I know the whole tagline to NBC’s Heroes was “Save the cheerleader, save the world”, but I don’t necessarily think that it was meant to be taken seriously. It looks like Microsoft didn’t get that memo because rumors are abound that they are considering reviving the fallen show and bringing it to the Los Angeles based Xbox Entertainment Studios.
Microsoft has been very clear that their goal is to turn the new Xbox into an all-around entertainment system and that original programming is a large portion of that goal. To show how serious they are about the new entertainment studio, Microsoft hired former CBS President Nancy Tellem to head the division.
Heroes ended a four season run on NBC back in February 2010. For those of you that didn’t follow it, Heroes was a phenomenon when it first came out. The show was about a group of people who discovered that they had superpowers and focused on how they dealt with this knowledge. It showed good people, normal people, and frankly bad people had special abilities and were all using those abilities in various ways. When the show first came out, it garnered a lot of interest and high ratings, but as time went on the viewership proceeded to drop and never stopped until the day the show went off the air. At this point, we don’t know what Microsoft is planning to do with Heroes, but they will probably bring in new characters and create new stories. We might get lucky with cameos from the original cast, most of whom have moved on to other shows or movies.
At first I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of Microsoft forming an original entertainment division. I already wasn’t enamored with the fact that Microsoft was focusing so much of the new Xbox development on all-around entertainment because it seemed that all the focus was being pulled away from what made the Xbox so successful: the gaming portion. I also wasn’t sure if the world wants to see Heroes return in the hands of Microsoft, or even if the world wants to see Heroes return at all. There is still no word on the budget that the new version would have and how much Microsoft is really willing to invest in the show.
Honestly, I was all set to write about how this was a really bad idea. I was going to rant and rave about how Microsoft was going to make a huge mistake by reviving Heroes. And then something happened. I re-watched the first two seasons of the show and I had an epiphany. There is nothing that Microsoft could do that would make the show worse than it was when it went off the air.
At first, I really liked Heroes when it premiered on NBC. But after a lackluster first season finale followed by lackluster seasons, I wasn’t really sorry to see it go. Heroes had so much potential, but too many big ideas and very little follow through squandered it. So with a second chance comes a new cast, new leadership, new writers, and new potential. Once again, I am not completely convinced since we don’t know how much money Microsoft is willing to put into a show that’s going to need a lot for special effects. Even when Heroes was on NBC, it was pretty clear where they skimped in order to remain under budget. And I’m not seeing Microsoft going all in HBO/Game of Thrones style on a project that they aren’t sure is going to work. Heroes and all other original programming would be available on Xbox Live, so I’m thinking going cheap might be the answer, and that would just be sad.
So I guess at this point, I am tentatively on board for this. Yes, Microsoft might be copying Netflix by making original shows to get people to subscribe to Xbox Live. But I’m all for it if it means that we get more great programming and great ideas without the restraint of network TV. But there is one last concern I have and I hope Microsoft addresses it: please, Powers That Be, please don’t make this Xbox Live Gold subscription content and charge MS points for an episode. We can live with one but certainly not both. Hopefully they won’t consider this, but you never know.
If the original programming does become a reality, I’m curious what other programming the entertainment division comes up with. Will they focus on bringing back shows that died to soon? If so, Microsoft, may I boldly suggest Firefly? No, I will never ever let that show go.
You can’t take the sky from me……