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Heroes is an American science fiction television drama series created by Tim Kring, which premiered on NBC on September 25, 2006. The series tells the stories of ordinary people who discover superhuman abilities, and how these abilities take effect in the characters' lives. The series emulates the aesthetic style and storytelling of American comic books, using short, multi-episode story arcs that build upon a larger, more encompassing arc. The series is produced by Universal Media Studios in association with Tailwind Productions, and it is filmed primarily in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker.

Three complete seasons have aired, and the fourth premiered on September 21, 2009. The critically acclaimed first season's run of 23 episodes garnered an average of 14.3 million viewers in the United States, receiving the highest rating for any NBC drama premiere in five years. The second season of Heroes attracted an average of 13.1 million viewers in the U.S., and marked NBC's sole series among the top 20 ranked programs in total viewership for the 2007–2008 season. Heroes has garnered a number of awards and nominations, including Primetime Emmy awards, Golden Globes, People's Choice Awards and British Academy Television Awards.

A digital-internet extension of the series, Heroes 360 Experience, later rebranded as Heroes Evolutions, was created to explore the Heroes universe and provides insight into the show's mythology. Other official Heroes media include magazines, action figures, tie-in and interactive websites, a mobile game, a novel, clothing and other merchandise. In the fall of 2008, NBC Digital Entertainment released a series of online content for the summer, including more original web content, wireless iTV interactivity, graphic novels available for mobile viewing and webisodes.

Synopsis

The ploot of Heroes is designed to be similar to the stories of comic books with small story arcs built into the series' overall large story arc plot. Each season of Heroes is designed to involve ordinary people who discover extraordinary super powers, and how these abilities take effect in the character's daily lives.

Season one

Volume 1: Genesis



Season one featured 23 episodes that were broadcast starting September 25, 2006 collectively as volume one, Genesis. The series went on hiatus twice; first from December 4, 2006 to January 22, 2007, and again from March 5 to April 23, 2007, with the season finale airing on May 21, 2007. The volume begins as a seemingly ordinary group of people gradually become aware that they have special abilities. Events illustrate their reactions to these powers, and how the discovery affects their personal and professional lives. At the same time, several ordinary individuals are investigating the origins and extent of these abilities. Mohinder Suresh, a geneticist, continues his late father's research into the biological source of the change, while Noah Bennet represents a secret organization known only as "The Company". While coping with these new abilities, each of the characters is drawn, willingly or unwillingly, into the Company's conspiracy to control superpowered people and into a race to stop an explosion from destroying New York Citymarker.

Season two

Volume 2: Generations

Season two featured volume two, Generations, and began on September 24, 2007. Volume two begins four months after the events of Kirby Plaza. The main plot arc of Generations deals with the Company and its research on the Shanti virus. This research is explored through the Company's founders, whose identities are revealed, as well as through the effects of various strains of the virus. The "heroes" ultimately come together in an attempt to stop the release of a deadly strain of the virus and avert a global pandemic.

Season three

Volume 3: Villains

Season three featured 25 episodes that aired beginning on September 22, 2008. The season comprised volumes three and four, titled Villains and Fugitives respectively. The lead-in to Villains showed Sylar regaining his lost powers, shown as the final scene of the Generations finale. Tim Kring said that the new volume would bring a cadre of villains to the show, hence the title. Volume three began with the assassination attempt on Nathan Petrelli, and the consequences it has. In addition, several villains escape from the confines of Level 5, and the Company attempts to recapture them. Arthur Petrelli heals from systemic nerve damage with the help of Adam Monroe's healing abilities and eventually recruits a few of the villains (Flint Gordon Jr., Knox, and Daphne Millbrook) while later luring in Mohinder Suresh, Nathan Petrelli, Tracy Strauss, Elle Bishop, and Sylar. Their objective is to create a formula to give people abilities but after many failures they soon realize they need to find the "catalyst", which is contained within a person.

Volume 4: Fugitives

The second part of the series titled Fugitives involves what happens after Nathan fails to produce the formula. After the destruction of Primatech and Pinehearst, the Heroes attempt to lead normal lives until Nathan initiates his plan to round up all people with abilities. Meanwhile, Sylar begins the search for his real parents. Throughout the way, the Heroes are guided by Rebel, later revealed to be Micah Sanders. In the finale, Nathan is killed by Sylar in an intense duel. Peter, who steals Sylar's shape-shifting ability in the duel, uses it to disguise himself as the President and tranquilize Sylar. With Sylar's unconscious body and a dead Nathan, Matt is instructed to alter Sylar's mind to believe he is Nathan, with Sylar's acquired ability enabling him to fully embody Nathan's personality and gain his memories and form.

Season four

Volume 5: Redemption

On May 4, 2009, NBC confirmed renewal of Heroes for a fourth season consisting of 18 to 20 episodes. The season began with a 2 hour premiere on September 21, 2009. The fourth season contains volume five, Redemption. Madeline Zima joined the cast as Gretchen, Claire's new friend in college. Rick Worthy will have a recurring role, playing Matt's new police partner, an experienced and capable Los Angeles cop. Robert Knepper joins the cast as Samuel, a new villain. Ray Park has reportedly also been cast "for a sizeable arc". After episode eleven ended on the NBC broadcast on November 30, 2009, they announced that Heroes would return with new episodes on January 4, 2010.

Webseries

On July 14, 2008 (in between seasons 2 and 3), the first Heroes webseries, Going Postal, was released. The trilogy of online-only videos introduces Echo DeMille, a seemingly ordinary mailman with an extraordinary ability. The three-part series is written and directed by the same creative team behind the main series. On November 10, 2008 (During Season 3), the second Heroes webseries, Destiny, was released. This is the first of many more webisodes sponsored by Sprint. This series is a tetralogy. Destiny introduces Santiago, chosen by the fans. Santiago wonders if his newfound abilities are either a miracle or something else. On the streets of Limamarker, Perumarker, he discovers his powers. On December 15, 2008, the third Heroes webseries, The Recruit, was released. The Recruit introduces Rachel Mills, a marine who survives the explosion at Pinehearst. This follows the finale of Volume Three. On December 22, 2008, the fourth Heroes webseries, Hard Knox, was released. Hard Knox flashes back to 18 months ago, to a time when Matt Parkman knew the villain Knox before his abilities began to manifest. It was originally part of the episode "Villains", but was cut due to time constraints. In April, Nowhere Man picks up where the third season leaves off, and focuses on the life of Eric Doyle. On September 28, 2009, Slow Burn began airing along side Season 4 with multiple writers. It showed behind-the-scenes goings-on of the "Sullivan Bros. Carnival" as it follows the character of Lydia, revealing she has a pyrokinetic daughter named Amanda whom she discovers is in trouble and tries to help.

Cast

Originally, Kring designed the series to have an ever-shifting cast. However, his motivation changed when he realized how popular the original cast was with audiences; therefore he brought back most of the first season cast for the second season, with a few additions who received star billing. In its first season, the show features an ensemble cast of twelve main characters making it the third largest cast in American primetime television behind Desperate Housewives and Lost. Although NBC's first season cast page listed only ten characters, Leonard Roberts (D.L. Hawkins), who first appeared in the series' fifth episode, was an additional member of the original full-time cast. In episode eleven of the first season, Jack Coleman (Noah Bennet) was upgraded from a recurring role to become the twelfth full-time cast member.

The initial season had 12 major roles getting star billing. Hayden Panettiere portrayed high school cheerleader Claire Bennet who has the ability to spontaneously regenerate. Jack Coleman played her father Noah Bennet, an agent for The Company. Santiago Cabrera played the troubled addict Isaac Mendez who could paint the future. Tawny Cypress portrayed Simone Deveaux, an art dealer and skeptic. Greg Grunberg played LAPD police officer Matt Parkman who could read people's minds. Ali Larter played Niki Sanders, an internet stripper with a severe dissociative disorder and super strength. Leonard Roberts played Niki's husband D.L. Hawkins, an ex-convict who could pass through solid matter. Noah Gray-Cabey played Micah Sanders, Niki and D.L.'s young son who could communicate with and control digital technology. Masi Oka portrayed space-time manipulator Hiro Nakamura. Adrian Pasdar played Nathan Petrelli, a congressional candidate with the ability to fly. Sendhil Ramamurthy played geneticist Mohinder Suresh. Milo Ventimiglia portrayed hospice nurse Peter Petrelli, with the ability to mimic abilities of other posthumans.

During the first two seasons, some characters were written out to make room for new characters with new stories. Simone was the first major character to be written out, dying near the end of season one. DL became a guest star after the events of the first season's finale, making two appearances throughout season two. Isaac Mendez was also written out, dying at the hands of Sylar, which was shown during Hiro Nakamura's time travelling expedition to New York earlier in season one. New characters added during season two included Maya Herrera, played by Dania Ramirez, a fugitive with the ability to emit a deadly virus; Adam Monroe, a 400-year-old Englishman and legendary warrior Takezo Kensei with the ability to regenerate, portrayed by David Anders; Monica Dawson, portrayed by Dana Davis, a restaurant worker with the ability to mimic any physical movements she sees; and Elle Bishop, a sadistic sociopath with the ability to generate electricity portrayed by Kristen Bell. Two recurring characters from season one, Sylar, portrayed by Zachary Quinto, and Ando Masahashi, portrayed by James Kyson Lee, were upgraded to main characters in season two.

Starting in season three, recurring character Angela Petrelli, portrayed by Cristine Rose, was promoted to a main character. Elle, Adam and Micah were removed from the main cast. Monica Dawson did not appear after scenes including her were cut. Niki was also written out but actress Ali Larter remained on the show portraying a new character Tracy Strauss, Niki's triplet sister with the power to freeze objects with a touch.

For the fourth season, a new character Samuel (portrayed by Robert Knepper) has been added. Originally cast as a recurring part, the part has been changed to a starring role.

Production

The show is produced by Aron Eli Coleite and Lori Motyer and co-produced by Cathy Mickel Gibson.

Conception

Heroes began development early in 2006, when Tim Kring, creator of NBC's Crossing Jordan, came up with the show's concept. Kring wanted to create a "large ensemble saga" that would connect with the audience. He began thinking about how big, scary and complicated he felt the world is, and wanted to create a character-driven series about people who could do something about it. Kring felt that a cop or medical drama did not have characters that were big enough to save the world. He came up with the thought of superheroes; ordinary people who would discover extraordinary abilities, while still rooted in the real world and in reality. Casting directors Jason La Padura and Natalie Hart brought forth a cast of new faces such as Milo Ventimiglia who described the pilot as a "character drama about everyday people with a heightened reality." A heightened reality that was brought to light through the work of production designer Ruth Ammon. Kring wanted the series to have touchstones that involved the characters and the world they lived in.

Before he began putting his ideas together, he spoke with Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof, with whom he had worked for three years on Crossing Jordan. Kring credits Lindelof for giving him ideas on how to pitch the series to the network and advice on the lessons he (Lindelof) learned about working on a serialized drama. The two still speak and support each other's projects. When Kring pitched the idea for Heroes to the NBC network, he described the network's reaction as "excited...very supportive." He comments that he has been partners with NBC for some time based on his six year run as showrunner for Crossing Jordan. When he pitched the pilot, he described every detail, including the cliffhanger ending. When NBC executives asked him what was going to happen next, Kring responded, "Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out." After the project was greenlit, a special 73-minute version of the pilot was first screened to a large audience at the 2006 Comic Con in San Diegomarker. It was initially reported that this unaired pilot would not be released, however it was included on the first season DVD set.

Episode format

Episodes have a distinct structure: following a recap of relevant events, each show begins with a cold open, which is sometimes the beginning of a scene that was introduced in the previous week's episode. Most then provide a philosophical voice-over by character Mohinder Suresh, occasionally relating to the title or theme of the episode. At a dramatic juncture, the screen cuts to the title graphic, which shows the Earth turning into a solar eclipse, featuring an instance of Baily's beads, with the Heroes logo and a musical interlude written by Kring himself. The episode title is usually introduced after the title scene, which is followed by a commercial break. The episode title is usually presented on a mundane object within the scene following the first commercial break. The title is presented as a chapter, with each episode receiving a chapter number, which correlates to the episode number within the volume. The opening credits generally appear alphabetically by last name over the scenes that immediately follow. Several characters' stories are shown throughout the episode. Sometimes these stories are stand alone events, while at other times character stories intertwine and cross over. At this point, a closing voiceover is provided by Suresh, and most episodes end with a suspenseful twist or cliffhanger, revealed just seconds before a smash cut to a "to be continued" graphic.

Writing

When the writing team works on an episode, each writer takes a character and writes the individual scenes surrounding them. These stories are then combined and given to the episode writer. This system allows every writer to contribute to every episode, and enables the writing team to finish scripts sooner, so the filming crew can shoot more scenes at a location. Tim Kring describes the writing process as a collaborative one and states that the collaboration process is important because production needs to shoot several scenes at a single location. In order to do this, several scripts have to be ready. Jesse Alexander, co-producer and writer, explains that this process is important in a serialized drama because one has to know where each character's development is heading.

The second season coincided with the WGA writers' strike, meaning only 11 out of the planned 24 episodes were produced. This forced the producers to redesign the season to encompass only the Generations volume out of the three planned. The planned third volume, Exodus, which was originally designed to be a story arc reflecting the effects of the release of strain 138 of the Shanti virus, was canceled. The planned fourth volume, Villains, was changed to the third volume and moved into season three. Scenes from the volume two finale "Powerless", were reshot to reflect the cancellation of the Exodus volume, and to tie up all the loose plot storylines of Generations.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Heroes creator Tim Kring commented on criticisms of season two, and the series' 15% decline in ratings. Kring said that he felt he had made mistakes with the direction of season two. He had thought that the audience was looking for a "build-up of characters and the discovery of their powers", in contrast to season one, when viewers were instead looking for "adrenaline." Kring also outlined what he felt were problems with plot development, stating that the second season "took too long to get to the big-picture story", explaining that Peter's vision of the viral armageddon should have occurred in the first episode instead of the seventh. He feels that it would have been better to introduce new characters within the context of the main storyline, as with Elle, rather than in unattached arcs such as that of Maya and Alejandro. Kring also admitted that he should have resolved the "Hiro in Japan" storyline much more quickly, and that the romantic stories are not working well. With regards to Claire and West, and Hiro and Yaeko, he said, "I've seen more convincing romances on TV. In retrospect, I don't think romance is a natural fit for us."

Tim Molloy from TV Guide reported that Heroes would return to its roots with the fourth volume,Fugitives, in an effort to attract new viewers and regain those who gave up on the show due to too many characters and plotlines. Fugitives begins with Nathan Petrelli telling the president about the existence of individuals who possess superhuman abilities. The president authorizes Nathan to capture such individuals, and the majority of the main characters are rounded up, with the exception of Sylar, who escapes Nathan's agents while attempting to locate his biological father. The heroes receive help from mysterious ally called Rebel, later revealed to be Micah Sanders.

In November 2008, NBC fired Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb from the production staff of Heroes due to creative differences and budget problems. As a result, Tim Kring would refocus the series on character development and simple storytelling. However, a high-ranking insider told TV Guide that rather than pressure from NBC or Universal Media responding to recent plummeting ratings, it was Kring himself who fired Alexander and Loeb because the duo refused to continue character-driven stories that made the first season popular from the start. In December 2008, Bryan Fuller signed a 2-year deal with Universal Media Studios after the cancellation of his ABC series Pushing Daisies. He rejoined the writing staff of Heroes starting with the 20th episode of Season Three and had a "key role in the writing and direction" of the series. However, on June 22nd it was revealed that Fuller left Heroes to work on other projects. Fuller had recently written a part for Pushing Daisies actress Swoosie Kurtz as a woman named Millie, a one-time character who might be promoted to a recurring character on Heroes. On April 28, 2009, writer/director/producer Greg Beeman was fired by NBC.

Music

Music from the first season is composed by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, with music engineer Michael Perfitt and vocals provided by Shankar. Each episode averages thirty to thirty-five minutes of music. Melvoin and Coleman became involved with Heroes from their previous work with executive producer Allan Arkush. Tim Kring gave general instructions to the pair, including the emotion and direction for each character. Kring wanted incredibly unusual music and gave Wendy and Lisa a lot of freedom and permission to experiment. In the pilot episode, Kring suggested that a "dreamy" cue be used in the scene involving Claire Bennet running into a burning train. The "dreamy" cue has since become a signature piece of the show.

Melvoin and Coleman developed specific musical cues for each character. Claude's theme involved wind and voices to create the feeling of a ghost-like presence. Hiro Nakamura's involves marimbas and bassoons with staccato to re-create the sound of clocks ticking in reference to the character's power. Matt Parkman's theme involves voices being played backwards when he uses his power of telepathy. Peter Petrelli's theme involves marcato strings. Niki Sanders's theme was based on her character's alter-ego named Jessica and involved winds and Indian voices chanting in an underscore to give a feeling that she was possessed. Mohinder Suresh's theme is the piano composition that plays at the end of some episodes, and Sylar's theme is the sound of a clock or an old piano.

In 2007, the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards gave Wendy and Lisa the "Top Television Series" award for their work on Heroes. In France, the theme music of Heroes is composed by Victoria Petrosillo. Her song, "Le Héros d'un autre", is used by television network TF1marker to replace the show's original incidental music. The network created a new opening credit sequence in order to play Petrosillo's theme song. The Rogue Wave song "Eyes" from the Just Friends soundtrack is featured in the first season episodes "Genesis" and "Collision".

The official Heroes soundtrack was released on March 18, 2008 by The NBC Universal Television, DVD, Music & Consumer Products Group. It contains new recordings from Wendy and Lisa, and contributions from Panic at the Disco, Wilco, Imogen Heap, Bob Dylan, Nada Surf and David Bowie, among other artist and bands. The disc also includes the Heroes theme. The disk does not contain, however, "Eyes" by Rogue Wave, which was featured in the first and fourth episode. The B-side features 45 minutes of nonstop narrative by Mohinder Suresh. On February 29, 2008, NBC Universal Television, DVD, Music & Consumer Products Group released five music videos created by Heroes producer/director Allan Arkush, each combining show footage with songs from the soundtrack. The music videos were released on Zune and MSN.

In September 2008, Wendy and Lisa announced that they would be releasing an album consisting entirely of the score from Heroes, entitled Heroes: Original Score. It was released on April 14, 2009 by La-La Land Records.

Filming and visual effects

Eric Grenaudier and John Han of Stargate Digital are the visual effects supervisors and Mark Spatny is the visual effects producer for Heroes. They work with visual effects animators Anthony Ocampo and Ryan Wieber, who are also from Stargate. The series visual effects consist of blue screens and 2D and 3D animation. The visual effects for the series are created after the scene is shot in post-production, unlike special effects, which are incorporated into the scenes during filming. Notable visual effects include radioactive Ted in "Company Man", Nathan flying from Mr. Bennet and The Haitian in "Hiros", and Hiro's time freezing encounter with the schoolgirl in the red bow in "One Giant Leap". The special effects are coordinated by Gary D'Amico. Stunts are coordinated by Ian Ouinn, who also uses blue screens to accomplish some of the stunts in the series, such as Nathan Petrelli flying away from Heidi during the car accident scene in "Six Months Ago". Principal filming for Heroes takes place in Los Angelesmarker and Santa Claritamarker, Californiamarker. The Stargate Digital team are also responsible for making Los Angeles look like international locations, such as India and Ukrainemarker, using blue screens and set designs by Ruth Ammon, production designer for the series. The series is filmed using a single-camera setup.

Debra McGuire was brought in to design the large variety of costumes viewed throughout the series.

In keeping with the comic book thematic elements used on Heroes, professional comic book artists Tim Sale and Alex Maleev were brought in to provide the artwork used within the series under the direction of Matthew Jacobs and Tom Taylor, including the artwork of Isaac Mendez, and Mendez metafictional comic book series, the 9th Wonders!. Additionally, the font used in captions and credits for the show is reminiscent of traditional hand-rendered comic book lettering. It was created by Sale and is based on his handwriting style.

Heroes: Origins

On May 14, 2007, NBC announced that during the 2007–2008 season, the network would air a six-episode Heroes spin-off called Heroes: Origins. The show was to introduce a new character each week, and viewers were to select which one would stay for the following season of the regular series. The reason given for the spin-off was to remove the mid-season hiatus, which caused the ratings to falter when Heroes returned in the first season. NBC's chief, Kevin Reilly, told reporters on May 14, 2007, "We've got something I call the 'bulk-up challenge' for next year, which is trying to stay more consistent in our scheduling for the audience. We asked [Heroes creator] Tim Kring to come up with an idea, and what I love is not only did we bulk up with 30 hours next season, but also a whole new idea which I think is going to take the show to the next level." The show was supposed to air after the completion of the second season of Heroes in April 2008, as announced at the 2007 Comic-Con International. The second season of Heroes and the first season of Heroes: Origins would have included a total of 30 episodes. However, on October 31, 2007, reports in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter indicated that Origins had been postponed because of a strike by the Writers Guild of America.

Tim Kring stated in an interview with The Post Show on G4 that the first episode of Origins was to reveal the secrets and meanings behind the Helix symbol. However, because of the WGA Strike, Kring commented that the secret will have to be revealed down the line. Kring revealed in the Heroes Live Blog on September 24, 2007 that he was to write the first episode of Origins and that John August had been hired to write another episode. He also said some well known directors could be expected. Director Kevin Smith, a fan of Heroes, was set to write and direct an episode for the spin-off, as were Eli Roth and Michael Dougherty. On February 9, 2008, Tim Kring updated fans on Heroes: Origins and its status after the end of the writer's strike. When Kring was asked about Origins resurrecting during the Spring of 2008, Kring responded, "There is really no chance for that because it is even farther off the radar than would be the next episodes of Heroes. We would have to gear all the way back up and bring all those people back. It is my hope to resurrect that at some point but right now it is all about getting the show back on the air at this point."

On April 3, 2008, a day after NBC announced its 2008–2009 primetime schedule, Ben Silverman confirmed Origins' cancellation. Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios stated, "We were taxing our creative team to do too much around that...We wanted thirty-five Heroes episodes and twelve Heroes: Origins, each of which was supposed to be a mini-movie and backdoor pilot. We reached far and challenged our people, and we decided it was better to focus on keeping the Heroes mothership as strong as possible." On August 28, 2008, Tim Kring indicated that the concept of Heroes: Origins "isn't totally dead."

Mythology

Activating Evolution


Heroes includes a number of mysterious fictional recurring elements that have been ascribed to science fiction or supernatural phenomena. Tim Kring and the creators of the series refer to these fictional elements as part of the mythology of the series. Kring confirmed that although the show does have a unique mythology, he does not want to sink too deeply into it. Rather, Kring has used volumes to wrap up ongoing plot lines, rather than carrying storylines over long periods of time, as in Lost. As far as the overall mythology of the series, Kring said, "we have talked about where the show goes up to five seasons." As far as the show's ending date, Kring has commented that, "This show doesn't posit an ending…" The show does not have a designated ending point and is "open-ended."

Among the show's mythological elements are the Company, the legend of Takezo Kensei, paintings of the future, superpowers and their origins, the Shanti virus, 9th Wonders! comic book and numerous other elements and mythological themes.

Response

Critical reception

During the series' first season, the American Film Institute named Heroes one of the ten "best television programs of the year."Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times stated, "the show's super strengths are its well-developed filmmaking, smooth pacing and a perfect cast. It views like the first hour of a fun, thoughtful movie." Barry Garron at the The Hollywood Reporter also stated, "Heroes is one of TV's most imaginative creations and might, with luck, become this year's Lost." Less favorable reviews included the Philadelphia Inquirer, who commented that although the show had lots of "cool effects," it "lands, splat, in a pile of nonsense and dim dialogue." In response to the first pod of season one episodes, The Chicago Tribune went as far as saying, "you could watch the first few episodes of Heroes, or you could repeatedly hit yourself on the head with a brick. The effect is surprisingly similar." At Metacritic, the Heroes pilot received a 67/100, with generally favorable reviews from critics.

The second season of Heroes was criticized by commentators and fans for a much slower pace, less engaging storyline and lack of focus compared to the first season. Milo Ventimiglia stated that "when there's a little bit of a delay, there's not that instant, rewarding scene or moment or episode… people get impatient, so it has been extremely important for them to strike a balance between giving and getting."

Awards and nominations

By the time Heroes completed the first half of the first season, the show had already collected an assortment of honors and accolades. On December 13, 2006, the Writers Guild of America nominated the program for "best new series" of 2007. On December 14, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated the program for a Golden Globe Award for "best television drama", and nominated Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura) for Best Supporting Actor on a TV Series. On January 9, 2007, Heroes won the award for Favorite New TV Drama at the 33rd People's Choice Awards. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People nominated Heroes on January 9, 2007 for an Image Award in the "Outstanding Drama Series" category. On February 21, 2007, it was announced that Heroes was nominated for five Saturn Awards. The nominations included "Best Network Television Series", "Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series" for both Greg Grunberg and Masi Oka, and "Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series" for Hayden Panettiere and Ali Larter. On February 22, 2008, it was announced that Heroes was again nominated for five Saturn Awards. The nominations for 2008 include "Best Network Television Series," "Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series" for both Greg Grunberg and Masi Oka, "Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series" for Hayden Panettiere, and "Best Television Series on DVD." The 2008 nominations are similar to the 2007 nominations, except Ali Larter was not nominated this year; instead the Heroes Season one DVD was nominated, in a different category.

On July 19, 2007, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced their nominations for the 2007 Primetime Emmy awards. Heroes was nominated in eight categories, including Outstanding Drama Series. The first episode, "Genesis", earned six nominations: Outstanding Directing (David Semel), Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series, and Outstanding Stunt Coordination. The episode "Five Years Gone" also received a nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series. Masi Oka was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. On September 16, 2007, the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards were held and Heroes failed to win a single Emmy award despite the eight nominations. On July 21, 2007, the Television Critics Association awarded Heroes with the prestigious Outstanding Program of the Year title during their 23rd Annual TCA Awards ceremony. The cast of Heroes was named in the 2006 Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue under "People Who Mattered".

Ratings



The pilot episode generated 14.3 million viewers, with the season high topping out at 16.03 million viewers for episode 9. When the series returned from hiatus on January 22, 2007, the ratings averaged about the same as the pilot with 14.9 million viewers. When the show went on a second hiatus during the first season, from March 4, 2007 to April 23, 2007 (7 weeks), ratings hit an all time low; the lowest being 11.14 million viewers during part one of the three part finale, "The Hard Part." In season two, the opener was consistent in the ratings, however, week-by-week, the ratings continued to dive, reaching an all time low for the series on episode seven, "Out of Time", with only 9.87 million viewers. Although the ratings were lower than average, this episode was considered to be a turning point for the declining season, as a major plot twist was introduced and the volume's "big picture storyline" was presented. The season two/volume 2 finale generated 11.06 million viewers in the ratings, down more than 3 million viewers from the season opener and series pilot.

While the show premiered with high ratings, ratings have been slowly diminishing. The first episode of season 2 was the highest viewed, whereas each successive season has had fewer viewers than the one preceding it.

Season 3 of "Heroes" started relatively strong in the ratings but dropped steadily throughout the season, concluding with a finale that placed last in its timeslot.

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season premiere Season finale TV season U.S. viewers

in millions
U.S. live viewers + DVR UK viewership (BBC2)
1 Monday 9:00 pm September 25, 2006 May 21, 2007 2006–2007 13.86 14.30 3.91
2 Monday 9:00 pm September 24, 2007 December 03, 2007 2007–2008 11.46 13.10 3.81
3 Monday 9:00 pm September 22, 2008 April 27, 2009 2008–2009 7.61 9.27 3.26
4 Monday 8:00 pm (2009)
Monday 9:00 pm (2010)
September 21, 2009 TBA 2009–2010 TBD TBD TBD


Worldwide

Heroes also airs in other countries; ratings and rankings for some of these markets include:
  • Canadamarker: Heroes episodes run concurrently with the NBC first-run on the Global Television Network, Mondays at 10 p.m. ET. A Canadian French-dubbed version of Season 1 also airs on TVA, Thursdays at 9:00 PM and two episodes of Season 2 on Mystère each Mondays at 8:00 PM.


  • Australia: The first season aired on the Seven Network Wednesday nights at 8:30 pm. The series debuted strongly, attracting more than 2 million viewers in five of the capital cities. In an effort to keep viewer numbers high the Seven Network began showing the second season on Thursday nights at 9:30pm across all areas, a week after the US screening. The third season began airing on October 9, 2008, and Volume 4 began airing on April 23, 2009. Due to low ratings, it was pushed back half-an-hour to 11:00pm after Scrubs and the season concluded July 9, 2009. The Sci-Fi Channel (available through Foxtel,Optus TV and Austar) is screening Season 2 re-runs in late 2009. Season 4 will be aired, approximately one month behind, on Seven's new digital channel 7Two, to start November 4, 2009 at the new time of Wednesdays 8:30pm. It will start with the double premiere and have double episode runs instead of one episode a week.


  • Francemarker: The first season aired over the summer of 2007 on TF1marker, with three episodes each Saturday night beginning at 8:50 pm. The series debuted strongly, with the premiere attracting just over 6 million viewers in France. Over the summer viewership fell to under 4 million, disappointing TF1. Nonetheless, TF1 will be presenting season 2 as VOD only, one day after the US broadcast each week.


  • Germanymarker: The series premiered on RTL 2 on October 10, 2007, attracting 2.90 million viewers (17.3% of share in the 18–49 years old target) on its first showing, making it a huge success. After 24, this is the most successful premiere on RTL 2 ever.


  • Hong Kongmarker: The series airs on TVB Pearl. The first three episodes of the first season became three of the top 100 rating programs on English channels in Hong Kong in 2007, each attracting 309,000 to 346,000 viewers. The series was also voted as the second most popular drama series on TVB Pearl.


  • Netherlandsmarker: The series currently airs on RTL5. The series premiere had low ratings (405,000 viewers), though a replay drew 572,000 viewers (8.6% market share). Currently the series draws some 350,000 viewers each episode.


  • Polandmarker: The series first aired on May 17, 2007 on TVP 1 with two premiere episodes. The first four episodes averaged 2.65 million viewers (18.98% audience share and 20.59% of share in the 16–49 years old target). Ratings dropped as the season progressed and the TVP 1 decided to not buy next series. In 2009 TVP 1 aired replay of the first series and announced the second season premiere, which was later cancelled due to no place on new schedule. Heroes aired also on N VoD; seasons three and four were available in 2008 and 2009.


  • South Africa: The series first aired on May 23, 2007 on SABC3; with the premiere attracting 733,300 viewers and a 10% audience share. Ratings dropped as the season progressed as other shows in the same timeslot increased in popularity.


  • United Kingdommarker: The series first aired on February 19, 2007 on digital channel Sci Fi UK. The series averaged 450,000 viewers, which is almost four times more viewers than any other program on Sci Fi UK. The series was then picked up by the BBC, which gave season one its terrestrial premiere from July 25 to December 5 2007 on BBC Two. Season two of Heroes first aired on April 24, 2008 on BBC Two, with the finale airing on July 3, attracting around 3.7 million viewers. Season three began on October 1, 2008 and gained 3.81 million viewers. Season four has not yet been shown by the BBC, and no definite date has been given for it to start.


Comparisons with other works

The show's creators have answered criticism over similarities between elements of the show and the X-Men in their live blog, saying "I think there is a shorthand to compare it to X-Men when you have not yet seen the show. However, my guess is that that comparison will go away once you have seen what we are doing."

On February 7, 2007, Jeph Loeb, co-executive producer of Heroes and the other creators compared Heroes to 24, stating that, like 24, each season would conclude and the next season would introduce a new plotline. In the same interview, Tim Kring compared Heroes to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Incredibles, stating the characters in Eternal Sunshine were "ordinary...and unexpected," but well responded to; and the characters in Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles were superpowered people who had to deal with the stresses and problems that arose when they attempted to live a normal life.

Bob Smithouser at pluggedinonline.com, reviewed the Heroes pilot and compared it as a combination of elements from The 4400, Lost, X-Men, and Stephen King's The Stand. Aron Coliete and Joe Pakaski have stated that "comics have a huge influence on us." Watchmen, "Days of Future Past", Y: The Last Man, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Long Halloween are a few examples that they gave. Other non-comicbook examples included the 9/11 documentary Loose Change and the novel The Fourth K by Mario Puzo.

Legal and copyright issues

On October 2, 2006, Emerson Electric Company, an appliance market competitor of NBC's owner General Electric, filed suit in federal court against NBC. The suit was in regard to a scene that appeared in "Genesis", the first episode of season one, when Claire Bennet reached into an active garbage disposal unit—labeled "InSinkErator"—to retrieve a ring and severely disfigured her hand. Emerson claimed the scene "casts the disposer in an unsavory light, irreparably tarnishing the product" by suggesting serious injuries would result "in the event consumers were to accidentally insert their hand into one." Emerson had asked for a ruling barring future broadcasts of the pilot, which was previously available on NBC's website and had already aired on NBC Universal-owned cable networks USA Network and The Sci Fi Channel. It also sought to block NBC from using any Emerson trademarks in the future.

On February 23, 2007, the case against NBC was dropped. NBC Universal and Emerson Electric reached an agreement to settle the lawsuit outside of court. The episode in question was briefly unavailable in the iTunes Store, but an edited version was soon made available for download. A non-edited version of the episode was shown in the BBC Two premiere on July 25, 2007. The DVD and HD DVD releases contain an edited version where the "InSinkErator" label has been removed from the scene.

On March 19, 2007, Clifton Mallery and Amnau Karam Eele, artist and writers for the NBC series Crossing Jordan, filed suit against NBC and Tim Kring claiming that the idea for an artist who can paint the future was stolen from a short story, painting and short film that they had produced. The lawsuit is centered around the character of Isaac Mendez. NBC called the suit without merit and defended their case. On December 11, 2007, the New York Law Journal reported on Mallery v. NBC Universal, quoting from Southern District Judge Denise Cote's opinion that "the line between mere 'ideas' and protected 'expression' is 'famously difficult to fix precisely'", and stating that Heroes was not close to infringing.

Promotions, fandom and references in popular culture

Following the debut of Heroes in 2006, the tagline Save the Cheerleader, Save the World was recognized within the television industry as an effective marketing device. The series has since been referenced and parodied in several other series and movies including Ugly Betty, Shaq's Big Challenge, House, Family Guy, The Simpsons, The Batman, One Tree Hill, Kyle XY, Meet the Spartans, MadTV, and Eureka. Other mentions include a promotional campaign on Comedy Central for the film Joe Dirt, a promotional campaign on Epic Movie by Regency Enterprises, issue 39 of Marvel Comics' Cable and Deadpool series, along with references to Sylar, Micah, and Matt Parkman in the webcomic series Ctrl+Alt+Del and 2PSTART respectively. In 2006, NBC also created a Heroes parody entitled Zeroes. Zeroes, which was released as a viral video on sites including YouTube, features parodies including four chapters and an open audition. Development and production of the project was kept secret from Heroes creator Tim Kring. NBC has also cross promoted the show on several of its series, including 30 Rock, Bionic Woman, Chuck, ER, My Name Is Earl, The Office, Scrubs, and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.

NBC hosted panels at the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Comic-Cons in San Diego to promote the series. Major announcements have been made during the panel, along with sneak peaks of forthcoming seasons. In 2006, the Heroes panel presented the entire season one 72-minute pilot. In 2007, major announcements were made about Heroes: Origins. In 2008 the first half of the season three premiere was shown, with some footage being leaked onto YouTube by a fan viewers camera phone. Comic-Con also allows the cast and crew to answer questions from the press and from fans.



On July 21, 2007, Tim Kring announced that cast and crew members of Heroes would travel the world for the Heroes World Tour to promote the season one DVD release and the forthcoming season two. The tour took place in North America (New Yorkmarker and Torontomarker), Asia (Singaporemarker, Tokyomarker, and Hong Kongmarker) and Europe (Munichmarker, Parismarker and Londonmarker). The tour began on August 26, and ended on September 1, 2007. Most principal cast members attended in three groups; one group for each country. Tim Sale, Jeph Loeb, and Dennis Hammer attended from the production crew. Principal cast members who did not attend were David Anders, Kristen Bell, Dana Davis, Leonard Roberts and Tawny Cypress.

On November 12, 2007, the "Create Your Own Hero" promotion was unveiled. Heroes fans can go online on their computer or mobile phone and select characteristics for a new "hero", who will be built based on the most-picked traits. Each week, the character will evolve based on the fans' input, and he or she will be shown on air every Monday during the series airing.

On February 1, 2009, the show aired a Super Bowl Commercial feature the cast playing a football game vs. NFL Legends such as Warren Sapp and John Elway (who also has super powers, leading Matt to say "I knew it. I knew he was one of us") to tie into the premiere of Volume 4: Fugitives.

Distribution

DVD releases

The first DVD release of Heroes was a sampler disc, containing only the first episode, and was released in the UK and the Republic of Ireland on September 3, 2007. UK Region 2 split Heroes into two halves on its initial release; part one being released on October 1, 2007 and part two on December 10, 2007. When the second part was released, a complete first season boxset was also released on the same day on both DVD and HD DVD formats The complete first season was released in USA and Canada on August 28, 2007. It was released in Australia and New Zealand on September 17, 2007.

The complete first season DVD includes nearly 3 hours of bonus features including: an extended 73-minute version of the pilot episode with audio commentary; 50 deleted and extended scenes; behind the scenes featurettes, including the making of Heroes, stunts, a profile of artist Tim Sale, and the score; and audio commentaries with cast, crew and show creator Tim Kring. On February 22, 2008, the Heroes Season One DVD was nominated for a 2008 Saturn Award, in the category of "Best Television Series on DVD."

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that the first and second seasons would be released on Blu-Ray on August 26, 2008, the same date as the DVD release of the second season. Specifications and bonus features include: Generations Alternate Ending; Inside the Alternate Ending: What if Peter didn't catch the virus?; untold stories that didn't make it on air; Season Three sneak peek; deleted scenes; a documentary on Takezo Kensei; behind the scenes featurettes; NBC.com featurettes; and audio commentaries with cast, crew and show creator Tim Kring. The complete second season was released on July 28, 2008 in the UK. Season 2 was released on the 1st of October 2008 in New Zealand and Australia. The Season 3 DVD Box set was released in North America on September 1, 2009, and in Australia on September 2, 2009 with an alternate cover, and in the UK on October 12, 2009.

Merchandise

Video and mobile games

Ubisoft had announced that they had licensed the rights to produce an as yet untitled Heroes video game. The game was expected to be released for PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP and Nintendo DS. However, on November 6, 2008, Ubisoft announced it will no longer produce the game and the rights transferred back to NBC Universal. Gameloft released the first Heroes mobile game on October 5, 2007. It consists of 8 levels and playable characters include Hiro Nakamura, Niki Sanders and Peter Petrelli. All three characters are played in their present and future forms as shown in "Five Years Gone". The mobile game has released the names of several members of the Company founders, including Arthur Petrelli and Maury Parkman.

Books and publications

Each week, NBC releases a Heroes webcomic. The comics give additional character background and plot information not shown in the television episodes. The graphic novels continued on a weekly basis during the show's 2007 summer hiatus. Wildstorm, a subsidiary of DC Comics, released them in published form on November 7, 2007. The collected volume included novels 1–34, and featured two different covers by Alex Ross and Jim Lee as well as an introduction by Masi Oka and artwork by Tim Sale.

On December 26, 2007, the first Heroes novel was published, entitled Saving Charlie. Written by Aury Wallington, who wrote the book with the full cooperation of the Heroes writing staff, the novel revolves around the relationship of Hiro Nakamura and Charlie Andrews, when Hiro went back in time six months to attempt to save her.

Titan Magazines released the first issue of Heroes Magazine on November 20, 2007. It is the first of a series of six, slated to be released bi-monthly. The first issue is a 100 page premiere issue. Feature articles include a cast group interview, a secret origins featurette, and a season one episode guide. Greg Beeman, executive producer of Heroes has confirmed that this is an official Heroes release, with the full support and cooperation of Tim Kring and the rest of the Heroes production team.

Action figures

Mezco announced at Toy Fair 2007 that they will be producing a line of action figures based on the television show Heroes. The figures will have at least 8 points of articulation, and feature central accessories. Along with action figures, Mezco announced a collection of screen grabs, non-articulated 3 3/4" figures on a display recreating a pivotal scene of the series. The action figures are featured on the cover of the March 2008 (issue #127) of ToyFare magazine. The first series, Series I, includes Peter Petrelli, Claire Bennet, Hiro Nakamura, Sylar and Mohinder Suresh, with exclusive figures of "flying" Peter Petrelli, "fire-rescue" Claire Bennet, "Times Square teleportation" Hiro Nakamura, "painting" Sylar only available at the 2008 Comic Con in San Diego, "invisible" Peter Petrelli limited to 1000, "vanishing" Peter Petrelli limited to 500 both exclusive to wizardworld.com. The second series, Series II, includes Niki Sanders/Jessica Sanders, Mr. Bennet, Daniel Linderman, Matt Parkman (with Molly Walker) and Claude, with exclusive "vanishing" Claude, Future Peter and Future Hiro to be released in September 2008.

Other series will feature the following characters if approved: Hiro Nakamura in Feudal armor, The Haitian, Nathan Petrelli, Elle Bishop and Adam Monroe, and would reach the shelves in either late 2008 or early 2009. Pictures of the prototypes can be viewed as well.

Multimedia

Television and radio

Heroes Unmasked is a series on BBC that goes behind-the-scenes of the production of Heroes. Many details of Heroes are revealed, including set design, props, special effects and costuming, as well as blue and green screen animation. The first two series of this show were narrated by Anthony Head, the third is voiced by Santiago Cabrera. U.S. network G4 began airing Heroes episodes on November 3, 2007, along with an American version of Heroes Unmasked entitled The Post Show. The series, which will air following Heroes, includes interviews, live viewer commentary, interactive polls, behind-the-scenes footage and other Heroes content. U.S. Network MOJO HD also airs Heroes episodes in High Definition. However, that network left the air at the start of December 2008, and it is unknown if the HD rights will move to either a new channel (such as NBCU's Universal HD), or to G4, which will launch a high definition simulcast of their network in the same month.

In November 2007, the BBC made four short '2 Dimensional' films where actors from the series look through a '2' shaped hole into a room which reflects the character they play in Heroes. A new short was revealed just before Episode 1 of season 3 aired on BBC2, featuring Masi Oka staring into an anime-styled montage of Hiro.

BBC7 radio broadcast "Heroes—The Official Radio Show" with Jon Holmes, every Saturday at 7:30 on BBC7 DAB digital radio. The program is also available as a podcast.

Internet and digital extensions

The Heroes production team also has official series content on the internet. Writers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite hold a weekly "Question and Answer" column hosted by Comicbookresources.com entitled "Behind the Eclipse". Show producer and director Greg Beeman also posts weekly on his blog where he discusses how the episode is filmed and gives spoilers for the upcoming episode.

Heroes Evolutions is a digital extension of the series released on January 19, 2007 which explores the Heroes universe and provides clues to the show's mythology. It was entitled Heroes 360 Experience throughout the first season and rebranded for the second season. Heroes Interactive, is an interactive website which began operation on January 29, 2007, during the airing of "The Fix". Hosted at NBC.com, it offers behind the scenes information, polls, trivia, and quizzes, as well as recent posts by Hana Gitelman. The features air once a week, and are designed to be viewed concurrently with that week's episode.

Complete episodes of Heroes are available online, to US residents only, along with downloads through the "NBC Direct" service. Episodes are also available on iTunes in 720p High Definition, although they were unavailable for a few months when NBC and Apple Inc. were unable to come to a renewal deal. Seasons 1, 2, 3, and up to episode 9 of season 4 are currently available for streaming on Netflix, which requires a paid subscription.

NBC Universal announced on April 2, 2008, that NBC Digital Entertainment would release a series on online content for the summer and fall of 2008, including more original web content and webisodes. Heroes webisode are expected to air through an extension of the Heroes Evolutions in July. Other media and digital extensions announced include an online manhunts for the villains, the addition of more micro sites that allow the users to uncover more of the Heroes universe, wireless iTV interactivity and the ability to view the graphic novel on mobile platforms.

Create Your Hero is a fan-based, interactive promotion on NBC.com, which calls upon Heroes fans to vote on various personality and physical attributes for the creation of a new hero. The new hero "[comes] to life" in an original, live-action series run exclusively on NBC.com. The promotion is sponsored by Sprint. The first hero created by this process, Santiago, has the dual powers of enhanced probability and superhuman speed. He began appearing in the live-action web series, Heroes Destiny, on November 10, 2008 (sweeps week). On October 18, 2008, Heroes Wiki announced that it had officially partnered with NBC. NBC now directs those interested in a wiki on Heroes to Heroes Wiki, and directly funds the site in exchange for the site running advertisements for the network.

References

  1. http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2009/06/nbc-teases-heroes-hot-cheerleader-what-else-is-new.html
  2. TV Guide; November 17, 2008
  3. heroestheseries.com, http://www.heroestheseries.com/has-bryan-fuller-left-heroes-again/ (June 2009)
  4. Bienvenue chez Victoria !
  5. http://silentbobspeaks.com/?p=342
  6. Tim Kring
  7. http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=11412
  8. Knox, David, " Gone: Prison Break. Bumped: Heroes" TV Tonight, October 31, 2008. Retrieved on October 31, 2008.
  9. http://au.tv.yahoo.com/tv-guide/index.html?hour=16&min=0&date=5&mon=11&year=2009&next=1257926400
  10. http://au.tv.yahoo.com/seven-two/schedule/article/-/article/6373630/ 7TWO Air
  11. http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=8428
  12. http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=10433
  13. Smack Talk: Heroes Accused of Thievery
  14. http://www.amazon.com/Heroes-Season-Three-Jack-Coleman/dp/B0024FAD9C/
  15. http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/806243 HEROES S03R4
  16. Heroes The Official Radio Show - BBC 7


External links

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