NBC has come up with a snazzy press release about the upcoming Volume Five of Heroes. Like all good press releases, it does a nice job of drumming up interest in the coming season: it provides neat tidbits of information about each character's plotline and gives some indication of the general thrust of the volume. It sounds pretty good. However, snazzy press release or no, at this point it’s reeeeeeeeally hard to summon up too much enthusiasm for Heroes. We’ve been down this path too many times, and been disappointed too many times, and thus this press release seems a little… disingenuous. So I drafted my own version.
NBC’s version of the release can be found here. Mine is below. Warning for vague, press release-style spoilers:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Following an unsatisfying third season, which hemorrhaged viewers in all directions thanks to a mixture of slipshod plotting and wildly inconsistent characterization, “Heroes” returns to NBC on September 21. “Volume Five: Redemption” is destined to recapture the excitement and magic of the critically-acclaimed first season. Sound familiar? That’s because we said the same thing last year. But this time we mean it.
In the climax of “Volume Four: Fugitives”, Senator Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) was murdered by Sylar (Zachary Quinto). No one could be bothered to use Claire Bennet’s (Hayden Panettiere) Magic Blood™ to resurrect him, so Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose) and H.R.G. (Jack Coleman) badgered Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) into using his mental powers to trick Sylar into believing he was Nathan, thus confounding and alienating both Pasdar’s and Quinto’s respective fan bases in one fell swoop.
“Volume Five: Redemption” begins with an attempt to clean up and/or ignore the messes and muddles left over from last season.
Claire tries to adjust to a normal life as an ordinary college student. This is difficult for her, because Claire is so very, very special. So special that random characters often randomly point out how special she is, just to make certain the breadth and depth of her specialness is not lost on viewers. Like all college freshmen, Claire will indulge in a little hot girl-on-girl action with her roommate. This will not be sensationalistic at all, and quite frankly we don’t understand why everyone’s making such a big deal about it. Just because we included the scene in the teaser we showed at Comic Con is no reason to think we threw it in there just to boost the ratings. Grow up, people.
Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) discovers he has a terminal illness. This laugh-a-minute plotline will resolve itself one way or another by the end of the season, when Oka finally decides whether the benefits of starring in a hit network series outweigh the indignities involved in participating in episodes like that ghastly Indian wedding business. Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee) will probably be on hand as well, but his participation is too inconsequential to mention in this press release.
Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) will fall madly in love with a beautiful deaf girl, in a sweeping romance destined to be every bit as beloved by audiences as such past sweeping romances as Hiro and Yaeko, Mohinder and Maya, Peter and Caitlin, and Claire and that wretched flying kid.
H.R.G., whose wife should have ditched him three seasons ago after he gave her life-threatening brain damage by repeatedly having her memories wiped against her will, adjusts to bachelor life by arguing with Claire about how he just wants to protect her and ignoring the existence of his son.
Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) will be largely MIA for the first few episodes, because we still can’t think of anything to do with him. Once he reappears, he’ll resume his standard role -- frowning prettily at computer screens, spouting exposition, and getting knocked unconscious by miscreants. As a special “Suck eggs, losers!” to those viewers who have pretty much given up on “Heroes” but nonetheless keep watching for their weekly dose of Mohinder’s phenomenal bone structure, the entire lower half of his face will be obscured by a thick, unflattering beard.
Tracy Strauss (Ali Larter), improbably alive after shattering into pieces last volume, is torn between seeking vengeance and using her powers for the greater good. She’ll vacillate between good and evil from episode to episode, depending upon who’s writing the script, until her character becomes incomprehensible and baffling. At this point we’ll kill off Tracy -- just like we killed off Nikki! -- and bring Larter back next season as a totally different character.
Nathan Petrelli, who has no idea he’s actually Sylar, returns to the Senate, where his reputation as the Senator who resigned, then was shot by an unidentified assailant during a live press conference, then died on the operating table, then mysteriously came back to life, then found God, then rounded up and imprisoned people with special abilities will once again pass unremarked and unchallenged.
In Los Angeles, after a couple seasons of swinging bachelorhood, Matt Parkman will re-enter the loveless and naggy marriage everyone enjoyed so much back in Volume One. As an added bonus, he’ll be raising a super-powered baby! Super-powered babies are an awesome plot device. It’s a proven fact.
We’ve got a great bunch of new cool-sounding villains, including the dude from “Prison Break” and some hot naked tattooed chick. In a major casting coup, we’ve even got incredibly cool cult fave Ray Park, whose appearance we will no doubt somehow manage to squander, much in the way we squandered incredibly cool guest stars John Glover and Robert Forster and those guys from “The Wire” last volume.
The epic journey begins once again, and along the path, some questions will be answered: Do we realistically have a chance of recapturing some of the audience bonhomie we lost last season? Will viewers notice (or care!) that our percentage of non-white regular characters has dropped from 55% at the start of Volume One to 25% at the start of Volume Five, thus effectively negating all the acclaim we used to garner for our diverse cast? Will anyone who isn’t Sylar or who doesn’t have a last name of Bennet or Petrelli ever be given anything vital to do? Time will tell.
“Heroes” used to get nominated for a lot of prestigious awards, like Emmys and BAFTAs and NAACP Image Awards and Multicultural Prism Awards. This year, we received a Teen Choice Award for Choice Action-Adventure Television Show, and damn it, we’re pretty stoked about it.