It's the TV show that gave us a Japanese cubicle worker who travels through time, an artist who paints the future, a Congressional candidate who can fly and the catchphrase, "Save the cheerleader, save the world." In other words, it sounds like a ridiculous, misguided mess. But somehow the minds behind "Heroes," the break-out hit of last year's television season, make all the superpowered characters, intersecting plotlines and comic-book homages work. The first season arrives on DVD today in a box set ($59.98) that provides the perfect format for devouring all 23 episodes; unlike a comic book series, there is no need to wait for the author to ink the next chapter. With just a click on the DVD menu, the mythical story -- which borrows more than a page or two from both "X-Men" and ABC's "Lost" -- can continue.
Obsessive "Heroes" fans will be happy with the amount of bonus features included in this seven-disc set, even if those extras are uneven in quality. In addition to the unaired 73-minute pilot, the DVD comes with 50 deleted scenes, multiple commentaries from cast and crew and featurettes that focus on special effects, stuntwork and the scoring of "Heroes." (A nugget for the trivia files: Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman -- yes, that's Wendy and Lisa of Prince and the Revolution fame -- compose the music for the show.) Anyone seeking more information about the multiple storylines that unfolded during the season will discover only a few minor revelations within those deleted scenes; the previously cut bits from episode seven, for example, disclose details of a paternity suit involving Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar).
The commentaries, on the other hand, may frustrate many viewers since the participants rarely identify themselves at the beginning of each discussion and the booklet that comes with the DVD doesn't say who recorded each track, either. The only way to know who is talking, in most cases, is to stop the track, click the bonus materials option on the menu screen and read the line-up. It's hardly the most efficient way to handle the situation, especially for those who may not be intimately familiar with, say, the sound of executive producer Allan Arkush's voice.
As for previews of what's to come in season two, fans will have to go to that 'ol standby, the Internet. The DVD does not tell us what's in store for Hiro and his fellow heroes in the next set of installments, which premiere Sept. 24. So anyone who gets hooked on the show after watching this DVD, and that seems inevitable, will have to hold out a few more weeks for his or her next "Heroes" fix.
Best "Effect-ive" Bonus Point: Wondered how they filmed that scene where Hiro stops time in Tokyo to prevent a little girl from being hit by a truck? The featurette on the show's visual effects breaks it down, and also notes that Masi Oka, nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Hiro, frequently draws on his experience as a programmer for Industrial Light & Magic to assist his fellow crew members.
More Recent Reviews and Features:
Curt Fields has the scoop on a pair of new DVD spotlighting two very different comic voices: Rowan Atkinson and Dane Cook.
Media Mix serves up snappy takes on the latest DVDs, CDs and more.
Lindsay Lohan takes on Jane Fonda in "Georgia Rule," and the gang from Dunder Mifflin returns to DVD in "The Office: Season Three." For a full calendar of what's coming to DVD in the weeks ahead, click here.
Releases worth marking on the calendar:
PHOTOS: 'Heroes' -- Universal Home Entertainment/'Blades of Glory' -- DreamWorks Home Entertainment