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'Heroes Reborn': Real Time Review

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | TV | September 25, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | TV | September 25, 2015 |

Guys! Guys! Heroes Reborn is awesome!

Sigh. No, I’m just trying to get you to watch it, to share the pain of this review. Flip it on and follow along! We’ll know if you don’t. Paragraph 71a of the Disqus user agreement you didn’t read gave us authorization to watch you through your webcams.

00:00: Video loads in Hulu. That’s strange. Instead of saying 42 or so minutes remaining, it’s saying an hour and 29 minutes. Oh god, what have I committed to?

We’re switching to count down mode, I can’t handle counting up.

01:28:58: I hate CGI butterflies. Everyone hates CGI butterflies. Besides, they just lay eggs that turn into cutworms and eat my CGI tomato plants.

01:28:35: Ha! They couldn’t even get Hayden Pantene-pro-v to do Claire’s voicemail message.

01:27:55: HRG is walking through the saddest festival thing ever. It’s like it’s going for a Burning Man vibe, but it’s all corporate and concrete and so sad. Especially the lanyards. No one has ever had fun wearing a lanyard.

01:27:25: Evos? Seriously? Every time they say it, I think Rachel Ray is trying to tell me how to make shitty food.

01:26:53: BOOM! Is everyone dead? Is this disaster over? Zoom in on HRG’s cracked horn-rimmed glasses … yeah I’m sure they killed the only actor who was willing to actually return to this shit show in the opening scene.

01:26:11: So then we get the hushed voiceovers of talking heads saying stupid things while HRG composes himself. And one of them is Obama. Because apparently when Nathan ran for president and got killed and replaced by Sylar in 2008, Obama was his vice president and took over after the initial series?

01:25:33: I’m rooting for Tightie Whities Man to be the hero we both need and deserve.

01:24:00: Oh good, someone else with the superpower of flight. Such original, such story potential.

01:23:45: Apparently Canada has become a militarized anti-Evo dystopia. I want to go there.

01:23:19: Peter Petrelli 2.0 steps out of a car and carefully studies a piece of paper with the word “cockroach” written on it. The fact he needed to write that down says a lot about the number of functioning brain cells the character must have.

01:22:10: We’re treated to news footage explaining what happened in the explosion even though a year has passed and there’s no reason anyone in-world would need that news dump. Of course our intrepid heroes are watching said news cast and turn it off immediately after it helpfully completely plagiarizes X-Men even more than the original show did.

01:22:20: Ha! They blamed Mohinder for it. That’s attributing vastly more competence than that character ever displayed doing anything except looking dreamy.

01:19:30: Oh, Peter 2.0 is Zachary Levi. He’s the protagonist because all the unrecognizable actors ranting at each other instantly stop and give him their full attention when he starts into a monologue that is supposed to make us care about his pain.

01:19:00: Update: I still don’t care about his pain.

01:18:30: Hey! Chuck just murdered an entire room of innocent civilians in cold blood! Good on him. I’m sure this will be completely forgotten when he inevitably has a change of heart half way through the series. Luckily the one who got away dropped a single business card on the ground, as you are wont to do when running for your life and deeply incompetent.

01:16:00: HRG is now a car salesman. Sure, why the fuck not?

01:15:30: Is there a big market for veterans going around giving random speeches about being a hero at packed elementary school gyms? And is it such a stressful gig that he needs to get drunk during said speech?

01:15:00: Oh the weird kid is getting bullied at high school by a kid in a letter jacket. I think they’re just playing cliche mad-libs at this point.

01:10:22: Ah, HRG is getting married to a poor clone of Jessica Chastain. Good for him. I’m sure that will totally work out well and she totally won’t end up in a fridge.

01:09:51: Now we’re in Japan, where private people in hiding leave their front doors unlocked while they sit listening to earthshaking speakers to absolutely ensure that they won’t hear someone come in.

01:09:22: Oh we’re going to have a secret messages in video games subplot? I’ll go get the oven preheated for sticking my head in it.

01:05:01: If we were playing a drinking game “that was just the beginning” would count for like three shots.

01:03:44: “I HAVE MOHINDER’S MANUSCRIPT”. Well shit, if only there were someplace you could make it public instead of having it printed out in your bag in the rain.

01:01:00: Oh for Christ’s sake. They’re really going to have “truthers” and then have them end up being right? It’s too bad there’s not a vaccine for stupid, but even if there were it would probably give you autism.

01:00:02: So HRG flips through his old super spy stuff and finds a business card he hadn’t seen before despite it being a year old, that tells him exactly where to go next. I think the real hero of this show is misplaced business cards, since they’re driving almost all of the plot development.

00:57:33: Sure, let’s have a superhero dressed as a Spanish wrestler patrolling the streets of East LA. I’d say it seems like they’re not even trying, but I’m kind of afraid they really are trying as hard as they can.

00:55:40: YARN WALL! Of course there’s a yarn wall. In the oil change pit at a car repair shop. Because no one would ever find it there.

00:55:02: Apparently El Cunado’s real super power was not going to the hospital for a gunshot and then surviving exactly long enough to give a last monologue six hours later when the appropriate other character showed up.

00:54:40: Chuck’s second scene and now he’s already developing morals. Sack it up and kill the kid, asshole. Television needs real villains, not emo-whiners. Oh god, he really is Peter 2.0.

00:53:27: “You’ve really moved around a lot”. Kid’s been on the run from people trying to murder him and he honestly fills out the job application at the ice cream shop? I’m pretty sure that in this universe the mutant gene is actually a form of mental retardation.


00:52:10: I think the kid teleported the bad guys away. Maybe. Look, that was the worst shot fifteen seconds of special effects I’ve ever seen, not because they looked fake, but because I have no idea what was supposed to have happened. Much like the life choices that brought me to writing this.

00:51:39: Aw, of course manic pixie ice cream girl doesn’t mind Evos. Because that’s the universe’s litmus card of whether you’re a bad guy or not.

00:51:00: “I don’t know where any of it goes!” Oh, so now we’re cut and pasting Heinlein. Look, if you’re going to do that, at least give us power armor.

00:50:11: So we get this supposedly dramatic scene of “why didn’t El Cunado save my dad? There are no real heroes! And now I will awkwardly hint that I have powers because I’m badly written!” and the whole time I’m just annoyed that they have laundry hung on a line behind them, and there are reds and whites mixed, which means that the set-designers don’t even know how laundry works.

00:46:11: Stereotypically mysterious Japanese girl draws her father’s sword and is now in a badly rendered video game from 1998. I am a singularity of hatred right now.

00:44:45: The Haitian gives HRG back his horn-rimmed glasses and as he puts them on there are little musical effects. We were right all those years ago, HRG’s superpower was always the glasses.

00:44:01: “You ordered me to wipe your memory and then kill you if you ever came back. And now I shall die and my last words will be ‘it is coming’”. This is like a master’s course on shitty writing.

00:43:03: Oh good, now Mohinder’s giving a solemn philosophical voice over that not even Matthew McConaughey could make sound deep.

00:40:55: Of course Weird Boy is still going to the same school. Well, you know, people with guns showed up to kill me but I made them disappear, and even though I don’t know where, I’m confident that they didn’t have their cell phones anymore wherever they went, so I can keep hitting on manic pixie ice cream girl.

00:39:39: Props where they’re due: the fact that everything he transports gets sent to the sealed room where they experimented on him, is pretty clever.

00:37:37: Yeah, it’s not creepy at all to track down a girl whose info you find in a video game and repeatedly show up at her apartment for no reason at all, even after she keeps yelling at you to go away. Of course, he’s found the door unlocked all three times he’s shown up, and everytime she yells at him to leave she leaves the door open and walks back into her apartment. So, you know, mixed signals I guess?

00:36:30: Hey, I’ll just wander all the way in, take off my shoes, and sit down to play with her computer. Serial Killer Chuck has a better sense of boundaries than this weirdo.

00:34:53: I’m not going to talk about this stupid video game subplot, because then I can pretend it doesn’t exist.

00:20:00: There hasn’t even been anything to be a smartass about in fifteen minutes. I’m just excited there’s only twenty minutes left.

00:18:45: Hey, let’s go dig into the basement of a building in the middle of a destroyed wasteland, and then search through file boxes! It’s amazing that in this universe there are no such thing as computer files.

00:18:11: Literally the very first piece of paper in the first box is about Claire. I guess they don’t need computers since they have perfected random-access memory fileboxes.

00:18:00: How can there be a box with a piece of paper in it dated June 13th: People missing from the Odessa Conference, when the building blew up on June 13th at the Odessa Conference. Did they send some poor bastard down after the conference to file the paperwork in the secret file room underneath the destroyed building?

00:14:44: Chuck’s wife is so incredibly aggravating that it’s kind of to be expected that he turned to mass murder.

00:14:00: So asshole wife wastes all her ammo shooting at random walls, and it turns out that one of the walls was actually a two-way mirror for observation that can only be noticed one the lights are out. Too bad a bullet didn’t hit it. She is so incompetent that she literally can’t hit a wall with a gun.

00:13:15: Ok, every time they flip to Los Angeles, they flash one of the cards saying “East Los Angeles”. Except that East Los Angeles isn’t actually a separate city from Los Angeles. And no other scene in this entire show takes place in LA. Which means that repeated placard basically exists to make sure you absolutely understand that this is in the bad part of LA.

00:12:30: Black hoodie, “give me a name” or he’ll hurt you worse … goddamnit Kring stop trying to copy Daredevil.

00:12:14: “Izzy Rose Bar, NYC”. And then we get the oddly specific placards. Because it’s very important to establish exactly what fictional bar this single scene will take place in. Guys, the placards are the most thought-provoking part of this train wreck.

00:11:01: Ha! Now New El Cunado is in “Los Angeles, CA”. He’s going up town, girl!

00:08:22: Naturally the double mirror leads to a empty hallway instead of an observation room, because that’s just good design.

00:07:22: I don’t know where we are or how we got here, but there’s a room full of people not threatening me, so I’m just going to go ahead and shoot them all. Sounds legit.

00:05:12: “We figured out a way to monetize the Evos.” Wow, you figured out how someone with superpowers could make money? Fucking brain trust, right here.

00:04:38: “This tunnel leads to the harbor.” It’s only natural that a repair shop’s oil change pits lead to the ocean, right? Of course, they’re in East LA, which is 30 miles from the ocean, so that’s going to be quite a walk. Have the people who wrote this show even been to Los Angeles?

00:04:12: Wait, random fugitive lady’s superpower is to turn anything into gold? Now that’s monetization.

00:03:19: Evil Chuck has executed like 30 people so far in this show, but he only shoots the annoying nerd in the arm because he’s plot relevant just so damned likeable.

00:00:55: It’s kind of adorable that they think that stupid video game subplot is a good way to cliffhang a “to be continued.”

I’m going to go put my head in the oven.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.