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DVD Review: Heroes – Season One

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I watch a lot of TV, too much if you ask my wife, who can never use the TiVo since it seems I’m always recording something. Ask me what my top three shows for the 2006-2007 season were, they would be: Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica, and Heroes.

Sadly Ms. Mars is no longer with us and the next season of Galactica will be its last. But at least I have one bright spot to look forward to, I think, for many seasons to come — Heroes has just come off its freshmen year and it was a hit.

I remember when I first heard about the show. It was something along the lines of a comic book on TV, in a serialized drama format. After the success of the X-Men and other comic book properties on the silver screen, I was hoping that there would be a TV show that would put its own twist on the superhero concept.

Heroes is about ordinary people with extraordinary powers. It’s not the powers, though, that make the people heroes; it’s how they use them. All the standard powers are here: flight, regeneration, telepathy, time manipulation, mimicry (the ability to duplicate another hero's powers), shape shifting, invisibility and many more were shown in season one, and I’m sure we’ll see more as the series progresses.

Heroes follows the season-long serialized arc format, which other shows (The Nine, Six Degrees, etc.) this past season tried and failed at. Their stories just weren’t strong enough to keep me coming back for more. Heroes, on the other hand, masterfully used its compelling characters, comic book storytelling and a very well-planned storyline which came to a satisfying conclusion, leaving the series open-ended enough for a new arc and the return of past characters. In short, the show is extremely well written.

Most fans have their favorite character or can relate to one character in particular, and yes, I can relate most to fanboy Hiro (Masi Oka). Just like him, I’d like to have superpowers as well. But truth be told, I’d rather have Peter Petrelli’s (Milo Ventimiglia) powers and after being in proximity to another person with powers, can use them myself and add them to my repertoire.

The Heroes – Season One DVD set is as impressive as this breakthrough series. The extras are simply great and include the unaired 73-minute pilot. This was originally shown at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con and garnered rave reviews, which was promising and where Heroes started picking up momentum.

There are some big differences between this pilot and the one that aired, including the introduction of Greg Grunberg’s character, Matt Parkman (who wouldn’t be introduced until episode two); and a terrorist plot that was supposed to be the reason for the New York explosion and the main storyline for this season.

This was cut for several reasons, September 11 being among them. In the audio commentary, creator Tim Kring says that part of the reason this plot was cut was because NBC wasn’t sure if Heroes was going to be shown at 8 or 9 o’clock (the plot would’ve been more suitable for the later showing). He also reveals that he was relieved to have cut the main terrorist character out, as he didn’t want to have to write about him all season.

The unaired pilot does have some plots that would eventually surface in later episodes, such as the terrorist’s power (radioactivity), which was introduced in a different character. I liked the unaired pilot, but I can understand after the changes were made why it remained unaired.

Other extras include:

  • Deleted Scenes: There are a total of 50 cut scenes on this seven-disc set. They were interesting to watch, but I can see why they were cut.
  • Commentaries: Episodes 13-23 all have commentary by Kring and various cast members, which is always a treat, especially hearing their thoughts on the finale.
  • Making of: Behind the Scenes Look at the Making of Heroes: This very cool featurette gives you a look at what went into creating this series.
  • The Stunts: With all of these superpowers, the blue screen is almost a character itself. This featurette shows you what went into the sword fighting and blue screen techniques.
  • Profile of Artist Tim Sale: This comic book artist does all of the artwork that Issac Mendez “paints” for the series. One interesting tidbit is the fact that Sale is color-blind.

Additional extras, such as the score (about the music), a mind reader game (interactive) and a feature on special effects round out this set.

Fans of comic books, action, or good serialized drama will enjoy this show.

Grade A

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  • Athena

    I had heard somewhere that in the dvd edition, there would be a feature that allowed you to follow each character arc separately. For instance, just watch everything only about Hiro. I can’t find that on my dvd. Do you know anything about that?