In recent days, a seemingly random group of individuals has emerged with what can only be described as "special" abilities.
Although unaware of it now, these individuals will not only save the world, but change it forever. This transformation from ordinary to extraordinary will not occur overnight. Every story has a beginning.
Volume One of their epic tale begins here...
The First Season (Volume One)
The television drama Heroes was one of NBC's most popular shows from their 2006 fall lineup. The series comes from Tim Kring (creator of Crossing Jordan) and features an epic tale about a group of individuals (heroes) who find they have special abilities (super powers). They each play a role in the big picture, which is saving the world. The show focuses on two parts: the individual characters coming to terms with their newfound powers as heroes and heroines and their coming together as a group to save the world. As an overall series, Heroes is a compelling and engaging show with a myriad of likeable and interesting characters and intricate storylines that pull you in, leaving you hanging on the edge of your seat wanting to know what happens next.
When Heroes first aired on television, I (like millions others across the country) tuned in to watch. From all of the hype and recent Hollywood films about super heroes such as Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins, I was really excited to see a serial drama about heroes. After watching the pilot episode "Genesis", I felt cheated. The pacing did not feel right. My first thought was there is just so much to cover and too little time. As I continued to watch the series, I became less and less interested to the point I stopped watching. At this point, I felt I was done with Heroes.
A couple weeks before the show returned from hiatus, I decided to give it another chance. Thanks to NBC's Rewind*, I was able to watch the majority of the series episode after episode and (almost) uninterrupted. I had a different experience with this second viewing. In fact, I had a completely different opinion about the show. While the first time around I felt the show moved at too slow of a pace and not enough "stuff" was happening, I started to appreciate what was happening. I realized Heroes was more about characters and their development as regular individuals into heroes than the being heroes. From this moment on, I have been hooked on Heroes and cannot wait for future episodes.
* NBC Rewind: full television episodes viewable online with limited commercials; the Heroes season one episodes were recently taken offline in preparation for the DVD release.
The season one cast consist of a large number of individuals. Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) is high school cheerleader who finds she cannot die because of inhuman regeneration capabilities. She struggles with her identity. She wants to be a regular teenager, but she fears that she is a freak of nature. H.R.G. (Jack Coleman) is mysterious man; he wears glasses, carries a gun, and is associated with some people who are not very nice. He has no super powers, but he is strongly connected to them. Because of this connection he is a very interesting character to learn about (as are the people he works for). Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) is a rising politician with his eye on a congressional seat; he also has the ability to fly. He is a darker character -- a person you cannot trust as he is willing to trade the lives of innocents for personal gain. Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) is Nathan's younger brother. He works as a hospice nurse and has the ability absorb others' powers. He is a central figure in season one and goes through a lot trying to understand what he is fully capable of. He fears that he will not be able to control his powers and destroy everyone and everything he loves.
Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) is a programmer who dreams of being something more. His wish comes true when he discovers he has the ability to bend time and space. Hiro is another strong player in the story, as well as one of the most likeable characters. Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee) is Hiro's best friend and closest companion. He does not have powers, but stands steadfast with Hiro and teaches him what true friendship, honor, courage, and bravery entail. He is also a very likeable character. Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) is a police officer with the ability to hear people's thoughts. Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera) is a drug addicted artist who can paint the future. Niki Sanders (Ali Larter) is a struggling mother with a second, violent personality that gives her inhuman strength. D.L. Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) is a wrongfully imprisoned man with the ability phase through solid matter. Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey) is the son of Niki and D.L.; he is a child prodigy with the ability to communicate with electronics. Sylar (Zachary Quinto) is watchmaker with a similar power to Peter. He has the ability to gain the powers of other heroes. Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is a genetics professor who comes to the United States to uncover the death of his father.
The season one episodes follow each of these characters (and several supporting) as they come to terms with who they are, what they are capable of, and their role in the big picture. Some of the highlights include Nathan's run for a seat in congress and his families ties into individuals with super powers, uncovering the truth behind the organization H.R.G. works for, Peter struggling to contain and understand his massive powers, Hiro and Ando discovering what it means to be true heroes, and Mohinder Suresh discovering the truth about his father's life work.
While the individual storylines are important to the show, they eventually lead to the big picture. That big picture is Sylar. Sylar is the show's primary villain and he has an intriguing background story that ties into Mohinder's father. Sylar does not have any natural super powers, but rather he has an uncanny knack for understanding things. Specifically, he found a way to understand how the super powers of others work. Unfortunately, it involves murder. He collects powers from other heroes by dissecting their brains. Stopping Sylar means saving the world. Isaac Mendez, who can predict the future, generates artwork that shows events from the heroes' lives that lead to a single point in time, a nuclear explosion in New York City. Sylar is believed to be the root cause. Hiro, Ando, Claire, Peter, Nathan, Parkman, Isaac, Niki, D.L., Micah, and Mohinder each play a role to stopping it from happening.
While my general synopsis of Heroes' first season comes off as "good guys learn they have super powers and use it to stop the bad guy", there is a lot more to the show. This generic good against evil plotline is coupled with other villains, mystery, and drama. How well each of these elements tie into the development of the big picture is partly what makes this series a success. And as previously mentioned the show's other major strength comes from the individual character-focused storylines.
Overall, I really enjoyed getting to watch Heroes. The series has intricate character-focused storylines, which present and develop a multitude of great characters. I really love how well these smaller storylines are tie into together and help shape the big picture, which in itself has a lot of great detail. However, while I praise the show I can understand why some would find it somewhat off-putting. Heroes moves at a rather slow pace in its beginning and does not have much in terms of action. Also, since the show has such a big cast, there is a lot of stuff happening and sometimes it feels like not enough time is being spent on one character or another. The show also leaves a lot of unanswered questions, which at the same time gives it a mysterious edge that leaves you wanting to know the answer. Regardless, Heroes is a solid television drama that will leave you glued to your seat wanting to know what happens next. If you didn't like it the first time, give it a second shot -- I feel in love with the show the second time around.
1. Genesis: Events are set in motion as a total eclipse casts its shadow across the globe and a genetics professor uncovers his father's secret research revealing that people with super powers are living among us.
2. Don't Look Back: Discovering new abilities, Matt Parkman listens in on a girl's thoughts, Niki finds herself capable of brutal strength, Claire deals with high school life after a seemingly deadly fall, and Hiro investigates New York.
3. One Giant Leap: Claire Comes under attack buy a high school quarterback, Hiro looks for support from Ando, and Niki makes a gruesome discovery.
4. Collision: The heroes have the possibility to connect with one another as Mohinder puts together the final clues to their whereabouts, but will it be too late for the cheerleader?
5. Hiros: The consequences of the heroes' abilities become more evident as Matt reads his wife's thoughts, Hiro is attacked by Las Vegas casino personnel, and Niki loses track of time.
6. Better Halves: Niki comes face-to-face with her husband, D.L., and Peter relays a life-saving message to Hiro.
7. Nothing to Hide: Relationships are at risk as Matt brushes aside his wife to join the hunt for Sylar, Claire discovers where her missing tape has gone, Nathan strategizes with his family, and Niki confides her "secret" to a friend.
8. Seven Minutes to Midnight: Determined to lead a normal life, Claire focuses on homecoming, and Mohinder returns to India to bury his father.
9. Homecoming: The time to save the cheerleader has arrived, and one night could change the fates of Claire, H.R.G., Peter, ... and the world.
10. Six Months Ago: Time jumps back to reveal Mohinder's father in New York, Claire's startling discovery, and a legal case that could have dire implications for the entire Petrelli family.
11. Fallout: Isaac's paintings reveal more about the predicted New York City nuclear bombing, Mohinder takes the first steps in his new path, and Niki makes a tough decision to protect her son.
12. Godsend: As Claire faces the consequences of her deal with the Haitian, and as Hiro and Ando set out to find a samurai sword, one new hero makes a shocking debut.
13. The Fix: New faces appear to teach the heroes as Hiro talks business with his father, Claire searches for her biological parents, and Peter tries to learn from an invisible man.
14. Distractions: Family bonds are put to the test as Hiro struggles to make his father understand his new path, Niki makes a choice regarding her future with D.L. and Micah, and Sylar visits the Bennet home.
15. Run!: Mohinder meets a dangerous new hero, Matt comes under fire from Linderman's newest assassin, and the identity of Claire's biological father is revealed.
16. Unexpected: Matt joins forces with a "wireless" hero and a radioactive man, Claire strikes out at her father, and Peter learns of a painful betrayal.
17. Company Man: H.R.G.'s shocking past is revealed, and Claire's home life is changed forever after a terrible explosion.
18. Parasite: Terrible glimpses of the future shake the heroes as Linderman is revealed and Isaac paints his most terrifying painting yet.
19. .07%: Sylar's rampage continues with Mohinder's unwitting assistance, and Hiro resolves to "save the world" when faced with a grim reality.
20. Five Years Gone: Hiro and Ando teleport into the future to find that people with extraordinary abilities are being killed as "terrorists".
21. The Hard Part: As Nathan prepares for the election, Hiro and Ando's determination to save the world is truly put to the test.
22. Landslide: Nathan reflects on the cost of becoming a member of Congress, and Peter and Claire try to leave New York City before the explosion.
23. How to Stop an Exploding Man: Isaac's shocking predictions unfold in Kirby Plaza, where the heroes face pain and peril.
The video in this release is given in an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are moments when the picture suffers noticeable compression artifacts. Overall, the picture is relatively clean and should look good on big screen televisions.
The audio track in this release is in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround. The sound quality is very good and it provides an audible and clean track. The dialogue is usually a little flat while music and sound effects come off rich and vibrant. Additionally, the 5.1 track is dynamic and makes good use of the surround sound capability.
There are subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Heroes: Season 1 comes packed with special features. However, keep in mind that the HD-DVD release has even more bonus material. These additional extras include (descriptions are directly from the NBC Heroes DVD website) "Character Connections" (Follow your favorite heroes with the interactive Character Connections), "Helix Revealed" (Find the hidden helix symbol embedded throughout the series), "Picture In Picture" (Immerse yourself in the cast and crew video commentaries from the set of Heroes), "Artwork Presentation" (View the details of Isaac's paintings and comics as you watch the episodes), and "Genetic Abilities Test" (Take the Abilities test and your profile will be uploaded to NBC.com/Heroes). The rest of the special features are included in both the SD-DVD and HD-DVD releases. Here are the details:
- Unaired Pilot: The Tim Kring Cut (01:13:46): This first extra is an alternative cut of the series premiere episode "Genesis". This episode runs approximately twenty minutes longer than the version that aired on television. It also has optional audio commentary with creator Tim Kring. During the commentary, Kring focuses on set details (CGI usage, set re-use from Crossing Jordan, filming complications, etc.), actors/characters, small differences between the aired and unaired pilots, important scenes that were cut/changed/replaced, etc. It is an interesting commentary, as Kring provides insightful details and stays on topic.
- Deleted Scenes (49:28): are included for nineteen of the season one episodes. There are a total of fifty scenes, with a runtime under fifty minutes. Each scene is accessed on the same disc as the episode it is associated with. Here is the list of episodes and associated deleted/alternate scenes:
- "Genesis": DL Escapes From His Cell, Meant For Something Special, Simone's Breaking Point, The Only Way Out, DL's Promise, The Terrorist, Time's Up, Micah Saves His Dad
- "Don't Look Back": A Spark Ignites, Niki's Mistake, Behind Niki's Garage Door, Blood On The Map
- "One Giant Leap": Hiro's Book of Revelations, Niki Confronts Her Mother-in-law
- "Collision": The You That Ain't You, Micah's Plea
- "Hiros": Claire's Miracle, Strangers in Our Own Home, Brody's Cheer
- "Nothing To Hide": Matt's Voices, Tough Love, Nathan's Paternity Suit, You Can't Tell Anyone, Stakeout, Claire the Freak, Jessica Gets Her Gun, Lyle's Secret
- "Seven Minutes to Midnight": Appearances Can Be Deceiving, Eden's New Life, Matt and Janice Reminisce
- "Homecoming": The Battle For Claire
- "Six Months Ago": Dad Is Dead, Jessica Takes Care of Business
- "Fallout": Mohinder's Discovery
- "Godsend": Claire's Media Moment, Peter's Awakening
- "The Fix": The Dishonest Plumber
- "Distractions": A Shock to the System, You're My Business, Niki's Homecoming
- "Run!": Mr. Bennet's Phone Calls, Janice Panics, The Haitian's Talent
- "Company Man": Generation Gap, The Cover-Up, Thompson's Mandate
- "Parasite": Lonely Wolf
- ".07%": Linderman's Missing Sword
- "Five Years Gone": Old Friends
- "Landslide": Marty, That's An Order
- Audio Commentaries: are included for twelve of the twenty-three season one episodes (this figure does not include the commentary track for the unaired pilot episode). The audio commentary tracks are worth sitting through as they offer some insightful information from the cast and crew. I was happy with the variety in participants (both cast and crew).
- "Godsend" with Jack Coleman, Leonard Roberts, and Sendhil Ramamurthy
- "The Fix" with Greg Grunberg, Hayden Panettiere, and Natalie Chaidez (episode writer and co-executive producer)
- "Distractions" with Milo Ventimiglia, Zachary Quinto, Greg Grunberg, Jeanot Szwarc (episode director), Jack Coleman, and Michael Green (episode writer and co-executive producer)
- "Run!" with Greg Grunberg, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Armus, and Kay Foster (episode writers and supervising producers)
- "Unexpected" with Greg Beeman (episode director and co-executive producer), Zachary Quinto, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Jeph Loeb (episode writer and co-executive producer)
- "Company Man" with Jack Coleman, Allan Arkush (episode director and executive producer), and Bryan Fuller (co-executive producer and episode writer)
- "Parasite" with Allan Arkush (executive producer), Jimmy Jean-Louis and Christopher Zatta (episode writer)
- ".07%" with Chuck Kim (episode writer), Andrew Chambliss (asst. to Tim Kring), and Tim Keppler (asst. to Dennis Hammer)
- "Five Years Gone" with Greg Grunberg, Sendhil Ramamurthy, and Jack Coleman
- "The Hard Part" with James Kyson Lee, Noah Gray-Cabey, and Ian Quinn (stunt coordinator)
- "Landslide" with Masi Oka, George Takei, and Matthew Armstrong
- "How To Stop an Exploding Man" with Tim Kring (creator/executive producer and episode writer), Dennis Hammer (executive producer), and Allan Arkush (executive producer and episode director)
- Mind Reader: This extra is an interactive game that puts Matt Parkman's "mind-reading" abilities to the test. Basically, you pick a number, do some math, associate the number with a character from the show, and the game presents the character associated with your number.
- Making Of (10:00): is a behind-the-scenes featurette that includes brief interviews with Santiago Cabrera, Lisa Coleman, Greg Grunberg, Mark Kolpack, Tim Kring, Ali Larter, Jeph Loeb, Wendy Melvoin, Tony Ocampo, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Michael Perfitt, Ian Quinn, and Zachary Quinto. They talk about the direction of the show, the characters, fan response, Comic-Con, etc.
- Special Effects (8:45): stars Mark Kolpack, who is the visual effects supervisor for the series. He talks about some of the different challenges they faced in making the show look realistic, as well as focusing on some of the specifics like Hiro stopping time and everything around him freezing. Joining him are Masi Oka, Tony Ocampo, and Ryan Wieber.
- The Stunts (10:22): features student coordinator Ian Quinn. It includes behind-the-scenes footage with Ian explaining how some of the action sequences were put together, using wires, stunt doubles, and blue screens. Adrian Pasdar, Milo Ventimiglia, Masi Oka, George Takei, Zachary Quinto, and Sendhil Ramamurthy also make brief appearances.
- Profile of Artist Tim Sale (11:26): is about the man behind the artwork Isaac Mendez creates in the show. Tim is a veteran comic artist who has worked for many companies, including Marvel and DC. He talks about his history, connection to the show and how he got involved, Isaac and his precognition ability via painting, the set of Isaac's studio, and some other stuff.
- The Score (8:58): stars audio engineer Michael Perfitt and composers Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. The three talk about their backgrounds, role in developing the musical score for the show, Shenkar (who does the vocals for the theme song), engineering the score, and how it impacts the storyline.
- Sneak Peaks: There are trailers included for Friday Night Lights, House MD, Las Vegas, The Office, 30 Rock, Miami Vice, Bring It On All or Nothing, and Nissan.
Heroes is a popular and successful primetime television drama from NBC about a group of individuals who find they have super powers. The show focuses on the development of each individual as they come to terms with their newfound abilities, as well as how they tie into the big picture, which is (of course) saving the world. As for the quality, Heroes' first season proves to be an engaging and entertaining experience. The season encompasses drama and mystery, as well as including some comedy and action. The characters are likeable and intriguing to learn about. I enjoyed how well the show developed its characters and molding those small details in the main story arc. In the end, Heroes: Season 1 is something that should not be missed; it is an epic, grand tale that will leave you wanting more. In addition, the DVD set comes packed with extras; fans will definitely want to check out the unaired pilot episode and all of the audio commentaries.