Top 5... - May 8, 2016

Heroes: Reborn (and five other TV shows that deserve a revival)
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Heroes: Reborn (and five other TV shows that deserve a revival)

When it first aired in 2006, Tim Kring's Heroes quickly became one of the most popular shows on television, raking in millions of viewers, winning several awards and launching the careers of several actors in the process, including Zachary Quinto, Hayden Panettiere and Masi Oka.

Part of the show's popularity was down to timing; long-running, open-ended serials were in vogue at the time thanks to the success of other shows with a similar format like Lost and 24. But the show's narrative, centred around a bunch of regular people discovering and coming to terms with their superpowers, tapped into a growing appetite for films and TV shows based on ideas from comic books; recent cinematic reboots of characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men were performing well and yet to evolve into the multi-billion dollar industry that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Heroes, then, offered a kind of origin story for these types of characters and captivated the public's imagination with heroic creations such as Hiro Nakamura and Peter Petrelli, as well as sinister, murderous villains like Sylar. For its first two seasons, Heroes had its viewing public gripped, but then just as timing had played a part in the show's initial success, so too would it play a part in the show's eventual downfall.

Mid-way through the second series, the Hollywood writers' strike took hold and forced Tim Kring to cut the original story for the show's second series in half to just 11 episodes. When the third season finally aired almost a year later, its 25 episodes were separated into two volumes and the re-written story began to feel cumbersome. By season four, audience numbers were dwindling and it would prove to be the show's last outing before being cancelled, leaving fans to wonder what might have been.

Heroes Reborn
Heroes Reborn Jack Coleman

There would be several years and a number of false starts before Kring finally announced a new, rebooted edition of the series, Heroes Reborn, which began to air in 2015. Although it is billed as a continuation of the series, the vast majority of the original cast was replaced with a new set of evolved humans coming to terms with their newly discovered abilities. The only characters that remained from the original were Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman), Matt Parkman (Gregg Grunberg) and Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), with cameos for Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis). Alongside them, Kring drafted in a new cast that includes Zachary Levi, Ria Kihlstedt, Robbie Kay and Eva Harlow.

The new series picks up after a terrorist attack at a convention designed to promote an understanding of people with superpowers to the wider public kills many mutants, including Noah's daughter, Claire Bennett. Noah sets out to find those responsible for the attack and discover why his memories of the event have been wiped, and by whom. The trail leads him to the discovery of a shadowy organisation that aims to protect only the evolved humans from an approaching global catastrophe, the expense of the rest of the human race.

Whether or not the new series manages to recreate the magic of the first series is for fans to decide, but Heroes Reborn arrives in stores on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday (May 9th), a trailer for which you can find below. Beneath that, we've picked five other classic TV series that we think deserve a revival...



Quantum Leap

TV producer Donald P. Bellisario had a hand in several classic shows from the 1980s including Airwolf and Magnum P.I., but our favourite is this sci-fi gem starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. In the show's five-series run between 1989 and 1993, Bakula played Sam Beckett, a physicist who thinks he has discovered a way to travel through time, but his experiment doesn't go as planned and he ends up randomly travelling into the timelines of other peoples' lives, taking their place until some historic injustice or other is put right. Stockwell provides the comic relief as Beckett's friend and colleague Al, a womanising, cigar-smoking naval officer who appears to Sam as a hologram and tries to determine what he needs to to make the next 'leap', with the help of a pretty sketchy computer named Ziggy. The show gained a huge following and a reboot would either need to bring back Bakula and Stockwell or try and recreate their chemistry with new actors, but either way we'd love to see someone give this one a try.

 

Blackadder

The beauty of Blackadder - apart from it being very, very funny – is that you can transplant the show's characters to pretty much any era and it would still work. Rumours about ideas for a fifth series of the much-loved British sitcom have been doing the rounds for years, but if you asked us we'd put Edmund Blackadder in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher, maybe working for a bank. Really though, we'd welcome any new Blackadder series, whenever or wherever it might take place. We live in hope...


The Day Today

The 1990s saw Chris Morris create not one but two of the decade's best satirical TV shows, the other being Brass Eye, but if we could only bring back one of them it would be The Day Today, co-created with Armando Ianucci, whose spoof news format brilliantly skewered the era's news broadcasts, complete with some inept sports reporting from a pre-fame Alan Partridge. The show's fictional stories included a fist fight between John Major and the Queen, a report about a train delayed for so long that it occupants begin forming their own religions, and a story suggesting that Japan had secretly manufactured 16 identical Japans. Anyone who witnessed the bizarre sight of Kirtsy Wark dancing to 'Thriller' on Newsnight could reasonably argue that the news is now beyond parody, but we're sorely missing a show like this and nobody does it better than Chris Morris.


Knight Rider

Alright, this might be a guilty pleasure on our part, but come on; the Hoff was pretty cool back when he was still rocking a leather jacket as crime fighter Michael Knight. Let's face facts though - Knight Rider was about one thing and one thing only, and that's KITT. The black Trans-Am kitted out with artificial intelligence and enough gadgets to bring down a small army, KITT was hands-down the coolest vehicle on television in the 1980s and although David Hasselhoff might not be able to pull off the leather trousers with quite as much style these days, we think a rebooted and recast Knight Rider has plenty of potential and there has recently been a trailer emerge for something called Knight Rider: Heroes, but although information on the new project is still scarce, it looks to be a movie rather than a series.


Deadwood

Most of the shows we'd like to see back on TV are the result of pangs of nostalgia, but Deadwood is different; cancelled after its third series, Deadwood was pretty much in the middle of a long story arc right before it was yanked from our screens and it just feels like we have some unfinished business in the dusty South Dakota town from which the show takes its name. Starring Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant, this was a take on the stories of the Wild West that had more grit and realism than most examples you could think of and we'd love to see them finish the job. Talks over a fourth season have started and stalled several times already since the show ended in 2006, but recently the news around this has suggested it might be in the form of a feature film rather than a new series. Whichever it turns out to be – if it happens at all – we'd still like to see HBO finish the job on this one.


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