Heroes (2006) - Season 1 [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Universal || NR - 1008 minutes - $99.98 || August 26, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-08-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Tim Kring (created by)
Cast: Hayden Panettiere, Jack Coleman, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Masi Oka, James Kyson Lee, Milo Ventimiglia, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • U-Control (BD Exclusive)
  • BD-Live (BD Exclusive)
  • Unaired Pilot with Optional Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Making of Heroes
  • Special Effects
  • Stunts
  • A Profile of Artist Tim Sale
  • The Score


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

If there is one Blu-ray to buy in August, make it “Heroes: Season One”.

I unfortunately never watched “Heroes” when it was originally airing on TV. It wasn't until the HD DVD of Season One was released that I got around to actually watching the show (after the demise of HD DVD) for the first time. I was hooked right away and managed to watch all twenty three episodes over the course of the next week. I had always planned on watching the HD DVD set right away and wound up recording all of Season 2 on my DVR but after watching the HD DVD set I instantly deleted all the episodes in anticipation of Season Two on Blu-ray. May seem like a silly choice to some, but the upped quality in both Picture and Audio (I sampled the first episode of Season Two...) made me thirsty for only the goodness that Blu-ray could eventually bring me. As of writing this review I still have yet to crack open my Season Two Blu-ray... but you can bet that is going to happen as soon as this gets published.

“Heroes: Season One” is an amazing adventure that takes place over the course of five weeks in many different locations - the main settings being New York and Texas. In the first few episodes we are introduced to a handful of characters, the first being Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) and his brother, Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) who just so happens to be running for congress in New York. Peter, a very down to earth guy, keeps having dreams that he can fly... but only when his brother is around. Next up is Claire Bennett (Hayden Panettiere; who is probably the biggest break-out star from the show), a young teenage girl from Texas who can heal herself no matter what happens to her - fire, fall, gun - anything. Rounding out the core characters are Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a LAPD officer who can hear what people are thinking, Niki Sanders (Ali Carter) who has an alternate personality and Issac (Santiago Bacrera) who can paint the future.

Then we come to my favorite Hero, Hiro (Masi Oka), who can not only stop time but time travel as well. By far his stories become the back-story for the show as Hiro is the one who leads each of the heroes to seek out the others. While the show has numerous other true heroes they also have non-heroes that are integral characters like Hiro's sidekick Ando (James Kyson Lee) and Claire's father Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman). The first half of the season focuses on the numerous heroes figuring out what they are and eventually trying to save Claire ("Save the Cheerleader. Save the World") from the villain of this season, Sylar (Zachary Quinto; easily my favorite character on the show), who want to slice open the heads each of the heroes heads and steal their ability.

The only negative aspect of Heroes is that it tells the tale of so many individuals that at times it can be a bit confusing. Many times there is so many stories going on that we are left with an unresolved feeling to some of the characters stories (Niki and Matt Parkman tend to get it the worst). Sometimes it feels like it takes numerous episodes to build something up...and it just feels like it could have been done in one episode instead of several, making room for other characters to finish up their arc's. While it’s understandable -- we do only get 43 minutes each episode -- hopefully season two (and three coming soon to NBC) fixes this small, minor issue.

Easily one of the best aspects of “Heroes” is the nitty girtty comic feel that surrounds the show. Not only does it feel like I am watching a comic book unfold (thanks to Issac of course), but the characters seemingly understand the way things are. Hiro, who is by far my favorite character, just oozes out personality and provides so many comic book and television quotes that I found myself laughing at nearly every scene he was in. Ando, his best friend, provides a great balance to him that tends to keep him grounded a bit more in reality, and for those that have not seen the show before, I won't ruin the surprise of what famous Sci-Fi actor plays his father.

I could probably go on and on and gush about Heroes, but I won't, I'll let you decide. Heroes brings a good balance of comedy, romance and drama that is right now probably the best Sci-Fi show on network television. While it’s not my favorite show of all time (“Buffy” holds that spot) its easily in my top five and I look forward to watching Season Two on Blu-ray for the first time and giving you my opinion on that in the very near future.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All Special Features are presented in SD unless otherwise noted.

It’s worth noting Universal has done away with the nice hard case that came with the HD DVD set in favor a thinner, cheaper cardboard that matches Season Two. While not a big deal, I thought I would mention it for those that care.

U-Control (HD) - Easily Universal's best attempt at this features gives you some much information it’s sick. You can select U-Control to either do one function or all of them throughout the episode you are watching (keep in mind each available function may not be available for every episode. Some of the cool features includes looking at all of Issac's painting (Artwork Presentation) (zooming in etc.), a Character Connections feature which maps out (via string and pictures, similar to the last few episodes of the Season) how each of the characters know each other, as well as 8 Video Commentaries all of which features a random assortment of cast and crew. Keep in mind for unknown reason the the Helix Revealed feature has been removed from the Blu-ray release. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

BD-Live - At the moment this feature is not available until release day, but if its anything like my Heroes HD DVD set, it’s just the ability to access some trailers and whatnot.

Unaired Pilot With Optional Commentary (73 Minutes; HD) - An additional thirty minutes that provides tons of new scenes and subplots that were removed from the pilot (and the series as well). I would recommend watching this after you finish Season 1.

50 Deleted Scenes - Spread across all five discs are tons of deleted scenes and while some amount to literally nothing, we do see some subplots and great character growth that was cut.

The Making of Heroes (10 Minutes), Special Effects (8 Minutes), Stunts (10 Minutes), A Profile of Artist Tim Sale (11 Minutes), The Score (9 Minutes) - While I would typically say this is good stuff, it’s really not when you compare it to the U-Control feature. In the above five featurettes you get less than an hour of typical fluff - nothing that is all that great besides the Special Effects and Stunts featurette. While I did enjoy what was present, the U-Control feature blows away everything else on the set.

Although the Blu-ray brings over the majority of supplements from the HD DVD set on fewer discs, sacrifices have been made. Gone is the "Helic Symbol" feature from U-Control (which was admittedly really stupid), "Mind Games" and the Genetic Test (though this might be available; it’s simply not listed on the back of the case and it’s a BD-Live function which is unavailable at the time of writing). While none of these features are major, it’s disappointing they could not be carried over, especially something as small and minor as the Helic Symbol feature.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“Heroes” Season One is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 (VC1) on X 50GB Discs. While these episodes do look a lot better than what was originally aired on TV, they are still littered with digital noise in every episode. This, of course, is done on purpose so while I can't really fault the image quality because of it, it’s a bit disappointing to see crystal clear HD one moment and pure grain the next.

Universal has once again bumped up the audio for this release - gone is the Dolby Digital Plus tracks in favor in Universal new baby DTS MA. Since the show is almost entirely dialog driven, don't expect much improvement over the different audio format. I personally didn't notice any improvement from the upped audio codecs. Regardless, the DTS MA provides crystal clear dialog and when there is some action on the show, provides a decent oomph from my sub woofer. While not the best soundtrack for a TV Show I have heard (Lost Season 3) on HDM, still a great track and a good start for Universal...unlike other studios who include only basic Dolby Digital 5.1 (Looking at you Warner...)



.::OVERALL::.

“Heroes: Season One” was a huge seller on HD DVD and I imagine it will be on Blu-ray as well. Packed with all twenty three episodes from Season One along with dozens of hours of special features and better picture and audio quality than broadcast television, makes this an instant purchase for anyone with a Blu-ray player.