On The Rebirth Of Heroes (Reborn)

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Isa Gunther takes a look at the past, present and future of Heroes.


Ten years ago, the original Heroes (known in some circles as Heroes Prime), was the hottest thing on television. At it's peak, 14 million viewers tuned in every week. By the time it ended in 2010, it was the second most pirated television show, second only to LOST. By the time it was canceled, the viewership had dropped to around four million. Reasons for the drop in viewership were varied: the writing took a noticeable downturn, and other, non-live ways of viewing, such as DVR took over and those new ways of viewing were not counted in the Neilson Ratings. Whatever the causes, Heroes was one of the thirteen victims to fall to the NBC purge of its shows that year (historian's note—the only long standing show that survived, other than the crime dramas, was Chuck, and that only lasted one more season).

Fans, actors, and crew alike were stunned. No one had expected that NBC would cancel such a powerhouse show with such a loyal fanbase. The last season ended on a cliffhanger of Heroes-verse-changing proportion. About a year later, NBC merged with ComCast, a company that was stated to have an interest in bringing Heroes back. There were talks, but nothing happened until the Olympics of 2014. Then in 2015, Heroes Reborn was announced.



People were ecstatic. Heroes had become one of he few shows to be canceled and to come back. With shows such as Star Trek, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and others, Heroes was in very good company. Over the course of the year, fans and media outlets pored over every casting decision and every rumor while production began in earnest in April. By the time the show, now called Heroes Reborn, started, the fandom awoke and grew. By the time the show ended, the ratings had garnered an average of about four million live viewers over the course of the series, with a total viewership of around seven million. By any other show's standards, especially on NBC, this would probably have been a death sentence; fans started talking about ways to “save” the show, and online media expressed disappointment in the show, along with a lack of surprise that there would be no season two.

The trick of it was: Heroes Reborn was never meant to get a “second season.” It was designed and written as a mini-series, with a set number of episodes, and a beginning, middle, and end to the story. The mini-series was completed and all the episodes have aired. It was not canceled. It was just never meant to continue. Regardless, media outlets reported that it had been canceled.

Recently, the creator and showrunner, Tim Kring, released this statement:
“I want to sincerely thank all of our fantastic ‘Heroes Reborn’ fans for watching our latest volume...I’ve said from the beginning that ‘Heroes Reborn’ would be 13 episodes long, with a beginning, middle and end. I know word has been circulating that ‘Heroes Reborn’ has been ‘canceled,’ but I want to assure you that tonight’s finale is exactly the ending we’ve had planned from the very beginning. I’ve also stated that if there was going to be more story, it would not be part of ‘Heroes Reborn,’ but rather some future volume with a brand new story. Let me just say clearly for the record — the ‘Heroes’ universe is designed to be large and multi-platformed.. I think you will see that tonight’s final episode clearly leaves the door open for us to tell more stories within the ‘Heroes’ saga. We would be honored if you came along for that ride with us when we do. Until then I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to the many fans of ‘Heroes’ and ‘Heroes Reborn’ for your loyal and unwavering support. Stay tuned. There is more to come.”
Tim Kring

It's rare that a showrunner makes a direct statement to fans, without going through the network or publicity departments. Even more interesting is what he says. He very blatently states that, in addition to reminding readers that the show was meant to be a miniseries from the start, “there is more to come.” He further invites fans to join again “when” they “tell more stories in the Heroes saga.” Even NBC has broken its traditional silence on the future of the franchise, with Bob Greenblatt clarifying previous cryptic statements about the show by saying: "The door remains open for future installments of this beloved series..."

In short, Heroes is not dead yet. Take heart, Heroes fans, and keep watching for more news. There is still hope that there will be more to come.

Isa Gunther

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