Heroes ended its fourth season with dismal ratings and weak reviews, but NBC still might bring the troubled mutant soap opera back for one more year. Here are five reasons why.
The Magic 100
Giving the show one final full season - or, perhaps, two shorter seasons - would let Heroes make it past 100 episodes, the oft-cited number of episodes needed for a show to make it to syndication. Given the amount of time and money NBC has spent on the franchise to date, it'd be surprising if they weren't willing to try and make that happen to recoup money even after its original lifespan.
What Do You Replace It With?
Thanks to the Jay Leno furore, NBC may have more hours to fill than it expected next season, and even though they've ordered a high number of pilots, there's no denying that the ability to count on even a fading favorite like Heroes is probably going to be more attractive to advertisers than a schedule full of entirely unknown quantities. Heroes may survive for one final season based on NBC's need to show some semblance of stability and continuity, as well as its desire not to piss off another vocal online fanbase for awhile.
People Still Want To Watch It, Even If They're Not Necessarily Watching It On NBC
There's definitely still an audience for Heroes, even if it appears to be in ratings freefall in its original home: It's the most illegally downloaded show online, has a strong international following and, in terms of DVD sales, it outperforms other similar shows. The problem may not necessarily be the show itself, but the way that it's presented on NBC.
Everyone Else Is Doing It
While Heroes' falling ratings may suggest otherwise, it's beginning to look like superheroes may be about to become a television trend, with two superhero drama pilots being offered up for next season: ABC's No Ordinary Family (about a family with superpowers, starring Michael Chiklis) and NBC's own The Cape, about a former cop turned superhero. Add to this the buzz for "real life superhero" stories that could follow the release of this summer's Kick-Ass movie, and there may be a renewed hunger for superhero stories amongst the television audience next season.
Let It Go Out With A Bang
We may not be the biggest fans of the show's creative direction, but that could easily change - especially if the show's creators know exactly how long they have left and can work towards a particular (preferably dramatic) conclusion. Setting end dates for the show has been discussed before, once it was seen how well doing so impacted Lost, and it'd be the right decision for Heroes. Clearly, given the end of the fourth season, the story is not over yet, but letting everyone know that it soon will be, and managing to go for broke getting there, could be the kick in the pants that Heroes needs to become necessary viewing again.
I'm not arguing that Heroes has been the greatest show recently, but it could be great once more — if treated properly (which, it has to be said, may involve more creative changes behind the scenes, even if it's just someone to curb the show's tendency towards melodrama and lack of subtlety). But despite the show's more painful period lately, I'd like to see it given a last chance to redeem itself, and remind everyone why we liked it in the first place.