Review: Heroes Reborn – Dark Matters

Heroes New and Old Take the Stage

When NBC cancelled Heroes five years ago, I felt glad. Not because I hadn’t loved Heroes, but because I’d loved it so much that watching it spiral into awfulness was just too painful. After only 4 seasons, Heroes reached a level of cliche and staleness that other shows don’t hit until sometimes seven or eight seasons in. And if we’re being totally honest, season 2 was really the beginning of the long, slow end; we just didn’t know it yet.

Noah Bennett Jack Coleman Heroes RebornSo when Tim Kring and NBC announced Heroes Reborn, I had some fairly mixed feelings. First was the knee-jerk fan, screaming “Squee!”, as they say (note: I don’t actually say squee. I say “Holy fuck!” like a real person). Second was dread: what if they didn’t learn from the mistakes of the first show? What if it was just another season of Sylar waffling about being good or bad, or Claire whining about her destiny instead of, you know, LIVING the damn thing? But then, they announced something surprising: only a few of the old cast would return, and most of those only in small, supporting roles.

To introduce the new series to both new fans and to fans of the old, NBC produced a series of web shorts called Heroes Reborn: Dark Matters, which introduce the story of Quentin Frady and his sister Phoebe. Spoilers follow, so proceed at your own…well, I was gonna say risk, but it’s just a TV show. There’s not really any risk.

Inspired by a mysterious web-based video distributor calling himself “Hero Truther”, Phoebe decides to “out” herself to her brother by having him record a video of her manipulating light such that she can make her shadow move without actually moving herself. From this point on, the series intercuts between moments of the two Fradys (I wonder if they have a cat) talking in a conversational interview style, and moments in the next several months of their lives.

Eventually Quentin loses Phoebe when something goes explosively wrong at an Evo/Human peace summit of some sort. I guess they couldn’t figure out how to stop an exploding man this time. Anyway, the long and short of it is: a bunch of people died, apparently Mohinder Suresh (from the original Heroes) took credit, and Quentin went all tinfoil hat. And of course, as is often the case with tinfoil hatters in movies and television, he’s right about enough stuff that he winds up finding out about HRG (why not one of the company’s other agents? It wasn’t like he was sole proprietor of Primatech).

Oh, and the cool spoiler: the “Hero Truther” turns out is actually Micah from the original Heroes, which makes perfect sense; of COURSE a guy who can control and communicate with electronic devices and computers would be the one doing all kinds of V for Vendetta style broadcasts about freedom and truth. It’s also true to his character on the original: Micah constantly prodded both his parents to act like heroes and do the right thing (even though, let’s face it, they were both too screwed up to actually do that).

While any web series based on something that’ll inevitably far larger is bound to be a little terse, I nevertheless found Dark Matters compelling and interesting. Sure, it had its cliches and bits of weirdness, but that’s superhero stuff for you. With the actual show launching in…err, about an hour and a half, by my watch, I’d say it’s worth a look. Though probably after you’ve seen the pilot.

I’d love to hear what you thought of Dark Matters, and of Heroes Reborn itself after the pilot!

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