Heroes quietly went off the air five years ago, after several seasons of ever-declining ratings and critical reaction. In series creator Tim Kring’s mind, the world kept chugging along even after they defeated that circus or whatever weird thing they were dealing with in the fourth season, and the upcoming revival Heroes Reborn drops viewers into the fray as if they’d just skipped a bunch of seasons.
“This is not the fifth season,” Kring said last week at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. “We’re treating this as the 10th season—as if there were stories in between. I’d always wanted to tell the story of what happened in that time.” Kring also noted that if Reborn is successful, he may have the opportunity to tell those stories.
The fourth season, in case anyone forgot or had jumped ship on the show by that point (a safe assumption, honestly), ended with indestructible cheerleader-turned-college-freshman Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) revealing her powers to the world, leaving whatever viewers were left at that point to wonder how that moment would change the landscape. Heroes Reborn seems poised to answer that question – the show is set after a terrorist attack blamed on superpowered individuals, leading to those people forced to live in hiding or be rounded up by the government (or killed by vigilantes). Several original cast members are set to reprise their roles (mainly all the ones who haven’t really done much since Heroes) but the revival also seems to want to get back to the main storytelling hook of the first season – people coming to terms with the fact that they woke up one day with the ability to fly or start fires with their brain or whatever.
It’s still a bit of a mystery why Heroes Reborn even exists (aside from the fact that we live in a time when any and all semi-popular dormant franchises are fair game for revival). The original Heroes debuted in 2006 to much fanfare. Seen by many as the heir apparent to the still-massive Lost in its first season, the second season dropped off dramatically (due in part because of the writers’ strike that cut just about every show short that season) and never quite recovered. It ultimately ended after its fourth season and nobody was terribly sad to see it go – the third and fourth years were generally terrible, and didn’t have a strike to blame it on. So the fact that Heroes of all things was plucked from oblivion to be revived along the likes of The X-Files and Twin Peaks is something of an oddity. It remains to be seen, obviously, whether Heroes Reborn will be closer to that first season or the other three, but you can judge for yourself when it debuts on Sept. 24.