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+.


@M.L. House Ok, do you read the online graphic novels? Maybe you should. That explains where Tracy came from. And as for Claire and Noah, she didn't turn them into water, she turned the solid soil into a mixture of soil and water, notice how it's a pool of water they come out of and she asks them if they can swim? They can't spell out every detail for us, we're not babies and we don't need to be spoonfed, well I don't at least. You try fitting all the things you wanted into a 45 minute tv show then. For Hiro's dream, it was just that... a dream, he wasn't literally healed by Ishi, it's metophorical. The doctors really healed him, but in his dream where he was hallucinating, it was his mother that did so. Notice how all the shots lined up? Like his fight with Adam, representive of his fight to stay alive. If you're going to be writing about a show then you should at least be able to spot these things, not everything is literal. Oh and another thing, this is Heroes. It completely goes against the laws of physics. I think we're allowed to just accept these things. "How can Claire and Noah turn into water?" Ask yourself, how does Tracy turn into water in the first place? How does Sylar move objects. Come on man, it's a sci-fi show. Give over. Tell you what, how about you write into NBC and complain about how you didn't get to see all five years of Sylar being stuck in his own head.


@Heroesfan The strength thing does make sense, if you tried to lift a cup, you can because you have the strength to do so. If you tried to lift a car nothing would happen because you don't have the strength to do so. Samuel has the power to bring down buildings on his own (this is relative to the cup) but can't destroy an entire city(just like you couldn't lift a car). That's how it works. And for the graphic novel, it's not a different ending from the show. That's a dream that Angela has about it being destroyed.


And I think that, worst comes to worst, the Heroes franchise would be much better off if they finished off the original series with one more season (with an end date set, even Tim Kring couldn't keep the show from having some kind of direction) and then spin off from there in the form of comics, and possibly a spin off series or two without the "creative" influence of Tim Kring. Put them on cable TV. I'm sure some cable network would be desperate enough to take a Heroes spin-off if they got their act together. What's small fry on network TV could still get proportionally good ratings on cable (so long as there's a serious upturn in quality in that last season.) I would also like to point out something that really bugs me: it does NOT take a massive special effects budget to pull off a show like this. Sure, it might not be as cutting edge as we'd all like, but they could EASILY be giving us the big conflicts and epic battles with many uses of different powers together that we all so crave, even if it were on the cheap. It's doable on their budget. But they instead blow their money on a few huge, realistic special effects used in a context we don't often care to see. It's not just that they're on a smaller budget. It's that they're LAZY.


M.L. House isn't tearing up Tim Kring. Tim Kring just tore himself up in that interview. I believe this show should get a chance to reboot the series with one more season, but Tim Kring shouldn't be allowed to touch it. He shouldn't be allowed to be anywhere NEAR it. With some fresh blood and a new outlook, the show could turn back into quality television again. A "Brave New World" for Heroes, so to speak. But if Tim Kring and company remain near the show any longer, then it truly is doomed.

Matt richenthal

@mark: think about your points #3, #10 and #12: they require utter assumptions on the parts of viewers:
3) There could have been an evolved human that helped Eli travel? Sure, there COULD have been a lot of things. But it's a plot hole b/c it's never explained.
10) "sylar spent what felt like five years inside his head..." So that's how you write a storyline: you just say a character spent X amount of time, figured this and that out and - presto! - is someone new? That's just lazy nonsense. It's just making crap up without showing any of it to the viewer. This is a TV show. We're supposed to actually see things happen, not have a character tell us what happened in his fantasy.
12) Exactly! We don't know a thing about Hiro's surgery! All we know is he had some magical dream and was cured.
You seem stuck on the term "plot holes." The entire meaning of that term is that the show does NOT answer any questions - it just throws random stuff out there and leaves it up to viewers to try and come up with the most desperate explanation possible. It's admirable that you're trying... but a quality TV show doesn't leave it up to the viewer to just concoct excuses for how something COULD have happened.

Matt richenthal

Matt Roush of TV Guide Magazine wrote this funny, possibly helpful piece of advice for the show:
Do “volume 6� in comic book form, sparing NBC the expense of producing it, viewers the misery of watching it, but giving the devoted few the closure they feel they’ve earned. Spare the network, spoil the fan, but please, just go away. What do you guys think of that idea?

Matt richenthal

@mark: it's not a plot hole that Tracy showed up out of nowhere, slithered through the ground and disappeared? Hmmm, ok. Can we call it a lazy, pathetic plot device in that case? More importantly, forget Tracy:
Would you refer to it as a "plot hole" that somehow Claire and HRG - who was unconscious at the time, mind you - also magically became water? Please, please explain that one to us.


@Mark. "9)Those were small things compared to what he was trying to do. He didn't have enough enhancement to do what he wanted, so nothing happened. It's like lifting things. You have X amount of strength. You can lift things that require X amount of strength, but if you try to lift things which require X + X amount of strength, nothing happens." Mark that answer makes no sense at all. So if Samuel wants to swats a fly, than he will only have the strength to swat the fly. But when he wants to flatten a Mansion than he can be that strong, whether or not any other heroes are around? Here it is. It's crappy writing. Plot hole.


@Mark. Explain how Samuel took down an entire Mansion in N.Y. on his own, with no Heroes to draw power from. He also went to TX. on his own and took down the Sherriff's Building. He also took on HRG in the streets of LA on his own. So why is he completely powerless in the last episode of the season, once the carnies leave? There are still very powerful Heroes all around him. Like Sylar, Peter, Emma and Doyle. It doesn't make sense. He couldn't even get away from the cops at the end. Also Mark. Literal or not. She sees a destroyed carnival. The season's ending was lame and nothing happened. No big show down and full of plot holes. The graphic novel ending at least had action and made more sense than the show. The graphic novel has the big showdown and no Peter flying in out of the blue, and it has Samuel use his power. The TV ending has him powerless. It's not my opinion, it is clearly two different ending. Do you have a reason to be saying it isn't?


@F.D. Here. I'll explain some of the plot holes for you. 1)Carbon dioxide is different than no air.
2)There was still air, just so little that it caused him to faint. And Tracy's freakin' made of H20, she literally IS oxygen.
3)Time zones can affect this, plus Eli is from a carnival full of evolved humans, there could easily be someone to help him get there and back. For the others, I don't think we know where the carnival is before it moves to NY.
4)Again, a carnival full of specials.
5)As above. Plus, Emma treated it.
6)So Tracy sifted through the ground. Then disappeared. No plot holes there.
7)Ok, you make a show where someone freezes time and defeats all the bad guys. Then see what you do with the leftover 50 minutes. Let me know once you reach a fourth season.
8)Since they were equally balanced, it doesn't matter what they done, the other would still stop it. Hardly a plot hole.
9)Those were small things compared to what he was trying to do. He didn't have enough enhancement to do what he wanted, so nothing happened. It's like lifting things. You have X amount of strength. You can lift things that require X amount of strength, but if you try to lift things which require X + X amount of strength, nothing happens.
10)Sylar just spent what felt like 5 years inside his head without his abilities. I'm sure that in that time he could have easily overcome his need and want for more information.
11)Hmm, she was teleported away with Hiro and Ando. Oh what's that... Hiro and Ando also returned to the Carnival. They obviouly brought her back with them.
12)We don't know where abouts on his head they entered, nor how long a time has passed since he had the surgery. I think that covers all the plot holes. Let me know if you can think of any others or don't understand these ones.

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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