A group of disparate individuals all begin to manifest strange abilities. It’s hardly an original idea. George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series of books has a not dissimilar theme, as does The 4400. Marvel Comics' New Universe from the '80s (shortly to be reborn as newuniversal) dealt with the emergence of super-powered humans on earth. Still, when a show is as entertaining as this one, who cares?
The opening onscreen text gives the show an epic feel, and the fact it’s billed as "Chapter One: Genesis" only enhances that.
The tale starts in India where Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor, learns of his father's death in New York. His father had been looking for the next step in human evolution and Suresh heads to the U.S., not only to find out what happened to his father, but to continue his quest as well. He takes his father's old apartment and gets a job driving a cab.
Also in New York are a male nurse, Peter Petrelli, who has a recurring dream of flying and his politician brother who is running for Congress. Can Peter really fly? That’s a mystery the episode waits until the end to reveal. It’s an unexpected twist that nicely wrong-foots the viewer's expectations.
In Las Vegas we encounter single mum Niki Sanders, who makes ends meet by stripping online. She has a serious money problem, with members of the mob looking to collect. When a couple of the local hoods catch her, they’re looking for more than monetary payment. Unfortunately for them, there is more to Niki than meets the eye and when she regains consciousness, she finds them not just dead but slaughtered. Did she do it? Or was it something she sees in the mirror that looks like her? This is certainly one of the most interesting elements of this first episode and leaves you wanting to find out more about Ms. Sanders and her unusually intelligent son.
Clare Bennett is a cheerleader in Odessa, Texas, who appears to be indestructible. Falls can’t kill her (although they do dislocate her joints) and fire can’t either. There are plenty of mysteries surrounding Claire as well, not the least of which is how does a cheerleader discover she’s impervious to harm in the first place? And why is she getting one of the nerds from college to video her attempts at self-destruction when she wants no one to know?