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Milk the Franchise | July 20, 2017

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Heroes and the New Definition of a Mini-Series

Heroes and the New Definition of a Mini-Series
Ron Seifried

How can you milk a franchise if the cow dried up of original ideas during the second season?

In the old days of TV, episodic series were produced for 22 shows per season. The cable-TV revolution led by The Sopranos, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and others, reduced viewing habits to 12-14 shows per year, sometimes even splitting a season in half with months in between.

Now we have the reinvention of the mini-series, a limited number of episodes to gauge critical response and more importantly, ratings. In “Heroes: Reborn,” it will be 13 episodes wrapped around one standalone story, airing fall of 2015. No word if any of the original  cast will return, since it looks like someone at NBC decided to put together the promo the day it aired.

For over 40 years, a miniseries had a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end, enabling characters to develop as the episodes proceed, with a clear conclusion at the end of its run.

For “Heroes: Reborn,” NBC is trying to either reboot or spinoff the original four-season run, with an eye toward a series pickup for additional seasons. This is all speculation of course, but why else would “Heroes” be revisited?

One reason could be that comic book storylines gaining momentum on TV these days with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”, “Constantine” and “Arrow.” But I’m leaning toward the roll-the-dice approach of a mini-series and let’s see what happens.

Eighteen months is long way off to tease a series that not many want to see return.

During this year’s Super Bowl, FOX created huge buzz with the trailer for “24: Live Another Day.”  A few weeks later, NBC follows that with the non-teaser for “Heroes: Reborn” during the Sochi Olympics, with nothing more than generic outer space shots, mood music and title overlay.

NBC execs and series creator Tim Kring may be devoid of any original ideas, but this may be a good way to stir up some interest on the web and see what the “fans” want in the new series. Who else could create innovative storylines better than the fans?

Certainly not Tim Kring and the NBC execs.

They could be trolling Reddit and other message boards right now for story ideas.

When “Heroes” ended a few years ago, not many were clamoring for a return to the world of ordinary people with superhuman abilities. The ratings were in freefall since the second season, and the audience that stayed was getting tired of the “Lost” meets “Heroes” tone the series took.

Don’t bother blaming the writers’ strike during the second season. The shows decline was forecast in the anticlimactic season 1 finale, and never fully recovered.

No, this is an attempt to reinvent the mini-series for the 21st Century.

But does anyone care after years of almost no online chatter? I’m betting against this reboot.



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