The 14 Essential 'Heroes' Episodes

It's truly unfortunate that NBC's Heroes has gotten such a bad rap since it ended in 2010. Sure, the series largely lost its way after Season 1, but there were still great moments worth sticking around for. I stayed dedicated to the show through the good times and bad, and I hope that with the premiere of NBC's Heroes Reborn reboot, people will give the 2006-2010 series another chance. The original Heroes is on Netflix instant streaming, so there's no reason not to revisit it and see how you feel after a few years away from Sylar, the Petrellis, and everyone else. And when you do, there are 14 episodes that are not only great, but will really make you notice Heroes' full potential, and realize why NBC was smart to bring it back.

Now to be fair, many of the episodes are from Season 1, because it's an incredible season of television. But there are gems hidden throughout Heroes' run that deserve recognition too. From the discovery of new powers to family dynamics and complex character portrayals, Heroes had a lot going for it. Hopefully, between new viewers of Heroes Reborn and dedicated fans like me, its reputation can improve. Here are the 14 episodes of Heroes that will either get you invested in the series, or remind you of its positive attributes.

1. "Pilot/Genesis" (Season 1, Episode 1)

Quite possibly one of the best pilots of the 2000s, the series premiere of Heroes gave us the first glimpse of a fascinating world filled with people who have incredible abilities. Watching Claire Bennet's powers being revealed in a video she records with her friend is a powerful way to showcase what's ahead, and we also meet a young, hopeful Peter Petrelli with whom I instantly fell in love (Milo Ventimiglia's Gilmore Girls past also probably had something to do with it).

2 & 3. "Collision/Hiros" (Season 1, Episodes 4/5)

After traveling back in time, Hiro finally gets to utter the official motto of the show in "Hiros," "Save the cheerleader, save the world." But "Collision" and "Hiros" go hand-in-hand, as both are important episodes that tell us what the ultimate mission of the series will be, as well as finally showing a full video of Claire's regeneration.

4. "Homecoming" (Season 1, Episode 9)

In this episode, we finally understand a painting set up earlier in the series, and what it means for Claire's homecoming. Peter meets and saves Claire in this episode (neither of them realizing yet that they are related through Peter's brother Nathan, aka Claire's biological father), but Claire's cheerleader enemy Jackie dies and Peter is arrested for her murder.

5. "Company Man" (Season 1, Episode 17)

This episode is ridiculously important, as we finally get some character development behind the seemingly threatening HRG, aka Noah Bennet. Noah eventually becomes one of the most important characters of the series, so getting to know him was beyond necessary, and Heroes executed his story beautifully.

6. "Five Years Gone" (Season 1, Episode 20)

Five years into the future, we see some dire moments indeed, including a fight between Peter and Nathan, who actually turns out to be Sylar thanks to powers obtained throughout the years. Things are obviously much darker in this future, which makes the heroes realize just how important it is that their plan to save the cheerleader and the world works.

7. "How To Stop An Exploding Man" (Season 1, Episode 23)

While the actual battle between Peter and Sylar may not be as impressive as fans hoped, the events leading up to it are very exciting, and I remember being thrilled to finally see their showdown.

8. "Four Months Later" (Season 2, Episode 1)

The heroes have recuperated (kind of) four months after the events of the Season 1 battle. Seeing Sylar's whereabouts and declining health is both satisfying and fascinating. Never had a villain been so easy to root for and hate all at the same time. We also get the introduction of Claire's new life and boyfriend, West.

9. "Out Of Time" (Season 2, Episode 7)

A quick rundown of everything that happens in this episode: Matt finally confronts his evil father, Hiro and Adam Monroe face off, and Peter and Caitlin remain stuck in a bleak, disastrous, and quickly approaching future. Yes, all in one hour.

10. "Four Months Ago" (Season 2, Episode 8)

Want to know what happened in those four months after battle between Seasons 1 and 2? Your wish is Heroes' command.

11. "I Am Become Death" (Season 3, Episode 4)

Season 3 of Heroes has its share of great moments, though they don't usually add up to fully great episodes. This is an exception, however, as we see Peter traveling to the once again grim future, this time four years down the line, and teaming up with his future self.

12. "Villains" (Season 3, Episode 8)

Hiro sees visions of his fellow heroes from 18 months prior. We learn of Angela's attempt to kill Arthur to protect her sons, leading to his once comatose state. We also find out more about Claire's biological mother and brother, who is revealed to be Level 5 inmate Flint.

13. "Dual" (Season 3, Episode 13)

Ando, Matt, and Daphne attempt to save Hiro, who is stranded in the past, while Ando takes a formula to gain powers. Meanwhile, Peter and Nathan clash over their father and his work. "Dual" is a frenetic episode, but one that gives us quite a bit of action and conflict between heroes and former allies.

14. "Brave New World" (Season 4, Episode 18)

The series finales of Heroes wasn't necessarily a great episode, but it did give us a sort-of ending that still left enough of the story open for Heroes Reborn. All of our favorite characters survived, and Claire showed her abilities to the world. It gave us hope about what could happen once people with abilities revealed themselves to the world, and while that was a good way to keep us satisfied these past few years, Heroes Reborn has already shown that the future is much bleaker than "Brave New World" suggested.

Images: NBC (3)