Amid a wave of nostalgic series revivals, bringing “Heroes” back to life probably made as much sense as any. Not only was the show on recently enough as to still have fans in all the coveted demographics, but its formula created ample opportunities for a reboot. Yet the Jan. 21 finale of “Heroes Reborn” simply reinforced a sense that while the show had its moments — and even ended on a cryptic note, practically begging for another installment — this was a concept that, unlike the cheerleader, just wasn’t worth saving.
Written by series creator Tim Kring and Zach Craley, the finale (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched) did contain some mildly stirring scenes of noble sacrifice, with Zachary Levi’s character, Luke, going all Human Torch, sort of, to try to stave off the encroaching solar flares; and Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), finally, serving as the conduit for his grandkids (Robbie Kay, Danika Yarosh) to save the world.
The main problem — which has dogged “Heroes” long before this incarnation rolled around — was a sense that the producers are simply making it up as they go along, including why exactly the whole “Wonder Twin powers, activate!” maneuver would do the trick in the first place. The latest edition also couldn’t match its predecessor in terms of casting or compelling characters, and largely squandered most of the holdovers who were lured back to participate. Indeed, by the time it was all over, there were so many Evos it became hard to keep track of them all, as if Oprah Winfrey were doling out superpowers.
On a more basic level, the show’s time-travel concept — with the villain, Erica (Rya Khilstedt), planning to create a new world nearly 8,000 years in the future — was not only head-scratching but yielded a lot of shoddy-looking green-screen work. Nor did it help that the best new character, Miko (Kiki Sukezane), turned out to be a video-game construct, although the animation sequences featuring her as Katana Girl remained a nice visual change of pace throughout.
As noted, the run closed with a cryptic threat to the twins that their father would be returning, and the character of Quentin (Henry Zebrowski) rather ominously warning, “This is just the beginning.” Truth be told, whether the series has a future will likely depend on how well NBC fares through the winter and spring, as well as how much enthusiasm the network feels for its pilot development. But if there is another volume, that won’t be a very flattering commentary on either. Because strictly as a creative proposition, to paraphrase the song, we don’t need another “Heroes.”