun when the connections happen. Too frequently, shows like Game of Thrones will introduce tons of characters only to have those characters go in a million different directions and we spend an entire hour long show checking in with everyone for minutes at a time because how could the narrative possibly advance if we didn’t know what Brienne and Pod were doing constantly? Having Luke meet Tommy in the ice cream parlor was the perfect move for a series like this to make and luckily it is not the only one. Now armed with the tools they need to finish the Evos off once and for all, this show is headed firmly in the right direction.
Heroes Reborn airs every Thursday night on NBC
Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. He focuses on film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He has an unshakable love for U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. His twitter handle is @NationofNando. Did we mention how handsome he was?