As you may have heard, HEROES won’t be coming back for another season. Whether you care or not is another question all together, but don’t worry if you didn’t. My man Daniel, theTVAddict himself, had given up hope on HEROES long ago. Me? I’ll agree it wasn’t able to repeat its spectacular first season, but I stilled gleaned enough entertainment value from the super-powered band of emotionally crippled mutants to overlook the show’s low points. You know, things like the absurd story twists, bizarre characters, and often ridiculous ‘powers’ like Peter Petrelli’s “power of plot convenience” and Claire’s “power to yammer endlessly” about how she wants to be “normal.” That was her power, right?
In fact, it almost makes sense that the show’s last low point involved the regular bad guy, Sylar (the one whose evil deeds were about the only worthwhile reason for watching), giving up his psychopathic ways to make way for the show’s real villain… Sprint. Their product placements were truly the most terrifying part of show, and could very well be what killed it.
Gadget placements are nothing new to television. Have you ever noticed that almost every character on TV uses a Mac? Except SMALLVILLE’s Chloe Sullivan that is, who happens to be the only holdout with a room full of Alienware desktops at Smallville High, and Chuck Bartowski, who happens to bounce between a fake Windows laptop at home and a Mac back at Castle. Companies like Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and Sprint pay big bucks to put their wares in a character’s hands, because product placement in television and movies can be extremely effective. Remember how everyone and their brother wanted the spring-loaded Nokia 8110 after The Matrix hit theaters?
I usually don’t mind these placements (they are a necessary evil in the current times of dwindling ad revenues), and even though I’ve been seeing more and more gadget placements in my favorite shows, what killed me about HEROES was how poorly these placements were executed. It’s like they just gave up even trying to actually integrate them into the show. I came to expect an awkward pause on a cell phone with the Sprint logo in plain view during every episode, usually for no real reason, followed by “Slow Burn” (sponsored by Sprint), followed by a Sprint commercial during the break. I’m actually surprised they hadn’t changed the shows trademark slogan to, “save the cheerleader, save $100 on a new Samsung Instinct HD with Sprint Simply Everything.”
With HEROES hemorrhaging viewers left and right during its final few seasons, adding insult to injury with “whack you over the head” product placements couldn’t have been helping to attract and retain an audience.
I do actually hope they get a chance to wrap up HEROES with a two-hour special. I simply must find out if Mrs. Petrelli ends up ruling the world and if the deaf girl learns to shoot laser beams from her cello at will. But I swear, as soon as Ando uses his super-charging power to juice up Parkman’s Palm Pre, I’m tuning out early.
Wait. A deaf girl shooting laser beams from a cello? Never mind. Sprint didn’t kill HEROES.
The writing did.
Satisfy your inner geek while fueling your TV addiction… TV Tech Fix is a column by Matt Whitlock, editor of the TechLore.com Consumer Electronics Community (plus several other gadget-focused community websites), and lover of both technology and TV. In this column, he’ll cover a wide variety of tech topics aimed squarely at the TV addicts of the world – from tips and tricks to help you better your TV experience, to gear recommendations, to the impact technology is having on the TV shows we love.