Comic-Con: “Heroes: Reborn” takes center stage

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NBC’s relaunch of the 2006-10 series is massive – and actually impressive

It was back in 2006 when a 73-minute pilot called Heroes was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con. The episode blew fans away as the success of the screening burned up the Internet (and this was when Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were in their infancy.) Anticipation was built up for the premiere and its debut on September 25, 2006 was a smash hit for NBC, drawing over fourteen million viewers. The process proved Comic-Con as an effective marketing tool for promoting upcoming TV series.

A week ago, Heroes returned to the scene of the crime as NBC hoped lightning would strike twice in the same place with a Comic-Con panel on sequel series Heroes: Reborn in the 6,000-seat Hall H, where a panel can easily draw more fans than a UIC-Loyola college basketball game.

Tim Kring, who created the original and the follow up series is basically asking viewers to give the series another chance, alluding the series’ thirteen-episode season allows for better storytelling than the 22-episode season did for the original Heroes.

“We’ve had a long rest and a good night sleep and we’re ready to save the world again so if you found something about the show that you loved, something that you were passionate about the first time, then I very humbly ask you to give ‘Heroes Reborn’ a chance,” Kring told the crowd, according to Variety. “The challenge is that since we came along, we looked like nothing else on TV, and now huge shows are out there that we have to compete with.”

Appearing on the panel alongside Kring were several new cast members of the show – and some faces from the old show, including returning cast members Jack Coleman, Masi Oka and Greg Grunberg, who was the moderator. On the other hand, much of the original cast isn’t coming back, notably Zachary Quinto (who found fame in as Spock in the recent Star Trek movies) and Hayden Panettiere, whose Claire character is killed off in Heroes: Reborn (Panettiere now stars in ABC’s Nashville.)

A new extended trailer for Heroes: Reborn was unveiled at the presentation, which you can view below:

When Heroes debuted in 2006, NBC pioneered the use of digital content as a tie-in, releasing a series of webcomics and other interactive material for the show. You can expect the same with Heroes: Reborn, in addition to two soon-to-be released video games – one for mobile platforms; the other for consoles:

When NBC announced it was reviving Heroes in February 2014, yours truly and many others mocked the idea, criticizing the lack of innovation at the broadcast networks. Kring was often a target of criticism on this site from 2007-10, ripping him on telling us how to watch a series of his.

But with the advent of binge-watching and the way of consuming these shows becoming much easier, it turned out Kring – was actually right. I guess I’m the one who should be working at Wal-Mart (in fact, I work at an awful gig right now making Wal-Mart wages. It’s best you don’t ask further.)

So, will viewers – especially those like myself who gave up on the series along the way due to confusing plots and increasingly bad dialogue – give the franchise a second chance? Heroes: Reborn already has its work cut out for it, airing in a Thursday night time slot opposite an aging – but still potent Grey’s Anatomy and beginning in November, powerhouse sitcom The Big Bang Theory. If the show avoids the mistakes it made in the second and third season and keep viewers hooked, it may have a shot.

If not, I can always compare Heroes: Reborn’s performance to Bears QB Jay Cutler like I did with the original Heroes with former Bears QB Rex Grossman. At least some things haven’t changed.

And that’s a wrap for Comic-Con coverage.

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