One of NBC’s biggest new programs this fall is “Heroes Reborn,” a continuation of the network's mid-2000s hit program “Heroes.”
“Heroes” debuted in 2006 and centered on people living in our world who discovered they had superpowers. The show was a hit critically and in viewership for the first season, but reviewers were less won over by subsequent seasons (it lasted for four) and viewership dropped as well.
Now the creator, Tim Kring, and some of the original cast members are coming back for “Reborn,” which NBC is airing for 13 episodes and which has been called an “event series” or “limited series.”
At a recent Television Critics Association panel, Kring revealed that one character from the original show will definitely not be part of the narrative: he says that the character of Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), a cheerleader who has the ability to heal, died before “Reborn” begins.
Cast members from the original “Heroes” that will return include Masi Oka, Jack Coleman, and Sendhil Ramamurthy.
Another revival of a popular sci-fi show that will be airing soon is a new version of Fox’s hit “The X-Files.” The new “X-Files” episodes will reportedly consist of six installments.
Giving the number of episodes up front may be a way for networks to fight viewer apathy. There were few fans who were happy with “Heroes” when it went off the air in 2010, and the seemingly meandering later seasons of “X-Files” left some dissatisfied as well. Kring himself recently said of the 13-episode order, “What you're getting is a beginning, middle, and an end which will allow us to do a very aggressive kind of storytelling.”
But what if that end is … pushed back a bit? Some reviewers have raised eyebrows at the CBS program “Under the Dome,” which is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It may have brought confusion to viewers when CBS originally called the show a limited series, reportedly because it had 13 episodes rather than a more normal number for a network like 22. From the beginning, CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said the network has “such a clear vision of where this show is going. We're prepared for success” and that a second summer season and/or episodes during the winter were possible.
Similarly, despite the terms “limited” or “event” series being tossed around for “Heroes” and “X-Files,” it seems hard to believe either of the programs’ networks would end the shows if they’re hits. The problem is how viewers who were told there were a certain number of episodes would respond to that. One critic wrote of the extension of “Dome,” “That bait-and-switch was frustrating for viewers who hung in for the increasingly erratic first 13 episodes, expecting tidy answers,” while another wrote of the extra episodes, “Let the ‘Dome’ experience be a warning to anyone who really thinks any of these limited series will truly be limited and provide closure if they happen to work.”
Another noted of the show, “Being stuck under a dome, as a story of limited length, has a certain simple appeal … To turn that around and say it can be like 'Northern Exposure,' with continuing stories that happen to be inside a giant glass dome instead of in Alaska, makes for a very different kind of show. And that's fine – perhaps they can sell it, as [CBS’s Les] Moonves says, like a soap … But when you start with an emergency as your premise, whether it's being held hostage or being under a dome, every time you slacken the tension, you risk making audiences feel cheated."
The new “Heroes” episodes premiere this September.