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Heroes: Season 2(TV) (2007)
They thought they were like everyone else... until they woke with incredible abilities.
For more about Heroes: Season 2 and the Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray release, see the Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray Review
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia, Masi Oka, Zachary Quinto, Adrian Pasdar, Ali Larter
» See full cast & crew
Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray Review
The deadliest villian of them all: The WGA strike.
Reviewed by Ben Williams, August 23, 2008
Coming off of a very successful first season can be a huge challenge in the rough and tumble landscape of prime-time network television. Tim Kring and the writers of "Heroes: Season Two" had put together a remarkable first season with their comic book superhero themed "Heroes." They had been labeled as the saviors of the struggling NBC network and had one of the only legitimate commercial and critical hits of the 2006 TV season on the network. Would high expectations and a looming Writer's Guild strike effect the show? Unfortunately, yes.
"Heroes: Season Two" picks up four months after the events of the first season finale. With a show featuring so many diverse characters and plot lines, it takes a full 3 episodes before all of the cast is re-introduced. To re-cap, Claire Bennett (the Cheerleader) (Hayden Panettiere) is starting a new life under an assumed identity in California and Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) has transported himself back in time to feudal Japan. Good-guy cop, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) has started a job with the NYPD as he protects the young Molly (Adair Tishler). Dr. Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) has aligned himself with the frightful "Company" as he and Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) attempt to infiltrate its ranks. Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) and Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose) at constantly at odds over Nathan's boozing ways that have cost him his shot at the presidency along with his family. I'll save the mystery of Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) and Sylar (Zachary Quinto) for those of you who don't already know.
At any rate, things start slowly and the introduction of two new characters, Maya and Alejandro (Dania Ramirez, Shalim Ortiz), Central American twins on the run from the law, really bog things down considerably. The problem with these initial episodes is that there doesn't seem to be any unifying theme behind the various plots of the show. One of the strengths of the first season was in how the interrelation of all the characters became more apparent as the episodes progressed. "Heroes: Season Two" feels disjointed as though the writers were literally looking for a story to magically appear. There are places in the first half-a-dozen or so episodes where some of the actors just appear to be floundering - - as though they aren't really sure what point they are making or where the story is going. The show also appears to have been effected by severe budgetary constraints. The show's normally above average special effects are very inconsistent in season two with some shots looking great and others looking like they were slapped together.
Despite these issues, the writers seemed to have found their story in the second half of the shortened season. Things pick up considerably at this point and the writing, acting and over all feel of the show improve greatly. Unfortunately, right about the time the story was really pulling me in, the season was over. The WGA strike ended any hopes of completely salvaging the season. Bearing this in mind, I have to temper my criticism of the show a bit. I can only imagine how difficult it was for writers, producers, actors and special effects artists to focus on their craft with a strike looming on the horizon. I give them credit for stepping up their game in the second half, it's just too bad that momentum wasn't able to be carried any further. Somehow, the show's producers managed to scrape together something of an ending for this final episode, but it just isn't enough to really end the season on a high note. Ultimately, "Heroes: Season Two" is a missed opportunity. I hope things get back on solid ground for upcoming third season of the show. "Heroes" has the potential to be one of the best shows on TV… let's hope that turns out to be the case.
"Heroes: Season Two" contains the following episodes spread over 4 BD50 Blu-ray discs:
"Four Months Later"
"The Kindness of Strangers"
"Fight or Flight"
"Out of Time"
"Four Months Ago"
"Truth & Consequences"
Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Universal brings "Heroes: Season Two" to Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, utilizing the VC1 compression codec, on a series of 4 BD50 discs. The transfer is a decidedly mixed bag with scenes that appear bright, vivid and colorful while others devolve into a noisy mess. "Heroes: Season Two" looks almost exactly like the recent Blu-ray release of "Heroes: Season One" - - both are problematic at times. This raises a very interesting question: is this a flawed disc or is Blu-ray technology pushing the limits of the filming techniques used for the show?
"Heroes: Season Two" was filmed - - actual 35MM film and Panavision and Arriflex cameras were used for the entire series. Given these specifications, I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit of grain, but the noise present on this series of discs is a completely different matter. Perhaps the problem lies in the film's transfer to HDCAM masters for the eventual HD broadcasts of the show? It would be impossible to know, without seeing the show's masters first hand, if these discs represent the true artistic vision for the look of the series. Given that we've now seen "Heroes" in both HD DVD and two Blu-ray releases, looking very consistently noisy and inconsistent, I'd have to err on the side of caution that this is how the show is supposed to look. Bearing that in mind, be prepared for a whole lot of noise. Darker scenes swarm off of the screen with an amazing amount of digital hiss filling every dark nook and cranny. Shadow details practically disappear in the ensuing swarm with black levels displaying a significant amount of crush. Color reproduction is also strange. Flesh-tones vary greatly with various characters displaying a wide range of skin tones often within the same scene. Don't get me wrong, some scenes look great. Plenty of bright, outdoor locations are rendered vividly and effectively. There are even some darker scenes in the show that don't display the messy noise of the majority of the series. "Heroes: Season Two" is just very inconsistent. If your goal in watching this series is to pick apart its technical presentation, then there will be plenty for you to gripe about. Otherwise, one gets used to the look of the show after a while. Perhaps that's the point?
Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
On the audio side, Universal has taken the high road, giving "Heroes: Season Two" the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio treatment. I have to give kudos to Universal for making a point of delivering lossless audio on all of their releases thus far. Other studios have made the mistake of delivering television content with a simple Dolby Digital track. Just because television is limited by broadcast standards doesn't necessarily mean that studios shouldn't strive for the highest quality possible on their Blu-ray releases.
"Heroes: Season Two" isn't the most lively mix ever created. Much of the show is dialogue driven with a whole lot of character exposition and the occasional action sequence. When action does occur, the mix is effectively ambient with an occasional splash of rear directional surround activity. Dialogue is generally restricted to the center channel without a lot of movement through the front of the sound stage. With that being said, dialogue is crisp and easy to decipher. The show's soundtrack is also nicely represented and even gets the occasional surround flourish. "Heroes: Season Two" easily sounds better than in its broadcast form, so the inclusion of the DTS-HD Master Audio track has definitely paid off.
Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Universal has gone to the extreme with the sheer volume of special features included with this Blu-ray release of "Heroes: Season Two". Not being merely satisfied with the traditional audio commentary, Universal has included eleven picture-in-picture commentaries that take advantage of Blu-ray's Bonus View capabilities. In addition, a whole slew of behind the scenes featurettes and documentaries have been added to the mix.
Here's what's included:
- Picture in Picture Cast and Crew Commentaries - Kicking off the extensive list of special features are the eleven episode specific picture in picture commentary tracks. There's one here for each episode and they all feature a combination of actors and various members of the production team. The two commentaries featuring series creator Tim Kring seem to be the best of the bunch as he goes into a great bit of depth on the themes of the series. Actor Greg Grunberg is also consistently entertaining. He's obviously very passionate about the show. Whatever your favorite element of "Heroes" happens to be, you're bound to find something of interest in these extensive tracks.
The commentary tracks included are as follows:
· "Four Months Later" with Creator/Executive Producer Tim Kring, Co-Executive Producer Jeph Loeb and Series Star Jack Coleman.
· "Lizards" with Executive Producer Allan Arkush, Series Star Greg Grunberg and Co-Executive Producer Michael Green.
· "Kindred" with Episode Director Paul Edwards, Co-Executive Producer JJ Philbin and Series Star Zachary Quinto.
· "The Kindness of Strangers" with Creator/Executive Producer Tim Kring and Series Stars Dana Davis & Adrian Pasdar.
· "Fight or Flight" with Series Star Greg Grunberg and Executive Producer Greg Beeman.
· "The Line" with Co-Executive Producers Adam Armus & Kay Foster and Series Star Jack Coleman.
· "Out of Time" with Episode Director Daniel Attias and Series Star Masi Oka.
· "Four Month" Ago… with Series Star Milo Ventimielia and Executive Producer Greg Beeman.
· "Cautionary Tales" with Episode Director Greg Yaitanes and Series Stars Kristen Bell & Ashley Crow.
· "Truth & Consequences" with Episode Director Adam Kane and Series Star Stephen Tobolowsky.
· "Powerless" with Executive Producer Allan Arkush and Composers Lisa Coleman & Wendy Melvoin.
The remaining interactive features and featurettes focus primarily on behind the scenes documentaries, character and cast biographies as well as a few throwaway clips. I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the deleted scenes - - they were obviously cut for a reason. More importantly, with so much in-depth information being presented with the visual commentaries, I felt that the majority of the bonus content was redundant. Sure, there are a few lighthearted moments that some viewers will enjoy, but on the whole, these features tend to be repetitive and a little tiring! Universal does deserve praise, however, for making such a massive effort to deliver extra features with this release.
The remaining supplements include:
- Hero Connections
- Heroes Season Two: A New Beginning
- Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint
- Genetics of a Scene
- Maya and Alejandro Run from the Police
- The anatomy of the Cherry Blossom Sword Fight Scenes
- Exploding Man
- The Loft
- The Drucker Files
- Alternate ending
- NBC.com Featurettes
- Hotel Corinthian Explosion
- Maya Y Alejandro Viral Video
- Nathan and Peter Brooklyn Cam
- Deleted Scenes
Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The arrival of "Heroes: Season Two" on Blu-ray marks an interesting turning point for the format. It's a bittersweet release in that it marks Universal's full support of the Blu-ray format, yet it suffers as a result of the writer's strike that crippled the entertainment industry earlier this year. Fans of the show will, no doubt, suffer through the first 5 episodes of this uneven season while those new to the show might get a little antsy. Despite the numerous flaws in the show, the second half of the season is much better than the first and actually does get the show's story moving along again. On the video side of things, "Heroes: Season Two" is a strange creature. The transfer is uneven with moments of wonderfully realized images and others that will leave you scratching your head. Audio is well presented and the addition of DTS-HD Master Audio should satisfy the demands of the most ardent audiophile. "Heroes: Season Two" is a must buy for fans of the show - - let's just hope that the more casual viewers can stick with it long enough to see the story improve.
Heroes: Other Seasons
Blu-ray bundles with Heroes: Season 2 (1 bundle)
Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Final Specs for Heroes Season 2 Revealed - July 30, 2008
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has revealed the final specs for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Heroes: Season Two', due to hit store shelves on August 26th, day-and-date with the DVD release. The four BD-50 disc set will feature 1.78:1 1080p video accompanied ...
• Specs for Blu-ray Heroes Seasons Revealed - June 10, 2008
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has revealed the specs for the upcoming Blu-ray releases of 'Heroes: Season One' and 'Heroes: Season Two', both due to hit store shelves on August 26th. The popular TV series will get the full high definition treatment, with ...
• Heroes: Seasons One and Two Soaring to Blu-ray - April 17, 2008
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced they will release 'Heroes: Season One' and 'Heroes: Season Two' for Blu-ray on August 26th. The first season was released on DVD and HD DVD last August, and the second season will be released on Blu-ray day-and-date ...
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