Heroes – Season 1 – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Creators/Executive Producers:
Tim Kring

The Cast:
Santiago Cabrera ………. Isaac Mendez
Jack Coleman ………. Mr. Bennet a.k.a. H.R.G.
Tawny Cypress ………. Simone Deveaux
Noah Gray-Cabey ………. Micah Sanders
Greg Grunberg ………. Matt Parkman
Ali Larter ………. Niki/Jessica Sanders
Masi Oka ………. Hiro Nakamura
Hayden Panettiere ………. Claire Bennet
Adrian Pasdar ………. Nathan Petrelli
Sendhil Ramamurthy ………. Mohinder Suresh
Leonard Roberts ………. D.L. Hawkins
Milo Ventimiglia ………. Peter Petrelli

James Kyson Lee ………. Ando Masahashi
Jimmy Jean-Louis ………. The Haitian
Zachary Quinto ………. Sylar

Matthew John Armstrong ………. Ted Sprague
Clea DuVall ………. Audrey Hanson
Christopher Eccleson ………. Claude
Malcolm McDowell ………. Linderman
Missy Peregrym ………. Candice Wilmer
Eric Roberts ………. Thompson
Cristine Rose ………. Angela Petrelli
Richard Roundtree ………. Charles Deveaux
George Takei ………. Kaito Nakamura
Nora Zehtner ………. Eden McCain

The Show
Every year, television studios try to create the Next Big Hit. Often, these debuting shows try to take what was previously successful and put their own spin on it. In 2006, the majority of shows tried to capitalize on the fad of serialized shows, popularized by mega-hits Lost and 24. Most failed. One of the most promising, Smith, was yanked after 3 episodes. J.J. Abrams’ Six Degrees was rubbish. And Studio 60 was a drama about a comedy sketch show that never featured any comedy sketches, which probably confused the heck out of viewers.

But a show that did succeed managed to do so with a premise right out of a comic book and a cast of who deys. That show is of course Heroes.

Heroes, obviously, is not a truly original concept. Many of the ideas come from the approximately 70 years of comic book history and with that much source material, it’s hard to be truly original. And of course, the show is not the first network production to feature leads with super powers in the past we’ve been treated to shows like The Six-Million Dollar Man, The Greatest American Hero, My Secret Identity and The Flash. But where those shows took place in somewhat surreal environs, Heroes tries to remain grounded in something resembling “the real world”, which probably helped to pull in more casual viewers.

But in keeping with it’s science fiction/comics roots, we’ve been treated to some guest stars from that world. In volume one, we had George Takei (Star Trek), Malcolm McDowell (Planet of the Apes), Eric Roberts (um, Best of the Best?) and Christopher Eccleson (Doctor Who) in key roles, and a cameo from Stan Lee.

The key here is that the writers and actors managed to take what should probably be a losing idea and turned it into something that captured the viewer’s imagination, making it a “water cooler” show that people talked about the next day. Almost every storyline clicked for me (it’s pretty obvious which one didn’t) and I think that when you watch you’ll feel the same way.

Heroes was one of THE big buzz shows of the 2006 season, and riding the wave of Emmy nominations, one can only hope that “volume two” is even bigger than “volume one”. If you’re a fan, you’ve already got this DVD on order, and even if you’re not, I highly recommend getting this set.

Episode List
Disc One
01 “Genesis”
The first episode introduces us to the world of Heroes. Mohinder Suresh comes to New York intent on continuing his father’s genetic research and finding these “heroes”.

We meet Claire, a cheerleader who seemingly can’t be killed; Isaac, a heroin addict who can paint the future; Hiro a Japanese office worker who can teleport; Peter, a nurse who thinks he can fly and tries to prove it to his congressional candidate brother Nathan; And finally, Niki, a stripper. You’d think that her story would be interesting, but to be honest… not so much.

02 “Don’t Look Back”
This episode sets the stage for everything to come in the season, as it turns out that Hiro doesn’t so much as teleport but manipulate time. Unfortunately, he can’t control it, and jumps forward a month to New York City, where he witnesses a disaster. And we’re introduced to Matt Parkman, who doesn’t really get interesting until much, much later, but he finds a girl with his telepathic powers here.

Disc Two
03 “One Giant Leap”
Back in Japan, Hiro recruits his buddy Ando to accompany him on a road trip to the United States. Parkman encounters the Haitian, and Claire… dies? Meanwhile, Niki discovers something that would make you think that she’d become more interesting, but don’t be fooled.

04 “Collision”
Hiro and Ando have some problems in Vegas. Nathan does as well, and Matt is taken in by H.R.G. Meanwhile, Peter meets future Hiro, who looks like Iron Chef Morimoto crossed with Blade the Vampire Hunter for some reason.

05 “Hiros”
Peter and future Hiro have a conversation. Meanwhile, present day Hiro and Ando get dumped into the middle of nowhere, Nevada, where they meet the flying man, Nathan. Mohinder, meanwhile, has given up trying to search for the “heroes”. And Niki’s estranged husband D.L. makes his first appearance.

06 “Better Halves”
Hiro questions his own heroism. D.L. arrives at Niki’s home.

Disc Three
07 “Nothing to Hide”
Matt and Audrey investigate a murder. Peter asks for Nathan’s help in finding a painting, and Claire discovers that her brother has found her tape.

08 “Seven Minutes to Midnight”
At a Texas diner, Hiro meets Charlie Andrews, a girl with an eidetic memory. A boy visits Mohinder in his dreams, which is something you’d normally see explored by Benson and Stabler.

09 “Homecoming”
It’s the gathering of the heroes (kinda) as Hiro and Peter work to save Claire from Sylar.

10 “Six Months Ago”
Hiro goes back in time to try and save Charlie, as we see some of the events that led up to “Genesis”.

Disc Four
11 “Fallout” Isaac tries to paint the future without drugs. Matt and Audrey investigate the Homecoming murder. And Peter thinks that he is responsible for the explosion in New York.

12 “Godsend”
After failing to save Charlie, Hiro “loses” his powers and believes that the only way to regain them is to retrieve Kensei’s sword. Peter also has issues with his powers and works at trying to come to terms with them.

13 “The Fix”
Peter is on the trail of an invisible man. Hiro and Ando are kidnapped by… Hiro’s father. Claire and Zach look for her real parents. Micah uses his power to get a crapload of cash.

14 “Distractions”
Claude starts to mentor Peter. Claire meets her birth mother, Meredith. Hiro tries to explain his mission to his father and sister, which obviously doesn’t go well for the not-exactly-silver-tongued Hiro. After escaping, Sylar visits the Bennets.

Disc Five
15 “Run!”
Mohinder finally finds a metahuman, but unfortunately for him, it’s Sylar posing as someone else and now Mohinder is in a buddy film with his father’s killer. To make ends meet, Matt gets a job as a private bodyguard, and his first client screwed Linderman and now has Jessica on his tail.

16 “Unexpected”
The episode title is fitting, as we get several odd happenings. Wacky road trippers Sylar and Mohinder travel to find other metahumans. H.R.G. and the Haitian try to capture Claude and Peter. Matt and Ted find that some of their questions may be answered by H.R.G. And Peter faces off with Isaac, with tragic results.

17 “Company Man”
As Matt and Ted take the Bennet family hostage, we learn about the man known as H.R.G. and the company that he works for, which offers some surprising answers.

18 “Parasite”
In Las Vegas, Nathan meets up with Linderman and helps Hiro find the sword. Sylar faces off with Mohinder and Peter, with a surprise result that left people wondering what would happen when the show came back from a six week break.

Disc Six
19 “.07%”
Not a dream! Not a hoax! In this episode a Hero DIES. And 5 years into the future, Hiro and Ando meet up with… Hiro.

20 “Five Years Gone”
We’ve seen this device so many times before in science fiction and comics, so it’s no surprise that it’s used here. Hiro and Ando jump ahead five years to an alternate future where Nathan Petrelli is president, metahumans are fugitives or registered operatives, and the only one able to face off with Nathan is his brother Peter.

21 “The Hard Part”
Hiro and Ando’s determination to save the world is put to the test, and Nathan takes steps to win the election.

22 “Landslide”
Ironic this title is used since Adrian Pasdar is married to a Dixie Chick, who covered the song in 2002. Anyway, Nathan is elected to congress, Hiro learns of his heritage and trains to take down Sylar, and Parkman and H.R.G. learn the truth about the Company’s tracking system.

Disc Seven
23 “How to Stop an Exploding Man”
The first volume finishes off here as the Heroes face off with Sylar at Kirby Plaza and we find out who exactly the exploding man is.

Video:
(Presented in Widescreen Format)
NBC has started airing most of their scripted shows in HD, with those without HD getting those “annoying black bars” on the top and bottom of their screens, so it’s no surprise that we see this for Heroes. Everything looks very nice, and the colours from Tim Sale’s “Isaac” artwork pop out at you.

Audio:
(Presented in Dolby Digital)
The series (as are almost all shows not called Teletubbies or Mr. Bean is still very dialogue-centred, but there are moments in every episode that will make use of something other than the front speakers. But as always we fall back on the basic question of whether you would show off your speaker system with the show, and like just about every TV on DVD set, the answer is still “no”.

Special Features:
Audio Commentaries – You get a ton of commentaries here, covering the unaired pilot and the final twelve episodes of the season. For reference, here are the episodes and who’s talking on them:

  • “Unaired Pilot” – Tim Kring
  • “Godsend” – Jack Coleman, Leonard Roberts and Sendhil Ramamurthy
  • “The Fix” – Greg Grunberg, Hayden Panettiere and Natalie Chaidez
  • “Distractions” – Milo Ventimiglia, Zachary Quinto, Grunberg, Jeanot Szwarc, Coleman and Michael Green
  • “Run” – Greg Grunberg, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Armus and Kay Foster
  • “Unexpected” – Greg Berman, Quinto, Ramamurthy and Jeph Loeb
  • “Company Man” – Coleman, Allan Arkush and Bryan Fuller
  • “Parasite” – Arkush, Jimmy Jean-Louis and Christopher Zatta
  • “.07%” – Chuck Kim, Andrew Chambliss and Timm Keppler
  • “Five Years Gone” – Grunberg, Ramamurthy and Coleman
  • “The Hard Part” – James Kyson Lee, Noah Gray-Cabey and Ian Quinn
  • “Landslide – Masi Oka, George Takei and Matthew Armstrong
  • “How To Stop an Exploding Man” – Kring, Dennis Hammer, Arkush

Unaired Pilot – This is called the “Tim Kring Cut”, and I can’t remember if this was the pilot that floated around the internet prior to the official debut. The unaired pilot contains parts from the first two episodes, and the most obvious difference in this version is that Parkman does not rescue Molly Parker, but finds a terrorist after “the engineer”, a man who has discovered that he emits radiation. You can also get commentary from Tim Kring on this episode.

Deleted Scenes – Tons of scenes from every episode. Most of the scenes aren’t very long, and in some cases you can see that they were removed because they don’t work well with the story. Others I’d imagine were simply to cut the episode down to the proper running time.

Making Of – You know the drill here.

Visual Effects – A look at the computer effects on the show, plus a look at the relationship between these guys and Masi Oka who previously worked at ILM and is undoubtedly the most recognizable face to come out of the effects studio (if you don’t count George Lucas as a member, of course).

The Stunts – Pretty self-explanatory. The upshot of all of this is that there’s a lot of stunts and the actors were allowed to do some of them.

Profile of Artist Tim Sale – As I previously mentioned, Tim Sale is the artist who draws all of Isaac’s paintings and comics, and someone who has collaborated in the past with co-executive producer Jeph Loeb. I’ve asked the Nexus walking encyclopedias, Mathan and Jim, to help shed some light on their DC and Marvel series, but as far as this feature is concerned, they talk with Tim at his studio and discuss his relationship with Santiago Cabrera.

The Score – A look at the three-person crew who put together the music for the show. I wasn’t particularly interested in this.

Mind Reader Game– I’m sure that there’s some sort of math involved here that I can’t figure out right away, but it’s a pretty cool game, and fun to surprise your friends with.

Ratings for Heroes – Season 1
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

8.5
THE VIDEO

8.5
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

9
REPLAY VALUE

9
OVERALL
9
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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