Your TV Tech Fix: Did Sprint Kill HEROES?

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 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.

Want more TV Tech Fix? Click here to see past entries.

In fact, it almost makes sense that the show’s latest low point involves the regular bad guy, Sylar (the one whose evil deeds are about the only worthwhile reason for watching these days), giving up his psychopathic ways to make way for the show’s real villain… Sprint. Their product placements are truly the most terrifying part of show.

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  • Melaniedesi

    “Wait. A deaf girl shooting laser beams from a cello?”
    My favorite — Hiro, you have an inoperable brain tumor and using your powers is killing you, and even though you inexplicably feel the need to run off and do something stupid — and don’t seem to get that since you’re a time travelor and it doesn’t really matter when you go do something — if you just wait right here for a minute, Peter is coming to heal . . Hiro? Hiro!!

  • joshemerson

    The guys on The Big Bang Theory use Dell XPS laptops.

    You're right though that Heroes was horrible with their Sprint product integration. I actually don't usually notice product integration in shows, but Heroes was just so blatantly obvious that it was hard to ignore. I guess that goes along with the bad writing overall.

  • Amber

    When you wrote about the Windows Laptop on Chuck I started to pay attention on other show’s, I believe Cho’s desktop comp in The Mentalist is also a ‘Windows’ console…. Interesting

  • Ace

    josh — But that's b/c XPS laptops are awesome. :-P

    I stopped watching Heroes too, but has anyone else noticed that every show now features an extended car ad? Esp. on Fox. It used to just be AI, but now every character that gets in a car HAS to show you some feature of the car. And if they get out, the camera has to pan allll the way down the car.

  • mattwhitlock

    Excellent point. I remember thinking the same thing when he “inexplicably ran off for no reason at all.” And what was with his mom healing him in the fifth dimension? In retrospect, I don't think they should have added the time travel element at all. It basically shoots holes in every conceivable plot line. Hiro's power should have been to stop time, not move in it.

    And while I'm on the subject, they ruined Peter. He was much cooler as a power absorbing bad-ass before they gave him the “power of plot convenience.”

  • Linda B.

    I'm still about 3 episodes behind on Heroes and it feels like a chore to finish these.

  • The TV Addict

    Linda B.
    TV should never be a chore. Just call it a day and press delete on the remaining three episodes, we won't judge, promise!

  • Linda B.

    I know, I know. I just have a hard time not following through w/ something I've invested so much time in. I'm also 17 hrs behind on 24. I feel devoted to finish these too.

  • melaniedesi

    “Power of plot convenience” — that's perfect!
    Hiro's would be the 'power of poorly executed paradox.'

    The characters Peter and Sylar individually and/or together could have — at any time — redeemed and revived the show. But alas — no such luck.
    I kept watching it — masochistic, I guess — and I'm glad I won't have to anymore. Sad.

  • lain

    don't forget to mention nissan versa.

  • 700R4 Transmission

    Oh!…that’s great helpful, it’s so right to me! Million thanks for the article,