As 90s TV shows like “The X-Files” and “Full House” get second leases on life, NBC is returning to its superhero hit in the age of the comic-book blockbuster.
“Heroes Reborn,” a continuation of the mid-2000s NBC series “Heroes,” will debut on Sept. 24. It’s a 13-episode (for now) follow-up to the original show, which told the story of various people, such as a high school cheerleader and a politician, discovering they have superpowers.
The first season of the show was critically well received and a ratings hit for the network. After that, however, the next three seasons were mostly panned by reviewers and dropped in the ratings.
The new episodes bring back some of the original “Heroes” actors, such as Greg Grunberg, Masi Oka, and Jack Coleman, but is also bringing on many new people, including “Chuck” actor Zachary Levi.
But the superhero entertainment landscape has changed a great deal since the show's original run. When it debuted in 2006 Marvel had yet to emerge as a titan at the multiplex (“Iron Man” wouldn’t arrive until 2008), and such TV hits as the 1970s series “The Incredible Hulk” and the 1990s show “Lois & Clark” were long in the rearview mirror. The "Superman" series“Smallville” was a presence but on the lower-profile CW network.
Now, though, seemingly every TV network has or just recently wrapped up a superhero TV show (and a certain high-profile streaming service does, too). ABC is airing “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter,” while NBC just recently canceled “Constantine.” CBS is debuting “Supergirl” and Fox is airing “Gotham,” which is based on the world of DC Comics’ Batman. Netflix debuted its show “Daredevil” last spring and will bring the comic book series “Jessica Jones,” based on the superheroine of the same name, to the Internet this November. Two more series set in the same fictional universe are set to follow on Netflix.
Just having superheroes won’t cut it anymore for a “Heroes” reboot. However, one hint of what’s to come from Mr. Coleman may remind comic book fans of another franchise. Coleman recently said of the new episodes in an interview, “It’s a very dark and different world for them now. It’s a dangerous time and place to be a [superhero].”
The most recent “X-Men” film, 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” also focused on a dark future where superheroes (or “mutants,” in “X-Men” terms) were being hunted down. “Heroes Reborn” could do worse than to take notes from that “X-Men” plot line – the film became the ninth-highest-grossing film, domestically, of the year.