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Reviewed by Will Harris
should have seen it coming after the very first episode of “Heroes: Season 2.” Way back on Sept. 24, 2007, I said of the season premiere, “I wouldn’t say this week’s episode had me going, ‘Wow, thank God ‘Heroes’ is back!’ I’m glad it is, of course, but there wasn’t any one moment which made me go, ‘Now THIS is why I love this show!’” But, really, how was I to know that this was a problem that would recur throughout the entire season?
A show of hands, please: is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what a disappointment the second season of “Heroes” was? Probably not, especially given that the show’s creator, Tim Kring, made a very public apology within an interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” acknowledging the issues with the way the season began. “Heroes: Season 2” is now out on DVD, and even though several months have passed since these episodes originally aired, re-watching them still finds the same awful truth: Kring and company really dropped the ball when it came to maintaining the momentum of Season One. It’s not that Season Two is so awful, you understand; there were a lot of great concepts bouncing around within these 11 episodes. The problem was that there were quite a few flaws to be had as well.
Take the Bennett family, for instance. When the season began, they were a totally normal family for the first time in the history of the show, with HRG (Jack Coleman) taking a job at Copy Kingdom and Claire (Hayden Panettiere) heading off to start a new life at a new high school. Seeing HRG wipe the floor with the punk-ass manager of the copy shop was genius, and when Brother Voodoo -- oh, sorry, The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis) -- came back into the picture, it looked like things were going to get pretty awesome. But, then, Claire’s storyline found her thoroughly incapable of keeping her powers a secret, and then turned into a dreamy romance with a kid in her class who’s sprouted wings, and the schmaltz level went into the red. Similarly, the idea of Hiro (Masi Oka) being transported back to feudal Japan at the end of Season One was awesome, but despite the interesting concept of finding out that his childhood hero, Takezo Kensei, was actually a white dude from the U.K., this, too, descended into a romantic subplot that carried on for way too long. Tied into this was the tale of Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and his amnesia, which also ended up dragging pretty hard, and let’s not even get started on the whole “My Two Dads 2007” plot line with Matt (Greg Grunberg), Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), and Molly (Adair Tishler), which only got interesting when Matt’s dad came into the picture.
So what did work? The new characters. I’ve got two words for you: Kristen Bell. And here’s two more: Stephen Tobolowsky. Playing daughter and daddy, Bell and Tobolowsky definitely succeeded in keeping the series alive and kicking, with Tobolowsky serving as a representative of The Company and Bell using her flashy powers of electricity to take on all comers. When Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) is sent by his mother, Nikki (Ali Larter), to live with family in New Orleans, we’re introduced to his cousin, Monica (Dana Davis), who turns out to have the ability to mimic any physical activity she witnesses; this results in a lot of highly entertaining scenes when she figures out how to utilize her abilities. Unfortunately, the development of Monica’s grandmother, Nana Dawson, was virtually nonexistent, leaving poor Nichelle Nichols wasted on the show. (Fortunately, George Takei was treated better by the writers when he returned to play Mr. Nakamura for a few episodes.) Lastly, although the brother-sister duo of Maya and Alejandro received a lot of verbal abuse during the season, their mere existence provided us with some of the best Sylar moments of the season.
Is “Heroes: Season 2” worth seeing? Of course it is. And is it as disappointing as everyone would’ve had you believe last year? Yep, it’s that, too. Overall, the best ongoing plot thread for the season involved The Company and their research on the Shanti virus; even when the momentum waned on other storylines, that one always held strong and remained fascinating. Let us hope that Season Three takes its cue from there and – God willing – keeps things moving along at a rapid clip.
Special Features: Those who never got around to checking in on the various online viral campaigns for “Heroes” will get a kick out of the pair of faux documentaries, “Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint” and “The Drucker Files.” The latter is particularly interesting, given that it focuses on a character who, at least as of this writing, has yet to appear anywhere other than in the online graphic novels created for the show. Also included is the promo featurette that hyped Season Two, as well as a new one to promote the upcoming third season. The biggest deal, however, is the inclusion of the alternate ending to the season finale, which is followed by a featurette giving us a clue how the season would’ve progressed had the writer’s strike not gotten in the way of things. It’s somehow appropriate that a sci-fi show would present us with a possible alternate reality, but whether or not it would’ve turned Season Two around, it’s still interesting to get a feel for how things would’ve played out. Additionally, Blu-ray owners will get access to the same features made available on the first season set, including video commentaries and "Heroes Connections."