NBC's Heroes racked up the network's top-selling DVD for 2007 by cultivating die-hard fans with extensions of the show's fantasy world across every form of media (while selling plenty of additional advertising against those extensions along the way). Just how wide is the transmedia universe of Heroes? "I don't envy you the task of tracking it all," says co-executive producer Jesse Alexander. We tried anyway...
Recaps & Web Extras
Clips With two-minute summaries of every episode, plus season walk-throughs, featured clips, and video dossiers on each character, there's no excuse for falling behind.
Behind the Scenes These mini documentaries introduce the composers, set designers, stunt coordinator, et al.
Global News Interactive Mock news reports provide clues to the show's mysteries.
Two-Screen Episodes While you watch the television broadcast, follow a barrage of polls, quizzes, and other real-time pop-ups on the Web site.
Video Commentary Within 24 hours of an episode's TV broadcast, NBC posts a Web version with video commentary from writers, producers, and cast members.
Wiki Open-source explanations to all things Heroes. Did you know that the license-plate number of Hiro's father (played by George Takei from the original Star Trek) is NCC-1701, the same as the registration number of the Starship Enterprise?
Fan Site Named "Ninth Wonders," after Isaac's comic book on the show, the Heroes fan site lets obsessed fans post short videos describing their theories, upload their own Heroes artwork, and exchange messages with the cast and crew.
For Gaming Systems NBC signed a deal with Ubisoft last summer for a superhero title for PCs and game consoles. In stores by the end of the year.
Online Play In Suresh's Loft, you wander the rooms looking for clues. In Claire's Game, you navigate a fiery train wreck to save a dying man. Isaac's Loft is a 360-degree interactive room; clicking on paintings reveals key plot points on the show.
Interactive Novel A full-length Web-only graphic novel about secondary characters includes a Flash-animated version.
Weekly Comics After each new TV episode airs, nbc.com/heroes adds an online comic-book chapter that provides back-story and fills gaps in that week's plot. Sponsored by Nissan.
Mobile Game Designed by Gameloft, Heroes: The Official Mobile Game has 11 levels you can download to your phone. The goal is to save the world, of course, but it also helps obsessed fans unlock spoilers.
Text Updates If you text Hana's name to the number on her blog, she replies with clues that lead to other Heroes Web sites. Viewers who "apply" for jobs at Primatech Paper receive texts regarding "next steps" from a company rep.
Trivia Contest You know Hiro is lying when he talks about: a) thin sumo wrestlers, b) angry samurais, or c) ancient swords. Fans earn the chance to win $1,000 each week by completing weekly quizzes (either online or via text message). Also sponsored by
Create Your Hero Sponsored by Sprint, this application lets fans create their own Heroes characters and compete to have them featured in an online comic.
Novel Charlie, the Texas waitress with the Kodak memory, appeared in only two episodes, but she left a major imprint on Hiro, who failed to save her life. A novel called Saving Charlie delivers "the untold story of Hiro and Charlie."
Graphic Novel Wildstorm, a DC Comics subsidiary, compiled the first 34 weekly online comics into a $29.99 hard-cover graphic novel (Heroes, Volume One). After two months, it was in its second printing.
Magazine The bimonthly Heroes: The Official Magazine sells for $6.99 and features cast interviews, quizzes, foldout posters — and plenty of advertising.
Blogs and MySpace Characters Hana and Hiro maintain blogs, while three others have official MySpace pages. Claire, a cheerleader, has more than 11,000 MySpace friends.
Vote Petrelli A bogus congressional campaign site for the character Nathan Petrelli, VotePetrelli.com, includes downloadable posters and other propaganda.
Corinthian Casino & Hotel The Web site for the show's Vegas casino (corinthianlasve-gas.com) gives such straight descriptions that you might be fooled into booking a room — until Hana hacks in with one of her secret messages (e.g., "I have something to show you").
Primatech Paper On the show, Mr. Bennett's company may be a front for a covert organization, but the illusion of legitimacy extends to the Web site primatechpaper.com and a real phone number viewers can call to apply for a job.
Corporate Spying When
Yamagato Fellowship This site (yamagatofellowship.org) tells the tales of historical heroes, with a five-part documentary devoted to Takezo Kensei, a mythological samurai whose sword Hiro tries to steal on the show.
Activating Evolution Dr. Suresh's novel about genetic mutation is the bible of freakishness on the show. A fake PR site for the book (activatingevolution.org) allows you to read an excerpt, participate in a dream study, and listen to interviews with geneticists.
A version of this article appeared in the May 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.