Turn Back the Clock
Television Series / DVD Review
Heroes: Season One
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
First Aired On: NBC
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When the superhero television series, Heroes, first aired, I missed it. In fact, I missed at least three episodes before my brother-in-law told me that I simply had to check it out. We sat down to watch the episodes he had recorded on his DVR and I was hooked. From that point forward, I watched Heroes every week until I lost interest after the start of Season 3. Since then, I have counted Season One of Heroes as the best example of a television series involving superhuman powers that I had ever seen. I was delighted when I received the DVD set of Heroes: Season One as a gift and vowed to watch every episode all over again.
Each and every character in Heroes is an ordinary person struggling with their own personal demons - failing marriages, debt, drugs, lack of confidence, acceptance issues, lack of identity and more - when suddenly, special powers begin to manifest themselves. For example, Matt (Greg Grunberg) is a lackluster cop struggling to save his failing marriage. Assigned to the traffic detail at a murder scene, he suddenly discovers that he can hear what people are thinking. Isaac is an artist with a heroine addiction. As he slides down a desperate path, he suddenly is capable of painting the future. Claire is a high school student with the normal high school problems when she discovers that she has the power to regenerate.
While the “heroes” of the series struggle with understanding their newfound powers, an internal struggle ensues within - what should I use these powers for? Thus, the fight of good vs. evil begins as some of the characters chose paths of criminality, while others chose to right the wrongs of the world and still others chose to hide what they can do.
The first season of Heroes revolves around a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and the cheerleader that is believed to be the key to stopping the nuclear destruction of New York City, thus saving the world. In fact, that was the key line of the first season: “Save the cheerleader, save the world.” The cheerleader is the Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), whose power to regenerate makes it impossible for her to be killed. Sylar was a former watch repairman known as Gabriel Grey. His struggle with low self-esteem and his newfound ability to absorb other people’s powers push an already fragile mind over the edge, creating the serial killer who may just destroy the world.
Several characters in the first season unite to help save the cheerleader and stop Sylar. Mohinder Suresh (Sendil Ramamurthy) is one such character who has no special powers. He is a scientist, carrying on with his recently murdered father’s research regarding DNA and the possibility that genetic mutations or anomalies can create individuals with extraordinary powers. It is Dr. Suresh who eventually brings all of the characters together against Sylar. Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) has the ability to bend time and asks his friend Ando (James Kyson Lee), who has no special powers, to join him on his quest to save the cheerleader and save the world despite not knowing how to do so.
Each separately comes in contact with Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a drug addict who can paint the future. It is his paintings that persuade them of the impending doom the future has to offer if they don’t save the cheerleader. This vision is shared with Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventigmilia), a former hospice nurse searching for his place in this world who suddenly comes into special powers. Able to mimic other people’s abilities, Peter urges his brother Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) to use his ability to fly to help his newfound friends save the world. Unfortunately, Nathan is too interested in his political career to do so. Nathan’s sponsor is his worst enemy Daniel Linderman (Malcolm McDowell), who just so happens to have monetary control over a family of super-powered individuals - D.L. Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can pass himself through any matter, his wife Niki Sanders (Ali Larter) who has superhuman strength and their son Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) who can communicate with and control computer technology.
Unfortunately, in order to get to the cheerleader, they must get around her father, Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), who works for The Company, an entity established to hunt down anyone with special abilities, control these individuals and their powers and dispose of them if deemed necessary.
What I liked about Heroes is that the fate of each of Heroes’ characters is somehow intertwined with the others. In addition, the characters’ inner struggles with good vs. evil manifest themselves on a much larger scale when the fate of the world is at stake. I loved the fact that the characters are just ordinary people with problems most of us can relate to even after they have realized their full potential.
The first season of Heroes was an incredible success. Playing out like a comic book, everyone kept tuning in each week to see what would take place in the next issue. All the characters meshed well with one another and seemed very real to the viewers. Despite their special abilities, these were people they could relate to. The struggle of good versus evil is something we all experience on a smaller scale and thus, we can understand the concept as it pertains to the characters of Heroes easily.
The soundtrack of the series was created by Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin formerly of Prince and the Revolution fame. The soundtrack utilizes vocals by Shankar and was created as the musicians/composers viewed the scenes from the show. As each scene played out, compositions comprised of the character’s themes in addition to music created to represent what was taking place in the scene were blended to create the musical score of the series. This is shown in detail in the Heroes: Season One DVD’s extras.
Also available on this DVD are the pilot episode which, in my opinion, was not as good as the first episode that aired on television, an informative look at the making of Heroes and deleted scenes, which I believed were deleted for good reason.
In my opinion, the first season of Heroes was the best. All other seasons that came afterwards paled in comparison. Watching the Heroes: Season One DVD brought back memories of why I loved the show so much. Fans of comic books and interesting character development will thoroughly enjoy watching this DVD. It is the only one in the series that I deemed worthy of buying and, after viewing it again, would happily watch a third and fourth time.