What would you do if you were to wake up one morning with some amazing new power? Let's say you could fly – or, even better, teleport yourself anywhere in time and space? Would you exploit your new ability for personal gain, or use it to help others? Now, let's say that others – just like you – also gained strange new abilities. That's only part of the premise of NBC's intriguingly complex new series, Heroes [Mondays, 9 p.m./8 Central] – because as these abilities begin to appear, they foreshadow something dark and terrible…
Everyone has had – at one time or another – a dream that they were flying. Some may even have had dreams of being super-strong, or invulnerable – perhaps because some of our greatest fictional icons include superhero characters like Superman, or Spider-Man. In Heroes, many different people from all over the world wake up to discover they have unique and amazing abilities…
In a weird way, the powers fit the personalities who receive them: artist/junkie Isaac Mendez [Santiago Carbrera] paints the future when he's high; Texas cheerleader Claire Bennett [Hayden Pantierre] discovers that, no matter how badly she hurts herself, she heals almost instantaneously [what teenager doesn't think she's invulnerable?]; Matt Parkman [Greg Grunberg], an LAPD cop, discovers he can receive other people's thoughts [talk about informant!], and so forth.
Some of those who receive these abilities hate them, or are frightened by them – like single mom and creator of an erotic website, Niki Sanders, who sees something strangely ominous in her reflection; or the aforementioned Mendez, who thinks his ability is actually evil – and for good reason! Others, like Hiro Nakamura [Masi Oka], are enthusiastic – and why not? He's the one who gets the ability to teleport!
While our characters begin to deal with their abilities, there are hints that an Indian university professor has come to believe his father's odd theories about human evolution – and others who seem bent on investigation the possibility of such evolved humans even existing. In the case one bespectacled, middle-aged gentleman, that interest takes on decidedly unsavory overtones.
Over its first three episodes, Heroes lays the groundwork for an epic tale. There are odd connections between some of the characters; there are hints of the future; weird murders; and more plot arcs than a half-dozen regular shows. Early buzz on the show suggested it might, just, be the best new series of the season – let alone the best new series on NBC. Based on these three episodes, it seems entirely possible that NBC has found a series to rival ABC's Lost for intrigue, character and wild adventure.
NBC is certainly chuffed about the series – among the online bonuses for interested fans is a comic that is taken from the series: 9th Wonders. In the series, the comic is written and drawn by Mendez and is purchased by Hiro – who discovers that it is telling his story! The online version will supplement the series: sometimes directly, sometimes tangentally – but will always add another dimension to the show.
Given the amount of thought and energy that went into Heroes, it's a relief to be able to say that it is one of the best new series of the season – in a season with a lot of really good new shows. And if you aren't completely hooked by the end of the final scene of the third episode, then nothing will ever impress you!