This Just In: Tim Kring Has No Idea How to Write a TV Show

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Tim Kring may be a very nice man. He's responsible for one of the best set of episodes in TV history (Heroes, season one) and we don't wish unemployment on anyone.

But the Heroes creator gave an interview last week in which he sounded like someone from the mail room that had never penned a single second of a television show.

The good news? Many of his quotes go a long way toward explaining the problems Heroes has faced over the last couple seasons. The bad news? We didn't know how far Kring had fallen sooner. Otherwise,, we could have legitimately tried to get him replaced.

Read the full interview here and check out a few telling excerpts below, many of which are followed by TV Fanatic (TVF) notes/responses...

On who ratings plummeted: "We took a seven-week break [during season one], and the audience never came back after that."

TVF Note: Lost took a six-week break on season three; The Sopranos once took a break for over a year. Try another excuse, Mr. Kring.

Useless Villain

On characters evolving:" The characters have to change. If they don’t, the audience says, “Why aren’t they changing?”... [but then] you’re either held to some standard where the audience wants them back, or you have to just say, 'This is who they’ve become.'"

On never killing anyone significant off: "We obviously know that certain characters are popular, so we’re not going to kill those off. But even that is hard to know... For everyone who hates this one character, there’s a fan club that loves him."

TVF Note: The Wire killed off Stringer Bell on season three, one of its most fascinating and popular characters. Creator David Simon had a great quote at the time, referencing how characters must serve the purpose of the show, NOT the audience. Something to think about for any writer.

On his ideal version of Heroes: "I would have started with new characters all over again... But once fans fall in love with certain characters, it’s harder to do that."

AND OUR FAVORITE QUOTE: "We’ll take an idea from the guy who gets our coffee."

Trust us, Mr. Kring, the last few seasons made that abundantly clear.

Our overall take from this interview? Kring and his staff have no idea how to actually build a TV show. A solid writer must possess enough confidence in his vision to go through with whatever stories he wants to tell. He must have faith that the audience will follow them wherever they go.

Take Lost.

Producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff have been adament that they will always write the drama how they see fit. This is their world and their vision. The result has been a wild ride full of time-traveling and flashbacks that may have lost a couple million viewers along the way, but has remained consistent in its unique narrative and will go down as the most layered show in TV history.

Kring admits that he listened to far too many voices along the way and would have stopped writing for these characters years ago. No wonder he has nothing to do with Hiro but send him off on wild goose chases and give him tumors that every fan knows won't kill him.

We've often been asked if there should be a fifth season of Heroes. But now we need to ask the same of its loyal followers:

Do you really want another season if Kring is at the helm?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Matt richenthal

@mark: I wanna try and sum up my, and many other people's opinions, as simply as possible:
You can't say just "oh, they have super powers, anything goes at any time!" We can suspend disbelief for the concept of a sci-fi show in general, but we still ask for storylines to make sense. I'd like to focus on one:
Tracy turned HRG and Claire into soil. That's absolutely made up on the writers' part. They put two main characters in danger - so this was a major development, not some small B story - and solved the dilemma by inventing something on the spot. Neither Tracy nor Claire nor HRG had anything resembling that ability before. This perfectly sums up the show's problems:
1. There's never an ounce of suspense b/c we KNOW no one will die.
2. To solve situations, the series literally invents abilities on the spot.
That's nothing but shoddy, lazy writing. If you wish to watch a show where there's no consistency week to week, that's your choice and the choice of about 4 million other people. But over 12 million people have abandoned the show since season one and this illustrates why. P.S. This isn't just me being a negative critic. Tim Kring ADMITS they do not plan ahead, they take ideas on a weekly basis from random people and they cater to various fan opinions on what characters are popular at what time. What's even to debate here?


Yep, I definitely want a new season, but they need to be put at risk. As long as there is time traveling, there is no real threat to anyone. That needs to be removed in order to have any chance of a decent season 5 (as much as I like Hiro, there's no peril for anyone if he can go and rest everything). Season 5 needs to be a war between those who wanted to stay hidden and those who wanted to be see. Claire made that decision for herself, but it will affect ALL 'specials' and in that respect, it wasn't a choice that she had the right to make. The war should be blatant, in the public eye, and cross borders.


@heroesfan I have to admit, that made me lol. You should do stand up. I'm not joking btw, I did actually laugh. :) Honestly, Zeroes? No, I write Untold Tales. It's not the best fan fiction in the world, but hey, you'd probably like it better than the show.


(@Mark / Zeroes Writer) I did turn it into 4 seasons. It was in a precognitive dream. Sylar, Peter, Claire, Rouge, Wolverine and all the other X-Men where there. We were all at a Carnival on HBO. And the guys who brings Tim Kring's coffee was there to write season 6. And... and... you were there Mark! The smartest man in the world, holding a shovel! Wait for it... Wait... "To fill in the potholes!"


@heroesfan yeah, let's see how you can turn that into 4 seasons


(@Mark / Heroes Writer) I just did better. Let me replay it... You know when I called you that inexcusable word... hold for it... hold... "Heroes Writer" P.S. Heroes writing was great when it was the X-Men and Carnivale.


@heroesfan ps. I just love the irony of your name. :)


@heroesfan see now you're just being really immature. Honestly I'd love to be a writer. Yes, their standards could be brought up a bit, and things explained a bit more, but I'll tell you now, they've done well so far haven't they. I'd like to see you do any better.


(@Mark / Heroes Writer) Your logic seems to be a perfect match for Heroes writing. Also I want to explain to you that wasn't a compliment. But I must say I am truly sorry for name calling. You know when I called you that inexcusable word... hold for it... hold... "Heroes Writer"


@Derek, I know what this weeks one is about (further up I was actually explaining it to "heroesfan", I was actually referring to the couple prior to this weeks, they explained where Tracy was. But didn't Tracy say that she no longer wanted contact from Noah? Which explains her disappearance; she wants nothing to do with him. And the call from Lauren brought her back. Characters have disappeared for a while before, just look at Mohinder this season.

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Heroes Quotes

Sylar: You're like me.
Peter: I will never let myself become you.
Sylar: You already are, brother.

[after teleporting to NYC] Yatta! Hello New York!

Hiro Nakamura

Heroes Music

  Song Artist
Song Road to Joy Bright Eyes
Song Mustang Sally Wilson Pickett
Song I Want It That Way Backstreet Boys