If Heroes Reborn: Dark Matter is supposed to get people excited for the mini-series, then apparently someone didn’t learn why the original Heroes got cancelled in the first place.
Characters & Story
The story, over the strangely made 5 part introduction, deals with a new “Evo” named Phoebe (Aislinn Paul), who can manipulate light and darkness, and her brother Quentin (Henry Zebrowski). Things begin rather calmly, with Phoebe just showing how she can move her shadow without physically moving her body, and it progressively evolves from there. Eventually leading to a point where after Claire inspires many evos to come out, now regular humans are getting scared and government action is being called for.
Thus leading to some, voluntarily, registering themselves, but many not being for it, such as this mysterious hooded figure we learn is a Heroes alumni. But the situation doesn’t truly effect Phoebe until she does a small rally at her school, after discrimination against Evos begin, and then when she decides to look into Renautas. A company which we learn is the new Primatech.
Leading to Quentin possibly losing his sister, attempting to help the rebel evo forces, and ended up what perhaps maybe the evo species last hope. That is if he can find the one man who can help him: Ted Barnes. Though you probably know him better as Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) aka HRG.
To be honest with you, I slightly find this hard to praise, but that is mostly because I originally thought there were only 5 episodes. So, if I were to base my opinion just on those 5, I could mention how sweet the sibling relationship between Quentin and Phoebe is; how cool it was to see Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), alongside a few other “Evos;” and watch as Phoebe progressively got stronger. I could also say that, even though she only played a sort of token black friend, I was glad the character Aly (Greta Onieogou) existed for the sake of some sort of color in this preview. However, none of what is mentioned really would sell you on the idea that Heroes deserved to return.
The reason Heroes deserves to return pretty much comes from episode 6. In that episode, when Quentin meets Hero Truther/ Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey), there comes a sense of hope, the reason to want to continue onto Heroes: Reborn, and maybe begin crafting theories and ideas of what may happen. Mostly because, like any revival, it is the original cast you want to see in action. So upon learning Micah is this mystery figure, and he has this low budget X-Men group working out of a laundry mat basement, it becomes quite exciting. Add in seeing HRG at the end of the episode, and likely more Heroes alumni returning, and it makes the idea of the government vs. Evos thing a bit more appealing than when it seemingly was all about Quentin trying to save his sister.
To me, without episode 6, we are presented another case of mostly bland generic looking people that get amazing abilities. Which, to some, may mean something since Phoebe doesn’t look like a model or anything. However, even with the cuteness of her sibling relationship with Quentin, not knowing her dad, and her mom being dead, I must admit that even with each episode being less than 11 minutes long, I got bored rather quickly. For that generic comment really holds strong and true.
Quentin looks like the type of nerdy, weird guy which always is found within sci-fi productions; however, instead of being a co-star, or someone in the background, now that guy is the lead and his equally uncharismatic sister is also the lead. Leading me to question if the reason I just couldn’t get into the two of them was because I found Phoebe’s power, initially, underwhelming; because neither actor seems to have that screen presence to take on the burden of being the leads; or because I’m so used to modelesque actors that seeing two everyday people just took away from the escapism.
And allow me to acknowledge how shallow that sounds, for I fully recognize it does. But, at the same time, that is what the industry programs us to seek and want. We are programmed to expect someone who looks like Hayden Panettiere, or even Onieogou, be the lead, or someone who looks like how Gray-Cabey does now. All the while, those like Paul and Zebrowski are the co-stars in the background who we learn little about for they are just tools for the lead. Which arguably should be something mentioned in the praise section, for they are giving the average looking, Joe or Jane, a chance but, again, when you don’t have looks to compensate for talent, you are left having to be twice as good – which neither actor is. For while Quentin devolves into a conspiracy theorist, Phoebe deals with discrimination, capture, and imprisonment, and on paper, you know you should care and feel something, neither inspire a damn thing.
Overall: Stick Around
Though an odd comparison, with shows like Girl Meets World, you can see a program which may have used a familiar connection to draw you in but said connection isn’t necessarily needed for the show to be good. As for what has thus far been presented in Heroes: Reborn, even if this was just to entice us, I’m honestly left hoping that Quentin is just the guide for us to be reintroduced to familiar faces. For while this is but a mini-series, knowing the basic networks cancel at will, and don’t wait until the season finale, I definitely hope Quentin’s character goes into the background where he belongs.