If there was one positive in Heroes’ much-criticized third season, it had to be the transformation of character Ando Masahashi from sidekick to superhero.

“He (Ando) really grew during the season. He was able to get a power-shooting lasers out of my hands,” says actor James Kyson Lee, who plays Ando on the popular fantasy series.

“My best friend (the time and space travelling Hiro) reverted to a 10-year-old and Ando had to take charge. That’s sort of a theme running in the show — who is in charge and who is the sidekick?”

Lee was in Toronto last week to promote today’s DVD release of Heroes’ third season, and as a guest at the hugely popular Fan Expo Canada, which took place last weekend.

He says loyal viewers had always identified with the human Ando’s no-nonsense approach to all the sci-fi mayhem.

“When the show started, the audience really viewed Ando as one of their own. He asked the questions that we would ask as viewers. In the first year, I had a lot of lines like ‘Where are they?’ and ‘What’s happening?’, says Lee.

“I’m glad I got powers later because we got to flesh him out as a human being first.”

Lee feels the third season — which saw the show lose a good portion of its loyal audience — ended on a positive note with the return of writer/executive producer Bryan Fuller. He says he thinks the series is in a good place going into season four.

“I think because we start so strong there was a lot of pressure to meet fan expectations,” says Lee. “In a strange sense, we’re underdogs now.”

As for the fourth season — dubbed Redemption — Lee says Ando and Hiro will be setting up a business. One suspects it won’t be a hardware store.

“It’s going to propel us into some really odd adventures,” he says.

“I’m also going to be linked with someone unexpected. So I think that will be a nice surprise for the audience.”

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