TV3 Saves Heroes From This Part of the World — Again

So much for saving the cheerleader, saving the world – what about saving face, TV3?

Universal Pictures NZ has announced that the season-three Blu-ray and DVD release of Heroes again has been postponed, making this territory probably the only one in the world where you can’t buy either locally.

Why? Because Heroes has still to complete its free-to-air TV run.

After launching season three in late ’08, TV3 pulled it because of faltering ratings and has since consigned it to sister channel C4 – where it will resume in March.

By then, of course, the end will be ‘nigh for season four in the US (and probably the prospects of its renewal).

You can’t blame TV3 for dumping Heroes after viewers started to switch off – but if it’s no longer popular enough for primetime on the channel, why should the broadcaster thwart its home video release?

The irony is TV3 deserves kudos for being progressive enough to air the last couple of seasons so close to their US transmissions.

Fans might think the strategy a no-brainer for a free-to-air channel that doesn’t want to lose audiences to new media but it’s one NZ broadcasters have been reluctant to pursue — even though distributors are urging customers worldwide to screen their product as close to the US networks as possible to discourage piracy.

With Heroes, TV3 has only encouraged illegal downloading: firstly, by delaying new episodes for more than a year after their US premiere; and secondly, by not screening the show in HD.

There is a silver lining of sorts for Blu-ray buyers: season three of Heroes can be imported from anywhere because it’s zone-free. (And if you have a multi-region DVD player, regional coding on the DVDs won’t matter, either.)

It’s also likely C4 will screen season four soon after season three, which means by the time the former’s released on Blu-ray everywhere else, you should be able to buy it in this part of the world, too.

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