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Monday, September 22, 2008

"Heroes" season 3: The Dark Blight

"Heroes" relaunches tonight for its third season — a fact that caught me off guard when I found out last week. After the catastrophic crappiness of last season, I suffered a bout of series-selective amnesia, and as such almost completely forgot that a show called "Heroes" ever existed. It took typing the word "amnesia" just now for me to even recall that lead hero Peter "I can crush a virus in my hand" Petrelli also suffered from some very convenient memory loss for most of that monumentally mundane season.

Ah yes, now the floodgates are open. I'm starting to remember much of what went down in that uberly unpleasant string of episodes. The virus the kills 96% of the world. Sylar trying to get his powers back. Kristen Bell as an electricity shooting baddie. The Wonder Twins who got a lot of cloying airtime before getting snuffed by Sylar. Hiro stuck in feudal Japan. That white guy posing as a Japanese guy who turned out to be immortal. Kristen Bell as an electricity shooting baddie. Nathan Petrelli getting assassinated. Niki dying in a fire or an explosion or an airline crash or something. Kristen Bell as an electricity shooting baddie.

It's safe to say my memory favors some parts over others. Overall, though, it was a tremendous squandering of the goodwill that the cast and series creator Tim Kring had built up in their astounding first season. Fans expecting the "Heroes" universe to expand and build upon itself instead got bland new characters and reheated plot lines. The writers strike and its dastardly effects on production didn't help, sure, but even if Kring and Co. rushed things a little in preparation for a work slowdown, their initial product should've been strong enough to withstand a little corner-cutting. It wasn't.

So now we get Season Three, which, in a bid to elicit a little excitement from the fanbase, is being dubbed "Heroes: Villains." The season premiere has been ready since at least July, when it was screened for the supergeeks at Comic Con — in fact, Herc over at Ain't It Cool News has a review and a bevy of spoilers for you here — and is part of a much-hyped two-hour event at 7 o'clock tonight. I'll be watching, of course ... but whether or not I remember it a few months from now, we'll just have to wait and see.

I would love to eat some crow on this one and enjoy an amazing season of "Heroes." Coming after a summer that gave us both "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight," fans are ready for a truly great television series about superheroes. Season One hinted at it. Season Two failed miserably. Let's see what they give us next.

"Heroes" Season 3 two-hour premiere event starts at 7 p.m. on NBC.

Adam Reinhard,

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