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The Heroes Episodes You Never Knew Existed

Back in the day, before the Lost finale, Heroes was the only high concept, higher budget TV series that viewers could tune into if they wanted to watch their expectations tumble down a brachistochrone curve. Audiences kept watching through the Mohinder-Suresh-Is-Brundlefly stories, into the earthy Matt-Gets-A-Tortoise narrative, all the way up to the noble Evil-Carny-Controls-Dirt masterpiece that was season 4. It was a different time. The MCU was still a glimmer in Kevin Feige's eye and people needed to scratch that superhero itch.

Anyone who wanted more Heroes didn't need to look far. There were comic book adaptations, mobile games, post shows, novelizations, an official magazine, and an NBC-produced online parody miniseries called Zeroes. Enough action figures and DVD box sets were produced to keep the plastic-eating nightmare worms of the postapocalypse sated for centuries. And, in the blossoming years of digital media, there were webisodes. Gosh, did Heroes ever get excited about webisodes.

Now, let us scrunch up our eyes, shudder uncontrollably, and travel back in time to the days when Heroes was still considered a property with more stories than television alone could contain, and the unique confluence of events that led the studio to think adding a reality TV element was a good idea.

Heroes, Peru, and the search for a better soccer player

Like the series proper, Heroes webisodes were broken up into "volumes," telling self-contained stories. The first of these, "Going Postal," hit the internet in July 2008. Notable characters included Echo, a mailman who was great at screaming, and The Constrictor, a company man who could squeeze people very well.

The second webisode series got weirder, thanks to NBC's "Create Your Hero" promotion. Fans were invited to vote on different character traits that would be assigned to a new superpowered individual until a fully formed hero-by-committee developed. The result, wildly, was not named Hero McHeroface, but rather Santiago, a Peruvian soccer enthusiast with super speed and the power of "accelerated probability" — he could plot out the outcomes of different actions and then speed his way through a web of possibility. It's all terribly high concept, like The Flash meets Donnie Darko.

The hits kept coming — there was "The Recruit" with its teleporting Marine, "Hard Knox's" exploration of the fear-siphoning super-strong Benjamin Washington from season 3, "Nowhere Man" and its deep dive into Doyle, the weird puppet guy. The multiplatform approach to Heroes continued in 2015, with companion webisodes released alongside the revival series Heroes Reborn. Curious parties can still find this forgotten corner of Heroes lore on shady YouTube channels, or nestled in the special features of those old DVD sets that they haven't touched in ten years.