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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Drama > Comedy > Heroes – Season 1 (Blu-ray) + Heroes – Season 2 (Blu-ray + DVD/Universal)

Heroes – Season 1 (Blu-ray) + Heroes – Season 2 (Blu-ray + DVD/Universal)


Picture: B/B+/B-     Sound: B+/B+/B-     Extras: B+/B+/B     Episodes: B+



There has been a growing and evolving trend in recent years in the way that people want to see superheroes.  Gone are the days of George Reeves jumping out the window in his flannel pajamas.  These days, people want their favorite fictional heroes infused with a degree of deep, gritty reality that shows heroes at their darkest, truest selves.  For proof of this look no further than the 2008 box office smashes Iron Man and Batman: The Dark Knight; both of which managing to captivate audiences with their finely tuned use of the classic superhero genre, covered in layer upon layer of fabricated reality.


Heroes is a series that captured the attention of audiences everywhere with its use of both science fiction and superhero elements.  Heroes by all means is a dark, gritty drama series, but at its core it is the superhero path that captured the audience.  The series has a style that uses multiple storyline arches that are stretched across the expansive mythology of the series to explain the struggles of the heroes and the world they live in.


In Season One the audience learns how the lives of seemingly ordinary people are turned upside down as they discover the hidden powers that lie within themselves.  The superhuman abilities established in Season One (Genesis) are chronicled as the ‘heroes’ personal and professional lives are affected in every way.  As the heroes suffer and struggle in coming to terms with their powers a crew of ‘ordinary individuals’ are simultaneously submerging themselves in discovering the origins of the ever increasing number of ‘heroes.’  The ten ‘heroes’ that are described in the first season have a wide range of abilities and whereas their superhuman powers are extensive, all their lives are somehow interconnected.  Season One serves first and foremost as a means of establishing the characters, their abilities, and the drama associated with each individual.  Whereas some ‘heroes’ fully embrace their new abilities, others are not so eager to be different.  The first season, as the name Genesis implies, is a tale of origins.  The extremely captivating series does an excellent job of laying the groundwork for an exciting future…just ask Isaac Mendez.


Season Two of Heroes contains less than half the amount of episodes that Season One contained, but made those few episodes count nevertheless.  Most fans will agree that Season Two did not have the same excitement and spark that Season One possessed, but on some level it is forgivable and even with it not being ‘as good,’ it was still gripping.  Was it a great season? No, definitely not.  Was it a worthless season? No, definitely not.  When it comes down to it, the Second Season of Heroes dances on hot coals as it does not know where to go.  Heroes writers, cast and crew seemed to have been plagued by the 2008 Writers’ Strike and the Second Season never recovered, but this may not have been a bad thing.  Even before the strike occurred it was apparent that Heroes was going in an odd direction that the writers would have inevitably lost control of and in turn damaged a series with very high potential.  The Second Season having been abandoned essentially half-way through gives the writers and creators a chance to regroup and plan the direction the series is meant to take.  There is no reason to discuss the specifics of Season Two here as it would certainly spoil it for fans and two there is so little substance to discuss it seems an unnecessary venture for a season that lost its footing.


With all that said, the third season is on the horizon and it looks to be a brighter day for Heroes; even if the dark must be explored to find the light.


The Blu-rays’ technical features on the 23 episodes of Season One (now on 5 instead of 7 Discs like on HD-DVD) and the 11 episodes from Season Two contained on 4-Discs, swoop in to save the day with a great image, a solid sound, and a load of extras.  The picture is presented on both sets in a 1080p/VC-1 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that is bright with vibrant colors and manages to heighten the already sharp image.  The blacks as well as the contrast presentation on the First and Second Season Blu-rays are solid and the bold.  Upon full viewing, the Second Season has a noticeably advanced edge over Season One (the First Season being upgraded little from HD-DVD release), but the quality of both is so close and excellent overall that it is often hard to find flaws.  The sound on both sets is presented as an English DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio 5.1 Surround (48 Hz/16-bit) that has extremely well balanced dialogue, good atmosphere, and a solid use of the full sound stage on the whole.  The musical score at times seemed weaker than this reviewer would have like, but for a series that seems more drama than action at times the overall sound presentation was excellent.  Both Blu-ray sets seemed equally impressive in the area of sound.


Comparing the technical features of the standard DVD release to the Blu-ray release of Heroes: Season Two is difficult, but easy at the same time.  Whereas the two release versions are quite different as far as technical abilities, the DVD remains as a solid release that is better than most TV on DVD today.  The picture on the DVD is a standard 1.78 X 1 Widescreen with solid colors, blacks, sharpness but does contain some light/dark issues and is far from being the quality of the Blu-ray.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround on the DVD is once again solid, but fails to embody the sound stage in the manner the Blu-ray release demonstrates.  Overall a nice DVD release, but stick with Blu.


The extras contained on the Blu-ray release of Season 1 are the same as those found on the respective DVD and HD-DVD releases.  The Blu-ray of Season One, however, does give the viewer the option to use the ‘Picture-in-Picture’ feature to view audio commentaries while watching eight different episodes.  Essentially this means you can see the participants instead of just hearing them.  This reviewer feels that this particularly feature fans will be very apathetic.  Leave it or take it, no matter really.  More U-Control material is found on the Blu-ray release by allowing the viewer to zoom in on the many paintings Isaac creates throughout the series in the ‘Artwork Presentation’ feature.  A more interesting U-Control feature is the ‘Hero Connections’ feature that allows the viewer to map on screen each time a character interacts/meets with one another, before long the viewer is mighty surprised to see the tangled web that has been constructed.  There is also a BD-Live feature that is available for fans to sign up for and access via the internet.


The rest of the extras available such as the Audio commentaries, the ‘Making Of’ featurette, the ‘Special Effects’ featurette, the ‘Stunts’ featurette, Profile of Artist Tim Sale, ‘The Score’ featurette, and all 50 Deleted Scenes are the same as those found on the DVD and HD-DVD.  The extra features listed above are extremely well done, most very rewatchable, and have an interesting/insightful edge that many other series’ releases lack.


To read more about Season One of Heroes refer to the link listed below:




The Season Two Blu-ray contains similar U-Control features as the first season release.  The U-Control features once again contain the ‘Hero Connections’ feature as well as the ‘Picture-in-Picture’ Audio Commentaries and the BD-Live option.  Nothing too impressive in turns of Blu-ray exclusive features this time around; at least nothing that hasn’t already been seen.


The extras that are available on both the Blu-ray and DVD of Season 2 of Heroes are plentiful, interesting, and should peak any fans interest.  The extra features include the following:


Heroes: Season 2; “A New Beginning”

Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint

Genetics of a Scene

The Drucker Files

Tim Sale Gallery of Screen Art

“Generations” Alternate Ending

Inside the Alternate Ending of “Generations”

Untold Stories

Deleted Scenes

NBC.com Featurettes

Audio Commentaries



*** NOTE: Only Picture-in-Picture Commentaries are available on the Blu-ray.  Audio only tracks are only found on the DVD.



Most of the special features either fall into the category of ‘behind the scenes’ or promotional; there are a few extras that standout, however.  The ‘Genetics of a Scene’ featurette breaks down and combines certain episodes to make the series mythology and the director’s vision very apparent.  The ‘Alternate Ending’ to this season’s finale is very intriguing because if the writers and director would have chosen this path the series would be going in a much different direction.  Overall, good extras for an even greater series.


Final thoughts on Heroes center mainly on how great the series is and how much potential the superhero genre has and will always hold.  The darker, realistic side of life is not always the easiest to swallow, but it is certainly more emotional, creative, and engaging.  Heroes manages to take all the dark, dramatic superhuman elements that people crave and squeeze them into each episode.  These releases together prove that both Blu-ray and Heroes are an unstoppable force with many powers still to be discovered.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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