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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

banner ads appear on TV; just one sign of the new suckitude of ‘Heroes’

TV advertising just keeps getting more and more intrusive. We’ve learned to put up with bugs in the corner of the screen, bugs that dance across the screen, and now, last night on Heroes, was the first example I’ve seen of what looks a helluva lot like a Web banner ad:

The damn thing is taking up at least a third of the bottom of the screen. At least it — or, worse, rotating banners — wasn’t there for the whole episode.

Look, I understand that the networks are terrified of all us viewers who are TiVoing and watching online and generally no longer getting our Recommended Daily Allowance of advertising, but if those networks want us to learn to put up with this kind of crap, they sure as hell had better make shows we want to watch. Cuz last night’s Heroes sucked. (My recap is up at Film.com.) If the coming attractions for next week’s episode didn’t make it look like finally the real story is gonna start, I might be tempted to give it up altogether.

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  • t6

    You know…they complain about TV viewership shrinking…banner ads like that are one of the reasons I prefer to wait for my TV to come out on DVD. Then I get no commercials, no lame dancing frogs in the corner of my screen right in the middle of an intense moment, and no banner ads.

    Of course the conundrum is, without the ratings the shows will never get to DVD. On the other hand, I’ve never been a Nielsen family, and I’ve never known anyone who’s been a Nielsen family…so my voice has never been heard by them anyway. Now that I have a TiVo, I’m still unclear if they count my viewership (only to discount it later because all TiVo people are TV stealers) or if they only count the TiVo habits of Nielsen families.


  • MBI


    I don’t remember seeing that on my network, but I was distracted making dinner. Also, I was bored with the episode.

    I think you’re being kind of harsh on this episode. Yes, most of it was treading water bullshit, yes, Peter and Hiro’s storylines get lamer every day. But it had one of the coldest, darkest moments I’ve ever seen on network TV, with Bennet and the Russian. Not Bennet killing the guy, though that was cool. But torturing him by irrevocably erasing his most cherished memories. That felt like a stab in the gut.

    Also, Claire wasn’t upset about lying, she was upset that she could get caught in a lie.

  • While I agree with a lot of what you say about the pervasive advertising that’s going on, comparing Elya Baskin (the Russian actor who played Ivan) to Yakov Smirnoff is just dirty pool. Baskin’s a really good character actor whom I first saw in Moscow on the Hudson and 2010, and Smirnoff’s a one-joke comedian whose career apparently died in about 1993.

  • Kate

    I’m on the West Coast and I didn’t see this banner ad, and I watched the whole episode? Hmm.

  • J.

    Yeah, I saw that add, too, and thought it was pretty ridiculous.

    And a catastrophe will threaten New York? Yay to see they’re running the *exact same story arc* they ran last year. I guess they’re trying to appease new viewers who missed it before. Hey, if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!

  • Barb Gorczyca

    Television advertising has been going downhill for years. Back in the 80s, shows were on average about 49 minutes. Nowadays, you are lucky if you get 39-40 minutes for a one hour show. Not only are the end credits re-done (instead of the tried and true voice overs of yesteryear) to plug in more promos but the banner ads and all the other junk added in during the episode (the animations are the worst) just diverts from enjoying it more. My bet it is a means of getting people to buy the DVD sets which give the viewers what they really want – no advertising junk but you then have to worry about music replacements. Anyway, I am a proud TIVO owner and will continue to zip thru the ads which I can no longer watch.

    As for Heroes, gotta agree. It is not great at all these days with its focus on uninteresting newbies, poor stories and docking airtime on the characters we want to see.

  • JT

    There’s an article in the Daily News dated Oct 31 that’s very similar to this blog entry dated Oct 30. I wonder if Bianculli reads your site or if it was just a coincidence.

    Anyway, I totally agree with you. The constant promotion for Bee Movie on NBC is irritating and has made me want to not watch it. And I didn’t catch Heroes but that banner ad is ridiculous.

    (Still want to see American Gangster though)

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