Wednesday, September 12, 2007

HEROES – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

I missed this on television, but I’ve just watched HEROES – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (2006/07) on DVD, and I have to admit that I’m impressed and pleasantly surprised.

Essentially, the debut season of HEROES chronicles the interconnected lives of a group of people with extraordinary powers – invulnerability, flight, precognition, invisibility, etc. – as they attempt to prevent (or cause) a nuclear catastrophe in the heart of New York City.

Smartly-written scripts that give viewers credit for some intelligence, extremely good acting, and solid Hollywood production values combine in what may be the most challenging network television series since the first season of LOST – and unlike that show, HEROES actually makes a point of rewarding it’s audience with occasional answers to its many questions. Not everything is neatly resolved, however, and there are plenty of surprises and twists in the show, which gleefully bounces around within its own timeline, keeping viewers on their metaphorical toes.

The cast, which includes Ali Larter (JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK), Adrian Pasdar (NEAR DARK), Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia (STAY ALIVE), Zachary Quinto (the new Spock) and Jack Coleman, is uniformly exceptional, and the genre-friendly guest stars include George Takei (STAR TREK), Richard Roundtree (SHAFT), Christopher Eccelston (DR. WHO), Eric Roberts (BEST OF THE BEST), and Malcolm McDowell (TIME AFTER TIME), adding considerably to the show’s geek factor. My personal favorite character is the time-bending teleporter Hiro (Masi Oka), who not only lives up to his name, but brings considerable charm and humanity to the show.

Universal’s standard DVD set presents all 23 episodes of the premiere season in razor sharp 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Each episode features deleted scenes, and many have commentary tracks by creator Tim Kring and various cast and crew members. The set also includes several behind-the-scenes featurettes, a profile of comic book artist Tim Sale (whose art is featured prominently in the show) and an extended, 73-minute "director’s cut" of the pilot episode.

HEROES manages to take the Marvel Comics-styled super-hero soap opera and bring it to television in a modern, stylish manner. While the fanboy in me wishes that at least one of them would put on some spandex (preferably Larter), I have to admit that Kring and his crew have really made the super-hero genre work for 21st Century television, and I can’t recommend this set highly enough. If you’re already a fan, you’ll want this set for the bountiful extras, and if you missed this on TV, like I did, you really need to check it out. It’s great fantasy television.

BUY: Heroes - Season One