Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When Tie-Ins Go Bad, or Why Isn't Heroes More Like Lost (Which It's Obviously Copying Anyway?)

Those of you watch Heroes on NBC may know about the free comic books to enhance your "Heroes Experience" (TM).

Some of the books work. Eden's backstory, for instance, told an effective story, and made her character more complex and compelling.

But most of the books fail. On average, the collection is one of the worst examples of graphical storytelling I've ever seen. (Disappointing for a show produced by Jeph God-of-Comics Loeb).

Maybe the low quality supplements are excusable, they're still figuring tihs thing out, and hey, you get what you pay for. Besides, they could do worse.

In fact, they already have. The worst tie-in they've made to date: this little gem, from Hana Gitelman's blog is completely embarassing for everyone involved. (Can someone fire the intern that wrote that, and then the other intern who read it? And anyone else who heard it and didn't stop it?)

Even if the absent quality was somehow forgivable, the way the comics rewrite the motivations of central characters is insulting. In Claire's backstory, we see that she didn't mean to kill her rapist when she sped his car into a wall, she just wanted to scare him a tiny bit. (The fear on her face when she found out he actually lived was just, what, PTSD?). In Nathan Petrelli's comic, we find out that he hasn't actually been in denial about his power at all. Go figure.

Used to be we'd have to wait for a remastered edition to be horrified like this.

All this would still be forgiveable if they hadn't committed the cardinal sin of tie-ins: making them necessary to fully understand the show. I can gripe about The Lost Experience all I want, but in the end, my participation was completely optional (assuming this gets worked into the show sooner or later).

But Heroes has gone farther, they require you to sift through their inane and contrary supplements to fully understand basic plot. At the end of Fallout (episode 11) Sylar has basically escaped from Mr. Bennett. In the following episode, he's back in custody, his recapture saved for the comic, to the complete bewilderment of those not sufferring along at home.

Mandatory external content is bad. Hastily written ad-filled comics are bad. Please, Heroes: save the tie-ins, save the show.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Your Radio Just Got Better

A recent settlement aims to eliminate payola in music broadcasting. This means large recording studios can no longer bribe radios for airplay, getting the same songs pounded into our ears ad nauseum. You might be surprised at how payola has evolved since the 1950s:

Other forms of inducement include lavish prizes meant for listeners that wind up going to station employees; promises by record companies of concerts by well-known artists in exchange for airplay; and payments for promotional expenses and station equipment.
So fewer call-in prizes. But part of the settlement inculdes the agreement to play "8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime for independent record labels and local artists." I think that's a fair trade.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


For those who do not know, I have a strong distaste for the local news. Particularly in Kansas City, the motto for news directors seems to be "If it bleeds, it leads". So my thinly disguised disgust was fully disclosed on February 28, 2007 when, at 9:00PM CST all four major networks (our house does not have cable/satellite) cut to the "dangerous" weather. I checked the KC Star this morning, and on a cursory glance, there were no deaths reported. In the cost of human lives, it apparently was not that dangerous after all. Why is there such an obsession with weather in the Kansas City area?

My guess is that there are two primary factors: our agricultural heritage and the rapid nature by which our severe weather strikes. As I flipped over to KCPT to watch a D-Day documentary, I realized that it was not mandatory to over-report the weather. KCPT had no metro weather map with counties colored for Tornado Watch, Tornado Warning, Flash Flood Warning, Groundhog Day Watch, etc. KCPT (public television) simply had text in the top left corner of the screen that said 'Tornado Warning' and every 10 minutes or so it would send a scroll across the bottom with more information. Honestly if you are still watching television with a tornado warning in your area you either

A) are not affected/are far or safe from the reported storm


B) are ignorant and deserve to die (this only includes those who know a tornado is in the area).

This is all a bit harsh, I know, but someone needs to get across to our local televsion stations, that some things are not to be tampered with... like Lost, which I was unable to see.

Do satellite dishes still "fail" to offer local programming? That would be a failure I could live with.