‘Heroes Revolution’, one of the featurettes included in this groaning-at-the-seams boxset, pinpoints exactly how the 21st century superhero saga has embraced and used modern technology more completely than most of its peers, expanding from the confines of your television to interact with Twitter, appear as Flash games, be reimagined as comic books, seep into mobile phone viewing technology and carry on the stories of the characters that drift in and out of the main programme in a series of webisodes.
So it should come as no surprise that the makers have embraced the capabilities of Blu-ray to put together such a beautiful package.
An optional U-Control button allows you to bring up character biographies to jog your memory at crucial moments, behind-the-scenes featurettes show the tricks of the trade, audio and video commentaries are warm, affectionate and enjoyable, and while a ‘Desconstructing Sylar’ section descends uncomfortably into mutual arse-kissing between the writers and actor Zachary Quinto, it’s a forgivable misstep when everything else has been so well presented.
For all its ambition, Heroes hasn’t had the easiest ride. After an explosively successful first season, the show was hobbled by the Hollywood writers’ strike during the second, and since then it’s limped rather than bounded, shedding viewers like a snake wriggling out of its skin – something NBC acknowledged when it cancelled the series earlier this year.
But there’s still plenty here to entice wandering viewers back, not least a lush new carnival setting populated by a ‘family’ with special abilities, which allows for all kinds of hall-of-mirrors mind-trickery, headed up by Prison Break’s Robert Knepper.
Claire the indestructible cheerleader is doing her best to fit in with the normal kids at university, Matt the policeman is having an ongoing Waldorf and Statler bitching session in his head with Sylar (where he has the arch-villain trapped), Hiro is zipping through time trying to right wrongs, and old lantern-jaw Nathan Petrelli is having a simply horrid time trying to work out if he’s dead or not.
It all zips along perkily enough, but by the time you get to disc three the creeping sense that none of this is really going anywhere starts to set in and the plot spirals wearily into repetition.
While there’s plenty of fun to be had, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Heroes’ strengths were sapped long ago.
Season four might not soar to the heights of Heroes’ glory days, but this boxset is still gorgeous, glossy and packed with content.