Heroes Season 1 & 2 (Blu-Ray)

Cover Art & Menu: 6/10

The covers are standard promotional fare. The eclipse and the gang of regular hero folk are featured on the boxes. They do have those slip covers (which I will never understand) and sturdy fold out boxes that hold the multiple disc sets. The menus are themed with the show in mind, but aren’t anything special. You navigate to the episode or extra feature you want and that’s about as exciting as it gets.

Features: 8/10

Season One:

  • 73 Minute Premiere Episode With Audio Commentary By Tim Kring – Be a completist and re-watch the pilot if you haven’t already. If you are new to the series, you have the original version of the episode that started it all. I’m not sure I would say it’s an extra though. It is just the first episode of the show.
  • The Making Of Heroes Season One – Talking heads take us into the origins of the series including discussions with Tim Kring, creator/writer, cast, and more. It’s like a promotional thing more than a solid documentary style extra.
  • The Special Effects – I bet you can’t guess what this one is about….oh, you got it. We get to see how they made broken bones, people fly, cgi and other effects that take this series into the 21st century. Kids today will have no appreciation for the classics like Star Trek and Land of the Lost. Oh, those were the golden days of special effects.
  • The Stunts – More of the same talking heads, behind the scenes, and step by step how they do some of the big painful stunts.
  • Profile Of Artist Tim Sale – Sale talks about how he got involved with Heroes and describes how his drawings are transformed into the larger than life paintings in the show.
  • The Score – How do you plot out the music for an epic TV series that will be in tens of millions of homes in a way that heightens the emotions and feels current but timeless? Yea, that’s how musicians and composers talk.
  • 50 Deleted Scenes – Whew…commit to this one. Some scenes are just extended versions from the final cut, some didn’t make it in the show at all. Completists step right up.
  • Artwork Presentation – The artwork in the show is all here for your viewing pleasure.
  • Hero Connections – How is each character connected to another, how do their paths cross, why are they associated with one another…? This will tell ya in a graph chart and pop up kind of way. I prefer to just watch the show and if I’m confused or don’t figure something out, that’s just a little bit more fun.
  • U-Control Picture In Picture – Ugh, I’m not into the U-Control at all. It’s awkward and too much interaction. You do get a lot of picture in picture and some pop up facts along the way, but I’d rather have them all in a menu with a play all button.
  • Blu-Ray Live Enabled – Find the new content when the site is up and available. It can be trailers for upcoming episodes, merchandise, etc. Stay tuned.

Season 2:

  • Heroes Season 2 A New Beginning – Talking heads, or talking cast heads rather discuss their characters and what changes they have gone through in the second season.
  • Takezo Kensai Sword Saint – A mockumentary (yes, I hate made up words too, but it gets the job done) about the fictional character Takezo Kensai. I’m not a huge fan of the character but if you are totally into fictional sword masters, go for it.
  • Genetics Of A Scene – How does a scene get from paper to screen? Well, now you’re gonna find out.
  • The Drucker Files – More fictional tales of a character from the show. This time it’s turned in to mocked up websites and ‘hidden’ files for true fans to delve into.
  • Tim Sale Gallery Of Screen Art – More artwork for the hard core art fans..like me.
  • Generations Alternate Ending – A whole new end to the series and this is what happens…. just kidding.
  • Inside The Alternate Ending Of Generations – How and why the alternate is the alternate and not the one that aired originally.
  • Hero Connections – Same as season 1, how everyone is connected.
  • U-Control Picture In Picture – Ugh, I’m not into the U-Control at all. It’s awkward and too much interaction. You do get a lot of picture in picture and some pop up facts along the way, but I’d rather have them all in a menu with a play all button.
  • Blu-Ray Live Enabled – Find the new content when the site is up and available. It can be trailers for upcoming episodes, merchandise, etc. Stay tuned.

The Show: 8/10
The chit chatter at work, the morning talk shows blathering on and on about it, oh how I did not want to watch Heroes. Being in a weakened condition due to a recent surgery my husband swooped down on my ailing carcass and suggested that I should give it a try. That sweet smile and his exclusive control over the TV and DVD player due to my incapacitation all fell into place and I did succumb.

Having watched the pilot episode, he used phrases like “super powers” and “remember M Night Smamalamadingdong’s Unbreakable?” as some kind of cruel entertainment carrots to dangle in the face of my stern resistance. My weaknesses were many, my defenses were down. I was willing to watch the first one, to humor the poor man. Two days and 23 episodes later I felt a bit hypocritical, but what the hell, it was good!

I didn’t hate it, and that’s saying a lot. The thought of being interested in some common show that everyone was watching, talking about, the group mentality was a huge threat to my mental health and happiness. The thing is, the show was better than the enthusiastic waning “around the water cooler”. It was interesting, if not the standard TV razzle-dazzle fare at times.

The concept is simple. There are humans amongst us who have developed super human powers through a seemingly hidden evolution. These people are faced with the tedium of everyday life along with the choices of right and wrong as applied to abilities that could help them save the world.

Let’s talk about some of these hero folks. There is a teenage girl who is invincible. She can break her leg, put her hand in boiling water, fall off a tall building, get stabbed through the heart with a bit chunk of wood, and yet she heals to perfection, you get the idea. There is the somewhat bumbling cop wannabe who can read minds. He can hear your true thoughts, which comes in handy when his wife is thinking about the affair she’s having with a friend of his..uh oh. Remember the day to day life stuff? There is the cheating wife, teen angst, feelings of failure, greed, desire, drama and a combination of other struggles that stand alone as the foundation of the series. There just happens to be the mind bending and physics defying behavior piled up on top like a delicious over-reaction to reality TV.

Each main character has that little hint of out-of-this worldliness about them. A politician who wants to fly to the white house, oh, he can fly. An office worker discovers he can stop time, travel through time, change the past, alter the future…that one’s pretty cool. A junkie artist can paint the future, but only in a drug induced haze, how convenient. A single mother has a wicked side and a good side, like Ms. Jekle and Ma’dam Hyde while she just happens to be supremely violent and strong when her alter ego kicks into gear. There is a man who can walk through walls, a healer, an illusionist, a little girl who can find anyone in the world with nothing more than a map and a push pin, and the list goes on. Our world is populated quite heavily with these exceptional individuals. It’s amazing no on has noticed. Ah, but someone has.

A professor has written a book about the evolutionary forces at work and tries to expose the truth to everyone. The problem is someone doesn’t want everyone to know. The Company is the hub of hidden evils, maybe. Are they good? Are they evil? I do think the show flows from week to week at a good pace that keeps that carrot dangling without making me feel like a TV watching drone.

With extraordinary humans things can’t be all rosy and nice. We can’t have all these good gals and guys walking around being amazing though, now can we? There has to be a rival, an evil counterpart, a ying to the yang, and of course there are the enemies in Heroes. Even among the super humans there are the elite. Two people we meet can absorb other powers. With all the other faults of mankind, this more supreme power given to anyone with a darker heart could be bad bad bad. They offer us two dudes who have this special sponge talent. One is confused, young, wants to make something of his life but he’s kind of a loser. The other is very ordinary, bland, boring, blends with the crowd, except for one thing; he’s got the lust of a serial killer. Ah, more twists and turns, yum.

Season 1 introduces us to a handful of these special folks and starts to paint the bigger picture with conspiracies and plots beyond one season’s grasp. We have the “big event” that strings all the episodes together and it does become the big bang conclusion. Season 2 entangles more heroes, more special powers, a bit of deeper meaning, but only half the episodes due to the great writer strike of 2007. I prefer the newness of a first season, but as with any episodic venture that catches my eye, I will want to follow through with each season for better or worse. If you haven’t seen the first season I do recommend catching up before you move on to the second, or especially the third that’s about to hit the airwaves soon. I think it’s more enjoyable to get to know the characters, their lives, personalities, and have some backdrop for the choices they are making at this point in their big story.

It all sounds hokey, true enough. I can’t defend it against the hard core prime time TV haters. Hey, I’m almost one of them myself. Heroes doesn’t offer up some brilliant alternative to real life. It’s not world shattering or original. The special effects are not as big as they wish they could be, and the acting has a lot of that left over old school TV acting that people are so keen to point out (eh hem..me for example). What Heroes offers me is a fun, interesting, sometimes suspenseful, always entertaining choice among a whole lot of everything else. I have always been a TV fan, but these days my affection is faltering a bit. It’s all the commercials, the bullshit, the boring retelling of bland stories and pandering to the lowest common brain wave we all seem to share. Heroes is marginally above the fray for me, in a very good way. The one thing that makes this and a handful of other TV series appealing is the DVD option. None of those ads, just one big play all button and shazaaammmm the whole series unfolds hour after hour after hour.

I am now a fan of Heroes. I hope it doesn’t go on too long, as with a lot of TV shows I have actually become attached to in the past. They get on the gravy train and then ruin the whole thing by making it drag out way too long. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that in a couple of seasons some master evil bad guy will come and destroy all of mankind and that will be that, oh and the show will end too.

Video & Audio (By Ascully): 8/10
I was expecting Heroes to be one of the first Blu-Ray discs to feature the whole season on one disc in standard definition, boy was I wrong. Heroes is presented in 1.78:1 1080P widescreen video, which is superior to what you would have seen when it was broadcast in HD. The video isn’t perfect though. The first season especially has a very dark look to it, almost as though the video is slightly off the HD grayscale standard. I looked into this a little and it seems a lot of different reviewers agree with me. When they went back to verify the broadcast version it was also darker than usual. What this means is you lose a little shadow detail especially in really dark scenes as the blacks are slightly crushed. This isn’t as much of an issue on the season 2 discs, but it is worth noting if you have paid hundreds of dollars to have your HD set calibrated and it suddenly looks wrong when you play Heroes. One other thing I mentioned in the podcast was how the pristine HD picture shows the imperfections of the special effects. This is true especially the flying scenes in season 2 🙂

Audio is presented using the DTS-HD Master audio codec and is, in a word, excellent. TV Shows have come a long way in the last few years when it comes to production value. Heroes uses a uncompressed stream that rivals theatrical soundtracks. If you are a fan of the show this is the format to own it in, and it’s just in time for season 3 which is due to start in a matter of weeks.

Value: 5/10
I’m not the one to approve the price of these TV series on DVD in any format. A TV show is what it is, a TV show that has already earned it’s cash through all the buttload of advertising before it was even made. Now they have the nerve to expect people to pay 70 bucks (55 for season 2 which is half the content)  each? Come on folks. I won’t be watching this show again and again. It’s not like M*A*S*H or Cheers, those I can watch over and over and over. Then again, a whole series of M*A*S*H is only 20 bucks, not to mention you can get all 11 seasons, plus the original movie, plus tons of extras for $185.00. People, that’s a bargain! I suppose it’s a matter taste. The thing is the value of watching all of Heroes ends for me as each episode ends. That means I would rent the holy heck out of this show and save all that moola for a rainy day.

Overall Score 8/10