DVD Review: Heroes Season 2: What Is & What Could Have Been

DVD Review: Heroes Season 2

Heroes Season 2 (Universal) (4 DVDs)

When reviewing the last season of Heroes, it makes one wish one had the powers of the character Hiro Nakamura and travel back in time. As the series fans know all too well, this series was savagely truncated by last year’s TV writers strike, reducing the number of episodes to 11 instead of the standard 24 to 26.

This is compounded by a comment made by creator Tim Kring. He notes that the show’s first season was about ordinary people finding out they had extraordinary powers. The second season was going to be about these now extraordinary people trying to fit in with the ordinary world. Naturally, there would have been some twists to this simplified formula, like the first season ender of Nakamura being in 17th Century Japan, but that would have been half the fun.

To be honest, what hurts is this second season had a lot going for it. First, it had the momentum of finding out just how the Petrelli Brothers managed to still be around after their particular way of saving the world? There was the question of what were they going to do with Syler? What about Mahinder Suresh’s ongoing research? What cool sci-fi/fantasy actor to make a guest cameo?

All said, even after the gutting the strike forced on the series, Heroes Season 2 held up pretty well.

One can now see that Kring has an innate ability to pull the absolutely unexpected out of his hat. Who would have thought Nakamura (Masi Oka) travel back to the time of his hero Takezo Kensei would have major implications in the present? More importantly, who’d have thought how it effected the modern world? The way Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventmiglia) is run through the paces, and even tied to Nakamura and Kensei (David Anders) is also pretty sweet. Yes, one would have loved to have learned how an gaijin wound up becoming the legendary sword saint, but one can only assume that was one of the casualties of writers strike.

What never ceases to amaze is not just the plotting, but the casting. One character that really grew was Matt Parkman. As portrayed by Greg Grunberg, this initially not-too-bright character wises up in an extremely naturalistic way (considering his circumstances). The situations Kring dropped Grunberg’s character in could have been seriously mangled in lesser hands. If this continues, one can see Parkman becoming the every-viewer hero compared to Oka becoming the uber-geek’s most relate-able character.

Another stellar performance was provided by Zachary Quinto as Sylar. In the first season, he was the ultimate boogie man; truly creepy, seriously dangerous and magnificently evil. During part of the this second season, when he’s under the thrall of the The Company, he actually has moments where he’s surprisingly sympathetic. It makes one wonder what will happen to Sylar when he takes on the role of Spock in JJ Abram’s retconned Star Trek.

Still, it’s the extra content that makes this box. Besides the expected “making of” mini-docs and mandatory commentary tracks, this set comes with some sweet add-ons.

Probably the most important is five or so sequences that might have been included if not for the strike. Another is an alternative ending to the episode “Generations,” that would have been quite intriguing in its own way. If that isn’t enough, there’s a nice fabrication of the history of Kensei and a quick sneak peak of the upcoming third season most fans should be already quite aware of.

Still, the big question is what this set would have looked like if the writers strike hadn’t happened. Fans are anxiously waiting to see what Kring has come up with for this upcoming season. One can’t help but think this is due to the incredible work he did with what he had with this season.

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