NBC Announces “Heroes Reborn” for 2015 Lineup

Masi Oka

NBC is hoping to recapture the super popularity of their 2006 program, “Heroes,” with a new take on the story, “Heroes Reborn.” Since their announcement during the Sochi Olympics, excitement has been growing for the 13-episode miniseries about ordinary people who discover they have superpowers.

Particularly exciting is the use of social and new media to launch the show. Prior to airing, a digital series will introduce the new characters and story lines, hopefully adding a new audience to the one that’s already established. And judging by the reaction of former fans on Twitter and Facebook, there’s little doubt that an established audience already exists.

Fans are hoping the show can capture the brilliance of the first season of “Heroes.”

Jennifer Salk, president of NBC Entertainment, said, “The enormous impact ‘Heroes’ had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening. Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment. We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept.”

There’s little doubt Kring has the ability to make “Heroes Reborn” a hit. The first season of “Heroes” brought lots of recognition, including awards and nominations. The biggest hurdle facing the program will be avoiding the pitfalls that pulled down the second season of “Heroes.”

Kring told “Entertainment Weekly” in 2007 that he knew messed up the second season.

“We assumed the audience wanted season one — a buildup of intrigue about these characters and the discovery of their powers. We taught [them] to expect a certain kind of storytelling. They wanted adrenaline. We made a mistake.”

He didn’t comment on the Writer’s Guild of America strike that many blamed for the decline.

Kring alluded to mistakes with several of the characters. He made a list of what he thought caused the 15 percent drop in ratings; including slowing down the pace of the show, not having the stakes established early on and that Hiro was in Japan for too long. He was on to something, but sadly, the improvements were short lived.

The addition of the digital content for “Reborn” was a natural. NBC and Kring have a significant past with “Heroes” and the Internet. “Heroes Evolution” (during season one it was called “360 Experience”) was a digital extension of the original series that was launched in 2007. It included graphic novels, clues about upcoming episodes and iStory content.

According to NBC.com, “‘Heroes Evolutions’ has had 48 million page views as of March 22, 2007, plus over 27 million video downloads.” They also received a Creative Arts Emmy for Interactive Media Programming: Interactive Fiction, calling the show a “true pioneer in multiplatform storytelling.”

It’s hard to imagine the show could pull in such incredible numbers again. But, if they continue to advertise and involve new media, they might just break some miniseries records.

While NBC is keeping “Reborn” details quiet, Salk gave a fun teaser.

“Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”

The announcement prompted one of the original stars, fan favorite Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura), to tweet: “Was watching the Olympics and saw the #HeroesReborn trailer. Time to dust off the sword?” Yes! It sounds like Oka might be open to an appearance, if CBS lets him skip a week from his role on “Hawaii 5-0″!

Because “Heroes Reborn” is described as a “stand alone arc,” will we ever find out what happened in the nonexistent “Volume Six: Brave New World” after Claire (Hayden Panettiere) told the world about their existence? Will cheerleader Claire make a comeback?

There’s only one bad thing about “Heroes Reborn,” which is it’s not coming until 2015. Do you think they can keep the excitement going for an entire year? Who would you like to see guest star from the original cast?

Photo: Masi Oka by Wikimedia

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