Pressure is on for 'Heroes' as hit show faces its second season

Hal Boedeker
The Orlando Sentinel (MCT)


Airtime: Mondays, 9pm ET
Cast: Santiago Cabrera, Ali Larter, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Sendhil Ramamurth, Milo Ventimiglia
MPAA rating: N/A
Subtitle: Series Premiere
Network: NBC
US release date: 2006-09-25

NBC found a lifeline with "Heroes," the biggest new hit last season. The success will reverberate with the DVD release Aug. 28, at the Emmys Sept. 16 and in many new fall series that feature superheroes.

Then there's the main event: Season two starts Sept. 24. And yet series creator Tim Kring says he's not feeling pressure to top last season.

"It's pressure to keep it going," Kring says. "This particular show has become a show defined by its ability to defy your expectations. People want that experience of watching the show and not knowing where it's going to take them."

Here are a few second-season destinations anyway: Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Egypt, Haiti and Ukraine. "Heroes" will introduce more everyday characters with astonishing powers.

"The message of hope caught people's attention," Kring says. "There's something hopeful about the idea we have these abilities, and abilities to connect around the world."

NBC Universal hopes to connect a vital property with more consumers. Universal Media Studios produces the series, which is a model for how NBC hopes to expand its business online and internationally.

"A hit does drive the business," says Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment. "Then we can build so much of this around it."

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is releasing the first-season DVD weeks before season two begins. The goal: gain viewers who haven't watched and please fans with extra content.

"There's like 50 extended and deleted scenes," says Masi Oka, who plays Hiro. "You get to see the behind-the-scenes things, the making of, Tim Kring's commentary on the 72-minute pilot that we premiered at Comic-Con." (NBC aired a shorter version.)

Kring promotes the HD-DVD that allows fans to follow various threads in the show. Early on, Kring strove to have all the characters in every episode. In season two, the storytelling will change a bit.

"I think we can expect to spend a little more time this year on fewer story lines per episode that allow us to highlight certain characters each week," Kring says. "By extension, some characters will be left out of the episodes each week."

"Heroes" will produce 24 episodes next season. The plan is for them to end in April. "Heroes: Origins," a six-episode anthology series, will air in May and introduce characters separate from the main series.

At the Emmys next month, "Heroes" will compete for best drama and Oka is up for supporting dramatic actor.

"I'm just definitely floored and humbled," Oka says. His take on the role: "kind of the average everyman that viewers can imagine themselves being."

Kring says HBO's "The Sopranos" is the show to beat. "Heroes" received eight nominations, and Kring says any victories will help a show that many viewers dismissed as fantasy or sci-fi.

"Those kinds of shows are not always associated with critical acclaim or with awards," Kring says. "It stamps the show with a certain mark of quality that will attract new viewers."

A surer sign of success than awards: Other programmers have studied the "Heroes" model. Characters with extraordinary powers can be found in ABC's "Pushing Daisies," The CW's "Reaper" and CBS' "Moonlight." NBC will schedule two such series with "Heroes" on Mondays: "Chuck" and "Journeyman."

"We've got to be a little careful that just because a "Heroes" works in season one that 10 shows like that can work," says Steve McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment.

And there are limits to how far NBC Universal can extend the "Heroes" brand. What about a theme-park ride?

"No one has talked to me yet," Kring says.

He dismisses the idea of a movie. "The show is doing everything that a movie would do," Kring says. "I'm not sure what story we would tell."

But Oka cites the success of "The Simpsons Movie": "If you want a `Heroes' movie, please keep us afloat for another 14 seasons."





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.