Were NBC's 3D Glasses Aimed In The Wrong Direction?

With Monday's Heroes only posting small ratings gains while Chuck's 3D episode jumped 15% (even against Fox's House), we have to ask: Should NBC have given Heroes a 3D episode as well?

Let's face it; Chuck is a fun show, but it's very unlikely that its double-digits ratings boost didn't come from the one-off 3D gimmick... A gimmick that was pretty much wasted on a fun, but otherwise nothing special episode. Heroes, on the other hand, was starting off its fourth "volume" and coming off of a run of bad publicity that has - at times - made it seem as if NBC has lost faith in the show... Surely Heroes was the show that could've used the ratings boost and PR bump of a special 3D episode? If nothing else, you know a show full of super-powered people throwing things around, flying and telekinetically threatening black ops soldiers could've taken advantage of the 3D effect to more spectacular ends than the (intentionally) more mundane Chuck. So what happened?

One possibility is that the show was offered 3D and turned it down; Heroes producer Greg Beeman explained that Monday's episode was the launch of a new visual style for the show, and perhaps establishing that was seen to be more important than any one-off add-on:

Tim [Kring, series creator] very much wanted to find a new/additional look for this episode to signify the new direction he was taking the show in. There were many meetings about this – but the obvious choice was to use a combination of hand held camera, long lenses, obscured foregrounds, jump cuts and no stage-line (more about stage line in a moment.) This kind of look has been used in movies like THE BOURNE IDENTITY and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. It is also something we had been doing from the beginning, but always as a spice and not as the main course. This look suits this storyline because it creates a visceral, documentary-like vibe. The jump cuts and line crosses create tension. And the long lenses through lots of foreground create a sense of voyeurism and observation. All of these elements really suited this story and this look will be used extensively (but not exclusively) in this volume.

A second possibility is that all of the show's effects made it too expensive or time-consuming to consider adding another layer of technical trickery required to add 3D effects. Again, Beeman:

Every HEROES episode takes more or less 10 working days to produce, plus a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks to post-produce.

The third possibility is that NBC just didn't feel that the show needed, or deserved, the 3D push... in which case, here's hoping that Heroes manages to build its audience on its own. Otherwise, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a much-shortened fourth season for the show if it returns in the fall.

NBC gets slight post-Bowl bump; Fox slips [THR Live Feed]