Heroes – Season 1 (Blu-ray) + Heroes – Season 2
(Blu-ray + DVD/Universal)
B/B+/B- Sound: B+/B+/B- Extras: B+/B+/B Episodes: B+
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.
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
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
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
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”
*** 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
- Michael P. Dougherty II