NBC has announced that, four years after the cancellation of “Heroes,” it will be reviving the series for a limited 13-episode run called “Heroes: Reborn.”
The network has not reported whether any of the original cast will be involved with this reboot, just that former showrunner Tim Kring will be directing the new series. In addition, there are plans to introduce new characters through a digital series that will be released before the show’s television premiere.
However, there is considerably less enthusiasm for a “Heroes” reboot, especially since the final season ended with terrible ratings and a steep audience decline from its wildly popular first season. Many people blamed this on the show’s convoluted mythology and ever-expanding ensemble cast, which often caused the series’ many storylines to suffer.
However, the real problem is that Kring was unable to follow through with his original plan to have each season act as a self-contained story, with new characters and actors each season — much like many anthology series today. Given the success of recent television anthologies, if “Heroes: Reborn” does well, perhaps Kring will tell the story as he had intended.
Yet even if the series is able to put together a solid run of episodes, there is no guarantee that the show’s initial popularity will make it a hit — especially considering the almost overwhelming range of comic-inspired shows debuting this season.
In most cases, these new shows are based on big name superhero franchises, like FOX’s “Gotham” and CW’s “Flash.” Without a more famous mythical figure attached to it, “Heroes: Reborn” might have a problem attracting an audience.
However, what has always worked in “Heroes’” favor is its focus on a group of otherwise ordinary people, presenting a much more relatable origin story. Unfortunately, Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has since infringed on this market, with none of its agents possessing superpowers – despite being set in the Marvel Comic Universe. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” has the added benefit of incorporating big name heroes like Captain America or “Thor’s” Lady Sif.
While “Heroes: Reborn” may not attract a domestic audience in the United States, the series was extremely popular overseas, especially in the United Kingdom — this is part of the reason it was renewed for four seasons. The show was very effective in its international marketing, with NBC arranging for Kring and the cast to go on an international tour to promote the first season’s DVD.
Another attraction is the show’s diverse geographical footage, incorporating storylines based in India and Japan just as easily as it presents New York-based stories. “Heroes” attempted to tell a global story, and in many ways was much more successful than “S.H.I.E.L.D.” is currently. This new digital format might help it do so again.
NBC is slowly rebuilding its name this year, and if the network is able to harness the same kind of momentum it did when “Heroes” first premiered, it just might have another hit show on its hands.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, March 6 print edition. Nivea Serrao is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.