The fourth season of "Heroes" kicked off on Monday, and the troubled show is already off to a shaky start both creatively and in the ratings. But fear not "Heroes" fans (or fan?) -- the show's blatant product placement will likely keep it afloat for at least one more season.

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"Heroes" has never been a stranger to the art of the shill. (Who can forget Hiro, a character whose comprehension of English changes with the whims of the writers, exclaiming his love for the Nissan Versa way back in Season One?) But the season premiere was so brazen in its plugs, we had to count down the episode's most egregious product placement moments. (Brought to you by Nissan!)

"Guitar Hero"

Now that "Claire Bear" is in college, she can finally do what any normal 18-year-old does-- skip out on class, avoid her annoying overachieving roommate, and discover the simple joys of playing "Guitar Hero" at a kegger. (Instead of, you know, actually drinking from the keg.) "Guitar Hero" is so prominently featured in the premiere, it actually figures into the plot when the police question Claire about her new roomie's apparent suicide. She couldn't have killed herself, Claire explains, because she was so great at "Guitar Hero." It's a sad state of affairs when a video game factors more heavily into the plot than the strangely M.I.A. Mohinder. Wait, did the "Heroes" braintrust actually take our advice and ditch the show's dreary narrator?


After a hard day of saving lives, all Peter Petrelli's paramedic coworker wants to do is knock back a few beers and some potstickers at their local Houlihan's. Peter turns down his pal's offer because, darn it, he has lives to save or something. Anyone who has ever spent any time in the Big Apple knows that Houlihan's is the dining choice for hard-working locals. Perhaps they could take in a matinee of "Mamma Mia" afterwards.


Oh, those college kids with their social networking and their oh-so-desirable advertising demographics. How do you reach them? Well, luckily Claire's roommate namechecks Facebook literally thirty seconds into meeting her. That way the show's forty-something writers get to look "with it," and NBC gets a nice fat check. Expect Hiro to start sending Tweets to Ando from the future once Twitter becomes lucrative enough to actually warrant being referenced on network television.


Who knew Sprint had such a monopoly on wireless coverage in Japan? "Heroes" really is a multicultural sellout.

Nissan Cube

Nissan and "Heroes" are like Hiro and Ando-- good pals who have outstayed their welcome. But that hasn't stopped NBC from showcasing the Nissan Cube in multiple scenes and giving it away in a recent sweepstakes. In fact, the Cube was the centerpiece of the "Heroes" display at the San Diego Comic-Con. Why don't they just admit it's the real star of the show? It certainly has more on-camera presence than Ali Larter.

Legal Seafood

Peter takes some time out of his busy life-saving efforts to fly all the way to Boston to get a cup of Legal Seafood's delicious chowder. After extolling the virtues of the tasty soup to his coworker, the aforementioned Houlihan's fan, he leaves a piping hot serving for the injured Bennet to enjoy with the not-dead-for-some reason Tracy. So powerful is Legal Seafood's broth, it makes Tracy/Nikki/whoever-the-hell-she-is-now temporarily forget she wants to turn Bennet's lungs into an aquarium. Soup for everyone!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Hey, remember that book that everyone was talking about six months ago? Yeah, well, now Claire's professor is reading it. Cute, right? Don't you want to go buy it?

"Crossing Jordan"

Okay, fine, this isn't actually a product. But it is the first show "Heroes" creator Tim Kring produced for NBC, and those DVDs aren't going to sell themselves. So why not have Claire's new buddy Gretchen explain her aptitude for forensic science by referencing a long-canceled NBC series that she's probably too young to remember? That's the sort of narrative logic that has kept the "Heroes" engine running strong for four long seasons.

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