NEW YORK (AP) — "Heroes," NBC's mystic, globe-spanning thriller, aired from 2006 to 2010, then was unceremoniously canceled.
Now it's back as "Heroes Reborn," airing as a 13-episode limited series that debuts with a two-hour opener Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT.
As before, it's a trippy meditation on unsuspecting individuals who, to their delight or dismay, have been vaulted to extraordinary levels of ability. But unlike the original series, their special status as so-called "Evos" is now known to the world, which views them with suspicion or worse, especially after a terrorist attack for which they are deemed to be responsible.
Jack Coleman returns from the original series, with newcomers including Ryan Guzman, Zachary Levi, Robbie Kay, Danika Yarosh, Henry Zebrowski, Rya Kihlstedt and Judi Shekoni.
Once again, Tim Kring, 58, serves as the creator and an executive producer. Here are reflections from Kring on his reborn series:
TIME MARCHES ON
"Because we didn't get that fifth season, I have always thought there was an unfinished nature to all of this. But time has really changed what that might be, and for the better, I think, now that we have the benefit of five years' distance.
I don't know how many days our premiere is from the airdate of the final episode (Feb. 8, 2010), but we're saying that's the exact time span since the story left off. We're treating this as if it's not the fifth season, but the 10th season, as though there were actually unseen seasons that took place in between."
"We had a brand-new writers' room, and that was very good, because I wanted this to be brand-new idea. I wanted to honor the previous show and its mythology: an indeterminate number of ordinary people around the world waking up to discover they have some sort of unique abilities, and layered on top of that, the idea that we always have to save the world from something. But that's such a broad premise, and I wanted this show to occupy a new stage. I had always wanted to tell the story of what happens in the world after the world discovers these people."
NOT A COMIC BOOK GUY
"This is my 30th year as a writer in Hollywood. 'Crossing Jordan' was my 46th paying job as a writer. 'Heroes' was my 47th. 'Heroes Reborn' is my 50th. I have written all kinds of things, and my taste as a writer sort of mirrors my tastes as a viewer — extremely eclectic. In a long career, you get known for the things that succeed the most, but they reflect only a part of who you actually are. I never saw myself as pigeon-holed, and I certainly was never a sci-fi writer. I never tried to hide that I was not of that world. I was a bit of an interloper in that world, as I've been very quick to admit to everybody."
"I've always liked exploring global consciousness and interconnectivity in my writing. That was a message I explored even on shows like 'Crossing Jordan,' and certainly 'Touch'" — which starred Kiefer Sutherland as the father of an emotionally isolated child with a gift for discerning mathematical connections between divergent people that help bring them together in beneficial ways. "Random events may or may not be random. The consequences of your actions have ripple effects. So if you understand that deeply, you'll live your life in a more conscious way. That idea resides again in 'Heroes Reborn.'"
OVER AND OUT?
"'Heroes Reborn' was always talked about as an 'event series,' and the purity of that lets the audience know there's a clear beginning, middle and end. An origin story is almost always the most interesting story, and once a character has learned all that they need to know existentially about what is happening to them, and what it all means, those big questions end up being replaced by plot questions — which are not as powerful and exciting." (It's why the original "Heroes" lost its focus, and a chunk of its audience, in its later seasons, Kring theorizes.)
"A show like this wants to repopulate itself, to recast, and I think we proved that here by adding so many characters. There has literally been not a single conversation about extending 'Heroes Reborn' beyond 13 episodes. But, yes, it is a brand that I feel very comfortable doing another version of. And then? As with any series, it's comes down to casting, the Zeitgeist and fairy dust — if you can capture all of those, then you have success."
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at email@example.com and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore