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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Heroes Reborn

You may have been expecting a Kamen Rider Ghost review today, and one was planned - however, series that have just ended take priority over ongoings, so expect that review on Monday next week.

Heroes Reborn.

Was anyone really crying out for this series? Genuine question, had anybody even had a single passing thought about Heroes in the past half a decade or so, let alone gone 'but what I really want is a sequel series that is alternately incredibly boring and totally ludicrous'? I know I hadn't, but who knows, maybe some people did. Heroes Reborn's ratings, which were on the whole consistently actually pretty good, suggest that at least some people were craving this.

Set some years after the end of Heroes, Heroes Reborn sees superpowered people, or Evos, as social pariahs hunted by the rest of the world, as people believe them to be responsible for a massive terrorist attack. As Renautus, a global tech conglomerate that arose from Primatech, puts into motion a set of sinister plans, groups of Evos and regular people around the world are embroiled in a battle for their lives - one that is, according to a prophecy, meant to culminate in Claire Bennet's two children stopping the Hele, a pair of massive solar flares that will incinerate the Earth.

So, the truest thing to say about Heroes Reborn is that it begins where Heroes ends, in terms of tone, composition, sheer absurdity, and bad writing. Heroes was never exactly stellar, but it got drastically worse with every series that aired, as the writers became increasingly divorced from any notion of how people actually act or how a television series should be plotted. In that respect, Heroes Reborn fits perfectly as the fifth series of the show.

Introducing 'vortex with a much more boring explanation than you might expect'.

One thing that jumped out at me every episode is just how strange the dialogue all is. Characters will burst into bizarre, contextless monologues at the drop of a hat, even regular dialogue sounds forced and stilted, characters will often respond to questions and statements as if they're in a completely different conversation - but the show also has gems like a man rumbling "A redhead, very clever," and then never telling us what's so clever about red hair; or a character anguishedly explaining that a girl his sister wants to kill "isn't that much younger than you!" 

That last particularly stood out, because that sentiment usually goes "[Character who we want to murder] isn't much older than [character whose youth and innocence is recognised by all parties,]" because otherwise what you're essentially saying is that if she was even younger, it would become more acceptable to kill her. 

As with all Heroes shows, its plotting relies on coincidence and happenstance, which the writers thinly veil as 'destiny' by having characters occasionally say "It's destiny," despite having very little to base this exclamation on. It was lazy writing when Heroes started, and it's still lazy writing now, especially as by the time we reach the end of the series, half of the characters involved haven't even realised they were involved in the plot at all. A fair number of their storylines just kind of fizzle out.

The show tries to set this dude up as a Batman-esque unpowered hero, but it falls flat.

Maybe with a better plot that would have worked, but nothing in this story feels threatening. Our main villain, Erica, and Renautus all feel like utterly weak villains, and the threat that the Hele poses is never especially well-established. It will kill everybody and scorch the surface of the Earth, sure, but that's a pretty abstract concept for viewers to internalise, and showing us a desert thousands and thousands of years into the future does nothing to hammer in that threat.

Add to that that not a single character on the good guys' side is actually interesting. Our main two, Tommy and Malina, are both flat as pancakes, with Malina's character consisting solely of monotone remarks about destiny and Tommy's character being eighty percent angst over his girlfriend (who has no motivation or character other than 'interested in Tommy') and twenty percent gurning. None of the other cast members turn in worthwhile performances for their badly written characters either, with the possible exception of Toru Uchikado and Kiki Sukezane as Ren and Miko, who are joys to watch and who also have the bad luck of being saddled with the worst storyline of the lot.

I'm going to take a moment just to make special mention of the Evernow plot that Ren and Miko are part of, because it's a plot about video games that seems to have been created by people who know nothing about video games, may not have even encountered one before (bizarre though that may seem), and were apparently unwilling to research. The 'video game world' sections look like they came out of an early Playstation 1 tech demo. At one point, Ren, in the middle of nowhere, announces that he'll start playing the game, and pulls a video game controller, attached to nothing at all, out of his bag to do so.

Did you think I was joking about the PS1 graphics?

(It also has a hefty dose of racial stereotyping involved, so that's - that's just lovely. That's brilliant, guys.)

So, in conclusion, expect to see this on the next Fission Mailure Awards as one of the worst series of the year. You - you should expect that. The series ends with a sequel hook, but good god, I hope they don't do a sequel. Don't make me go through this again, you guys.

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