Ok, just to start: yes, a major feature of this season will be a traveling carnival staffed by people with powers. Yeah, I don't know either. The carny ringleader, Samuel, is played by Robert Knepper, which is the only reason I'm even giving this a chance. Carnies. What the hell?
A lot of the Heroes crew showed up to promote their new season. The full list is TIm Kring, Jack Coleman, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, Adrian Pasdar, Zachary Quinto,* Milo Ventimiglia, Robert Knepper, Dawn Olivieri, Ray Park, and Madeline Zima. And let me just say, there is absolutely no question that Milo Ventimiglia is a douchebag. But pretentious asshattery aside, it was fun watching them interact with each other. They have a certain esprit de corps that's interesting to watch.
Is this season going to be interesting to watch? I'm not sure. The heroes are no longer being hunted, and they'll go back to their normal lives. Their challenge is to figure out how to be ordinary when you're actually extraordinary. Plus something about the carnival. I really don't know how that fits in with the normal lives thing. Kring says they've "stripped away the story elements that people couldn't relate to," and I think that's definitely a step in the right direction. He also promises that each episode will focus on 2 or 3 storylines so they can "tell deeper stories instead of wider stories."
This is the only panel in which I've lined up to ask a question. They ran out of time before I got a chance, but I was planning on asking how they were going to get their characters out of the lame whiny rut they've all been in. No one else asked quite the same question, but there were some other tough questions about the shows missteps. It was much harsher questioning than I've heard anywhere else at Comic Con.
In answer to my question, the characters will be in very different places than last season. Claire is trying to be a normal college girl. Nathan and Sylar will be sharing a body. Hiro will go home to Japan to start a company. He also has a terminal illness that will throw his life into perspective. He'll then go on a My Name Is Earl-like quest to fix past errors, only with time travel. Hopefully he'll stop being so stupid. The carnies will be traveling around meeting the Heroes.
Is Heroes going to be good again? I don't know. Robert Knepper and Swoozie Kurtz give me hope. The carnival thing could be awesome, but they'll be walking a tightrope, and if they fall, they'll jump right over the shark. I'll be holding my breath, crossing my fingers they make it to the other side.
*As a geeky aside, Quinto thinks that Spock would ultimately win in a battle with Sylar because he wants to believe that good always overpowers evil. Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy? "Leonard in 1 round. Leonard would drop me in 30 seconds."