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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Hayden Panettiere, Masi Oka, James Kyson Lee, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Jack Coleman, Adrian Pasdar, Milo Ventimiglia, Ali Larter
Writing Credits:
Various

Tagline:
Save the Cheerleader. Save the World.

Synopsis:
Rejoin the epic and suspenseful phenomenon as Heroes: Season 2 arrives on DVD. Experience all the new and exciting twists of the astonishing series in this 4-disc set that includes every gripping Season 2 episode. Plus, see what could have been with exclusive bonus features that reveal the untold stories that never aired and an alternate ending to the season finale, where the fate of humanity takes an ominous turn when Peter fails to catch the vial containing the deadly virus.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 482 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 8/26/2008

Bonus:
DVD One:
• Audio Commentaries for All Three Episodes
• Deleted Scenes
• “Heroes Season Two: A New Beginning” Featurette
DVD Two:
• Audio Commentaries for All Three Episodes
• Deleted Scenes
• “Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint” Featurette
• “The Drucker Files” Featurette
DVD Three:
• Audio Commentaries for All Three Episodes
• “Genetics of a Scene” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
DVD Four:
• Audio Commentaries for Two Episodes
• Season Three Sneak Peek
• “Generations” Alternate Ending
• “Inside the Alternate Ending of ‘Generations’” Featurette
• “Untold Stories” Featurette
• NBC.com Featurettes
• Tim Sale Gallery of Screen Art


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Heroes: Season Two (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 4, 2008)

One of the big new hits from 2006-07, Heroes returned for its second season in 2007-08. Due to the writers’ strike, the year featured only 11 episodes instead of the first season’s 23 shows. With its running story arc, I was curious to see how a series like this would do within the truncated time frame. I’ll look at all 11 episodes in the order aired. The plot synopses come straight from the DVD’s package.

DVD ONE:

Four Months Later…: “Four months after the explosive events in New York, the fates of Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) and Matt (Greg Grunberg) are revealed. Hiro (Masi Oka) meets his hero in feudal Japan, and new individuals with abilities emerge worldwide.”

Season Two launches on a reasonably satisfying note here. Much of the episode acts in an expository manner, as it updates us about many of Season One’s characters. That side of things creates intrigue, and the introduction of some new personalities adds freshness to the program. “Later” sets the stage for the rest of the year and does so in an entertaining manner.

Lizards: “After the death of a hero, Matt enlists some unlikely help to find the sinister force behind the attacks, while Claire’s (Hayden Panettiere) efforts to hide her abilities are jeopardized by a fellow student with a secret of his own.”

The prospect of Hiro in 17th century Japan didn’t sound interesting to me, but so far, that thread has become the most entertaining aspect of the new season. Perhaps that’s because it’s the rare light-hearted story line in an otherwise fairly dark series. Not that there’s anything wrong with the darkness, of course, but Hiro’s hijinks create a lot of fun. The rest of the program also works well and helps move along various burgeoning tales.

Kindred: “Several heroes make shocking discoveries as Suresh uncovers a hidden Isaac Mendez painting. Maya (Dania Ramirez) uses her abilities to free her brother, and Hiro is surprised by his childhood hero, Kensei (David Anders).”

“Kindred” stands out due to the re-emergence of two prominent Season One characters: Sylar and Niki. Frankly, I didn’t miss the latter, as her story never did a whole lot for me. Sylar is a more interesting personality; though it feels like a bit of a cop-out to bring him back after his apparent demise, he’s too fascinating to stay dead. Both of those stories essentially tease us, while others get greater depth. “Kindred” helps move along the narrative arc well.

DVD TWO:

The Kindness of Strangers: “The past catches up to the present with information about the previous generation of heroes and a new hero (Dana Davis) exhibiting unexpected powers in post-Katrina New Orleans.”

Among this episode’s most interesting plot developments, we finally see Maya and Alejandro interact with someone from the usual Heroes world. That creates an intriguing shift, and we also meet a new – and improbable – hero in a twist that makes the Micah thread more involving. As I alluded, I’m not wild about the Niki/Micah side of things, so I’m happy to find something to create more life on that side of things. “Strangers” adds up to another good episode.

Fight or Flight: “Ireland becomes the scene of an encounter between a lost hero and a woman who is willing to kill to find him, while Matt flies to Philadelphia to hunt down Molly’s (Adair Tishler) ‘boogeyman’.”

Some episodes do more to develop questions than answers, and “Fight” definitely falls into that category. That could make it frustrating, but it keeps us intrigued enough to avoid that issue. I like when previously unconnected characters come together, and I particularly enjoy the chemistry between Matt and Nathan. It’s also fun to see Monica’s powers develop, and the new villain in Ireland comes with her own provocative elements. This is a table-setting program, but it’s a fun one.

The Line: “Moral dilemmas surface as West (Nicholas D’Agosto) convinces Claire to punish another cheerleader. Suresh tries to work with the Company, and Hiro struggles with his feelings for Kensei’s ‘princess’.”

At the start of the season, I liked the unusual nature of Hiro’s story. As things progress, however, I must admit I grow a bit weary of it just because it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the series’ threads. While I’m sure it’ll tie in eventually, I’m getting impatient and find myself less interested in the Hiro segments.

The rest of “The Line” works quite well, however. I like the twists found in the Maya plot, as her relationship with Sylar proves intriguing, and Claire’s side of things gets a clever spin. Despite my moderate disenchantment with Hiro’s scenes, “The Line” still works well.

DVD THREE:

Out of Time: “Several heroes face off against the ‘nightmare man’ in a deadly attack, while Peter and Caitlin (Katie Carr) battle his personal demons when one of his forgotten abilities suddenly manifests.”

For a little while now, the identity of “Adam Monroe” has bubbled beneath the surface, but “Time” exposes that side of things with a monumental tease. We also find the end of Hiro’s time in feudal Japan, which makes me happy; it’ll be interesting to see where he goes now that he’s back in the present day. Add to that and a good twist in Matt’s plot and “Time” proves satisfying.

Four Months Ago…: “The clock turns back four months to reveal what happened to the heroes directly after the explosion in New York: from Nathan’s terrible loss to the Haitian’s (Jimmy Jean-Louis) sacrifice.”

Though flashback episodes can seem easy and overly expository, this one works. It focuses on what happened to Peter, Nathan, Niki, DL and Maya and Alejandro, and it brings us up to date on those threads. They were the most open of the various character arcs, especially in terms of how Peter ended up in Ireland with no memory, so it’s fun to finally find out what occurred between Seasons One and Two. We also get some good exposition about “Adam Monroe”, though not too much to remove all mystery.

Cautionary Tales: “Agendas clash as Claire and her father (Jack Coleman) ponder whether to run. Matt struggles with his new abilities, and Maya and Alejandro’s (Shalim Ortiz) relationship is tested as they travel with Sylar (Zachary Quinto).”

We’ve not seen much of Kristen Bell’s Elle character, but she’s made a great impact with her sexy, sadistic personality. She receives more screen time here and comes with some tantalizing revelations. A more emotional episode than usual, “Tales” offers many other twists that make it quite effective.

DVD FOUR:

Truth & Consequences: “Difficult decisions lie ahead as Peter tries to stop a dangerous viral threat. Hiro goes after his father’s killer, and Maya must choose between her brother and Sylar.”

Of all this season’s threads, those with Monica and the Maya/Alejandro/Sylar triangle have been the least well-developed. Some of that starts to change here, though I wonder if it’s a little too late with only one episode to go for this season; it remains to be seen how well Season Two can connect and wrap up the various stories. In any case, it sets the table well and makes me look forward to the finale.

Powerless: “It’s hero versus hero in the explosive season finale as Peter, Nathan, Matt and Hiro clash over the Shanti virus, and Maya sees Sylar’s true nature when he kidnaps Molly and Suresh.”

While Season One literally ended with a bang, Season Two comes to a somewhat quieter – and less decisive – close. Actually, I can’t recall the specifics of the S1 finale, but I don’t think it seemed quite as open-ended as “Powerless”. Yes, the plot about the virus gets resolved, but pretty much everything else remains up in the air. That lack of closure is a but frustrating, but it serves to pique our interest for Season Three, so I guess it works.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Heroes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The shows looked great throughout these discs.

No issues with sharpness occurred. The shows came across as crisp and well-defined. Even wide shots appeared solid, as they demonstrated virtually no softness or fuzziness. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was minor. Source flaws weren’t a concern.

Heroes came as a series with a varied but usually pretty natural palette. The colors looked good within the production design. They were also full and well-developed in that realm. Blacks always seemed deep and full, while shadows were mostly clean and smooth. My only minor complaint came from lighting, as dark-skinned actors shot in shadows tended to be a little too tough to see. Nonetheless, these issues were pretty insignificant, as the series usually looked great.

Though not amazing, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Heroes worked well. The audio supported the shows just fine. The soundfield emphasized the forward channels and worked quite well within that realm. The front spectrum was nicely broad and blended together cleanly. The elements remained in the appropriate locations and panned smoothly across the channels. Surround usage tended toward general reinforcement and atmospherics, though the rear speakers came to life pretty well during action sequences. Surrounds didn’t dazzle, but they brought some life to the mix.

Audio quality always seemed good. Speech was consistently natural and crisp, though a little edginess crept into some lines. Music was clean and concise. The score appeared well-recorded and dynamic. Effects also came across as lively and distinctive, and they lacked distortion. Bass response was deep and firm. Overall, the audio was more than fine for the series.

A mix of extras pops up across all four DVDs. 11 episodes boast audio commentaries. These involve a variety of participants:

Four Months Later: series creator/executive producer Tim Kring, co-executive producer Jeph Loeb and actor Jack Coleman. We learn about story and character challenges, moving into a new season of the series, cast and performances, sets and locations, and other technical issues. The commentary launches the year pretty well. It delves into its topics in a satisfying manner and gives us a good overview of the expectations for Season Two.

Lizards: executive producer Allan Arkush, co-executive producer Michael Green, and actor Greg Grunberg. Though a little too heavy on happy talk, this track compensates with a lively tone and a lot of good nuts and bolts information. It provides a solid take on technical aspects of creating the episode and some creative choices as well. This makes it a pretty useful chat.

Kindred: director Paul Edwards, co-executive producer JJ Philbin, and actor Zachary Quinto. The content here resembles the kind of material heard in the prior chats, though oriented toward the events of the episode in question. Story and editorial decisions come a bit more to the forefront, though. The commentary covers the various issues in a reasonable manner, though praise and happy talk continue to be a little too dominant for my liking.

The Kindness of Strangers: Kring and actors Dana Davis and Adrian Pasdar. With two actors on board, you’d expect character and performance subjects to take center stage here. To some degree they do, but Kring provides the main voice during the commentary. He covers the usual array of nuts and bolts topics, and the actors – mainly Pasdar – throw in some info about their work as well. Though the track drags at times, it usually satisfies.

Fight or Flight: Grunberg and executive producer Greg Beeman. “Wacky” is the word of the day here, as the Gregs offer a more overtly comedic tone than usual. They often provide a Mystery Science Theater 3000 take on events, and they joke around a lot. They still manage to provide some decent notes, and their chemistry adds life to the piece. It’s a little light on real information but it remains fun.

The Line: Coleman and co-executive producers Adam Armus and Kay Foster. All the happy talk becomes a real issue in this commentary. It became a little heavy during prior tracks, but it didn't dominate. Here, unfortunately, praise is about all we hear. If I took a drink every time something was called "fantastic", I'd have passed out around the show's halfway point. A few minor episode details emerge, but there's not enough content to compensate for the fluffiness.

Out of Time: Director Daniel Attias and actor Masi Oka. We return to informative commentaries with this fun track. The participants interact well and keep things both lively and interesting. We get many notes about the challenges that come with Heroes, and Oka tosses in some nice anecdotes as well. There's still more happy talk than I'd like, but it's balanced by plenty of good content.

Four Months Ago: Beeman and actor Milo Ventimiglia. Here we get info about cast and performances, stunts and effects, and various story issues. The tone remains bright and lively, so expect the piece to move briskly. It covers some useful areas and engages us well.

Cautionary Tales: Director Greg Yaitanes and actors Kristen Bell and Ashley Crow. During this track, the actors give us notes about their characters and performance choices. Yaitanes fills in the rest with scene specifics about the episode. Both combine well in this commentary. It’s not one of the season’s best tracks, but it satisfies.

Truth & Consequences: Director Adam Kane and actor Stephen Tobolowsky. Actor David Anders also joins the conversation midway through the episode. Tobolowsky proves quite entertaining. He offers good anecdotes about his work on the series and also throws in amusing comments about his resemblance to a potato and his need for adult diapers. Anders contributes some nice notes as well, and Kane gives us a fine overview of issues related to the episode’s direction. This becomes one of the most enjoyable commentaries for Season Two.

Powerless: Arkush and composers Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin. With Wendy and Lisa on board, expect a lot of information about the series’ music. They provide useful insights into their work, and Arkush provides details about the episode. The Happy Talk Meter goes off the charts here – especially due to Melvoin’s constant reference to everything as “fantastic” – but there’s enough good content to make the track worthwhile.

One annoyance: the commentaries avoid participant introductions until their conclusion. Why? It seems bizarre to tell us who we listened to after the track finishes. This can become annoying since we’re often left to guess at the various identities.

Look for plenty of deleted scenes across many of the episodes. We get cut sequences for “Four Months Later” (2 scenes, 4:35), “Fight or Flight” (5, 6:46), “The Line” (3, 5:06), “Out of Time” (2, 2:42), “Four Months Ago…” (3, 3:43), and “Cautionary Tales” (2, 1:26).

As was the case with most of the clips found for Season One, this year’s deleted scenes lack true revelations or excised plots. We find an alternate intro to Nathan’s status at the season’s start, and we see more of Hiro in feudal Japan and Monica in New Orleans. Nothing particularly fascinating appears here, but it’s good to check out this stuff anyway.

On DVD One, we encounter a featurette called Heroes Season Two: A New Beginning. In this 14-minute and 40-second piece, we hear from Kring, Oka, Coleman, Quinto, Ventimiglia, Anders, Bell, Davis, Arkush, and actors Hayden Panettiere, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Ali Larter, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Dania Ramirez, Shalim Ortiz, Nicholas D’Agosto, and Noah Gray-Cabey. Essentially “Beginning” acts as an overview of Season Two, with an emphasis on new characters. If you already watched S2, it tells you nothing, and if you didn’t, it potentially ruins some surprises. It’s not a useful piece.

DVD One opens with some Previews. We find ads for House, Life and The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior.

Two more featurettes appear on DVD Two. Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint lasts 23 minutes, 48 seconds as it features University of Chicago Japanese Studies Professor Donna Dorn, Museum of Cultural History curator Tatsuya Atsumi, University of Cambridge Literature Professor Karen Chamberlin, The program looks at the story of Kensei in Japanese history.

But not really. It’s all a goof, since Kensei never actually existed. It’s a fun presentation, as it emulates a public TV documentary pretty well. It also gives us an interesting take on the Kensei tale presented in the series, so it’s a clever extra.

The Drucker Files runs eight minutes, 32 seconds. It offers a fake “Global News Interactive” report about fictional “Internet godfather” Richard Drucker. It’s not as interesting as “Sword Saint”, but it becomes another fun take on the Heroes mythology.

Over on DVD Three, we find the 23-minute and 14-second Genetics of a Scene. It provides notes from Arkush and Beeman as they discuss the specifics of shooting a few particular scenes. (We also get some quick remarks from Ramirez, Quinto and Ortiz.) They give us a look at the challenges involved in filming those elements and delve into them well. There’s a little repetition from the commentaries, but not a lot, so “Genetics” becomes a good program.

Plenty more materials show up on DVD Four. We start with a Season Three Sneak Peek. This eight-minute and 37-second clip features Ramirez, Ramamurthy, Larter, Grunberg, and Coleman. They tell us little about S3 specifics and mostly just inform us that the new season will be amazing.

After this we get an Alternate Ending for Season Two, also referred to as “Generations”. It runs 17 minutes, 59 seconds and often uses the same footage found in the final episode. The differences come from the scenes that show what happens with the virus. Those go off in a very different – and less satisfying – direction. It’s cool to get a look at this alternate conclusion to the season.

More about the finale comes to us with Behind the Alternate Ending of “Generations”. This 10-minute and 57-second piece provides comments from Loeb, Kring and writer/co-executive producer Jesse Alexander. They talk about how the writers’ strike affected the arc of S2 and why they changed the season’s ending. This is the only place anyone actually discusses the impact of the strike, so it’s cool to hear the way S2 would have gone if the year hadn’t ended after only 11 episodes.

The Untold Stories area lasts a total of 12 minutes, 13 seconds. These offer scenes shot for what would have become episodes 12 and 13 of Season Two were it not for the writers’ strike. Most of them focus on Elle’s pursuit of Sylar, though we also see a few other bits. They’re quite cool to see as part of an alternate path the series would have taken.

Next we find three NBC.com Featurettes. These include “Hotel Corinthian Explosion” (0:43), “Maya Y Alejandro Viral Video” (2:31) and “Nathan and Peter Brooklyn Cam” (0:34). I guess these were little Internet teasers for the series. They feature glimpses of Heroes events through media that resembles Youtube videos. They’re mildly interesting for archival purposes but that’s about it.

After this we locate a Tim Sale Gallery of Screen Art. This running piece goes for two minutes, two seconds as it shows close-ups of the paintings Sale created for the series. I like the ability to get a better look at his art.

Finally, DVD Four includes some Previews. It presents ads for a variety of TV series available on DVD.

Season One of Heroes impressed me, and Season Two continued to keep me engaged. Even in its strike-truncated form, the year offered a lot of interesting stories and entertainment. The DVD features very good picture, audio and extras. Heroes is a fine series that deserves my recommendation – I look forward to Season Three.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main