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On TV Today's Date:

Four Months Later
original airdate: 9/24/07

It's been a long and eventful summer for Heroes. Four months have passed for the characters, but it's also clear that between convention appearances, the writers have been boning up on their comic books.

The overall plot in the first season did some veering close to Watchmen. Already off the bat in an almost throwaway bit, the evolutionary heroes are facing extinction from a plague. A virus, if you will, that will wipe out their legacy before it has even begun.

Somewhere to the South, not the North like Canada, a brother and sister team with a not exactly incestuous relationship makes its way to the United States. So far, the brother isn't half-faerie, but the sister…well, she's pretty deadly.

Even with those Marvel-ous comparisons, though, the series has come back just as compelling and, thankfully, full of surprises as it was last year. With the hyper-packed cast, it's not likely that it will move quite as fast as we'd like, but then, that hasn't exactly hindered the X-Men in comics, either.

Creator Tim Kring and his crew haven't wasted those four months. We're definitely missing a chunk of time for the characters. Despite saving the world, the Petrellis have fallen on hard times. Nathan drinks the pain away, trying to avoid some horrible burned vision. On the other hand, since Peter doesn't have any idea what's going on, neither do we.

Though that virus looms as a threat, the show establishes or expands three main mysteries to carry us through. At the end of last season, Molly Walker revealed there was something worse than Sylar. Now that something plagues her nightmares, translating into disturbed drawings at school.

Could that also be the menace taking down the old guard? The generation before, now represented (to us) by Hiro's father and Angela Petrelli, have received death threats. Nakamura knows his assailant, and barely manages to keep the ever-eager but ever-useless Ando out of harm's way. Yet this old guard seems to be disappearing before we can get a clue as to who they really were - even though Mr. Bennet, Matt Parkman and Suresh intend to dismantle the Company the old guard (calling themselves the Nine - the Eight - the Seven --) formed.

While all this gets sorted out "four months later," Hiro finds himself trapped in the past - at least four hundred years before any of this happened. Hero worship may not serve him well, but this plotline will only increase the Hiro worship actor Masi Oka has garnered in the role.

Though the cast may be huge, the season premiere still gives a few good moments away to certain characters. Whether or not he remains seems up in the air, but no doubt Heroes has given George Takei a surprisingly good third act for his career. As Bennet, Jack Coleman continues to be confusing as either a villain with a strong streak of self-interested good or a hero that will do anything to achieve his ends.

Of course, those ends involve protecting Claire (Hayden Panettierre). Sorry, guys, she's promised dad NOT to be a cheerleader this season. But we'll all still watch her anyway, right?

NBC knows we will, treating the season premiere as one of their most hallowed events of the Fall. If Kring can keep the momentum going, they'll be right. The mania for Heroes is only going to get bigger. And we didn't even get to Ali Larter yet.

Derek McCaw

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