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Tim Kring Blames Audience for the Suckage That is Heroes

Full Disclosure: I gave up watching Heroes shortly after the Season 3 premiere. You can read those links to see why. It’s not pretty.

But even so, I admire those fans that have stuck around through the hard times. Fan dedication is something not to be trifled with or belittled. Unfortunately, Heroes creator Tim Kring doesn’t feel the same way.

From an IGN interview, Tim Kring says:

“[Serialized storytelling] is a very flawed way of telling stories on network television right now, because of the advent of the DVR and online streaming. The engine that drove [serialized TV] was you had to be in front of the TV [when it aired]. Now you can watch it when you want, where you want, how you want to watch it, and almost all of those ways are superior to watching it on air. So [watching it] on air is related to the saps and the dipsh*ts who can’t figure out how to watch it in a superior way.”

Wow. Just…wow. This is the thanks his fans get for sticking it out. Nice job, Kring.

The article continues:

Kring said no final ending for Heroes has been conceived, noting, “We didn’t have an island to get off of.” On top of that, Kring noted that “My original idea was more of an anthological vibe to it, where you regenerate the characters.”

Kring explained he had thought they could almost completely replace the characters each season, remarking, “I was primarily fascinated by the origin story. Once the original story is over, and the character has no more questions about what’s happening or existential drama, then the questions become just about plot, and then it becomes harder for me personally to connect to.”

However, Kring continued that, “The problem is you run into a whole series of issues, where show and business run into each other. The network falls in love with characters, the audience falls in love with characters, the press falls in love with characters. And it’s contractually hard to get people onboard for a brief period.” As a result, Kring said, “You find yourself writing for characters you thought would be gone.”

So, now what he’s saying is the show got away from him. Still don’t see how that’s the fans’ fault. If anything, he should retire himself from television and leave it to people who can handle the job and won’t belittle the fans that make it a hit. It’s not their fault he couldn’t keep the ball rolling.

I wonder how many fans will still stick around after this love bomb?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

22 Comments on Tim Kring Blames Audience for the Suckage That is Heroes

  1. I think that’s hilarious!

    And I can definitely understand if, after comments like these, Heroes finds itself losing both its fans.

  2. What an idiot. If the fans stop watching your show, it’s not the fans’ fault. If the show isn’t coming out the way you originally planned, that’s not the fans’ fault. And it’s not like serialized TV shows can’t be hits – look at Lost and 24, for example.

  3. Wow.

    Bitter, much?   You gotta love this part: “.. the question becomes just about plot, and it becomes harder for me to connect to.”   Yes, Mr. Kring, PLOT is a 4-letter word, but not the way you think.

  4. What bugs me about it is, Heroes is SUCH a missed opportunity. we could have had a brilliant super-hero story on TV, with terrific graphics and effyfink. And what do we get? Emo Superman and the Adventures of the Sad League Of America.

    It’s just too bad.

    Shut it down, then re-launch it under the direction of Joss Whedon, or Joe Straczynski, or somebody like that.

  5. Wait a sec – with all deferrence to John, go read the full article in context and see if you feel the same way from reading these excerpts.  I got a different view of things after reading it all.  It was a live panel discussion cut out for an article.  I doubt Tim saw it as an interview as he was saying these things, but instead responding to some questions from either the moderator or the audience.

    Before the first part quoted here, he jokes that serialized storytelling (in contrast to single-episode stories) is a bear to do.  He’s talking about it being harder to write than a traditional TV series (which I have no doubt is true given the failure of most.)  Then he goes on to say that serials written pre-DVR are different than today.

    “So [watching it] on air is related to the saps and the dips**s who can’t figure out how to watch it in a superior way.”

    What on Earth is he saying?  I honestly can’t figure it all out.  I can understand how you might decide it’s anti-fan, but I’m not so sure.  The ‘saps and the dipshits’ are those who don’t use DVRs, I’m pretty sure.  I think he’s saying that you have to write serials as if people aren’t using DVRs (because the networks can’t assume you have one) but then because many people do, they don’t get the best experience they could get if the writer could assume you had one.  But that doesn’t make a whole lot sense either.  Are we sure whatever word was dropped by IGN actually meant [watching it]?  I’d like to see the real transcript to know.  And ‘related’ is a strange verb in this context.

    I totally disagree with him on the premise that you can’t write a serialized show to work for both DVRs and broadcast TV.  Is he seriously saying that watching the show sans-DVR (with commercials, at the hour it is broadcast, etc.) would be different?  That we’d like it more?  Perhaps he is referring to the fact that he dislikes it when people tear apart every last frame?   I’m not sure we can tell from this snippet of the discussion but that’s bogus.  Good shows are good shows.

    I will add that not having an ending is not at all unusual in TV production.  I’ve seen countless series producers mention they didn’t have an overall story arc but instead were just trying to get the pilot picked up.  Heck, even the great Whedon says this was true for Firefly if I remember right.  The folks who wrote Veronica Mars said the same on the DVD commentary.  I’ve never heard a TV writer say he wrote the story like a book – instead he writes it paycheck to paycheck.

    And I suspect he’s right about having a the show take on a life of its own.  I’ve seen that several times from other producers as well.  It just looks like he’s saying that he might have great ideas for where to take the show (such as in killing Claire in a totally cool and meaningful way) that are blunted by the network or others who fear a fan backlash.  Look at the Spock situation with the Star Trek films for evidence of this.

    I’m not saying Tim isn’t a complete idiot, but I’m not sure the context and meaning of his words are entirely clear from either the IGN article or the snippets here.

  6. After his apology for season two (which was mostly “I apologize…for all the writers SUCKING and going on strike, the jerks!”) it seemed like the sort of hissy-fit thing he might say.

    Not having an ending is all right. Almost preferable. I’d rather your ending develop naturally from where the story goes, rather than you rigidly trying to force a pre-made ending into a story that evolved along the way.

  7. @Scott: I dunno…others are interpreting this the same way.

  8. “Emo Superman and the Adventures of the Sad League Of America.”



    And beats me just how he’s trying to blame this on DVR or fans, but he does sound like a whiner making excuses.



  9. I dunno…should we have expected anything better from the creative force behind Crossing Jordan???

  10. *coughcough quite liked Crossing Jordan coughcough*

    (Although, since I’m rewatching it now at the behest of my wife, who was aHUGE fan, I notice an awful lot of really corny crap. Sooo…)

    I was grumbly when he had Jeph Loeb on Heroes. The comic book writer? He doesn’t have a brilliant track record recently. It was a bad omen.

  11. Ah, thanks John, through these links I think I see more into what he is saying.  Others were able to interpret his langauge better than I.  I should point out that nobody else has any more facts; everybody, including the Washinton Post blog, points back to the IGN article.  So that’s the best we get so I still worry it is without context.  TV.IGN might not hire the most journalistic writers.

    But I see now what he’s talking about.  He’s blaming DVR/streaming on the poor ratings!  Wow, that took a lot of analysis to see – I suspect it was clearer if you were there.  I think he’s saying that since the non-saps recognize a superior viewing experience they choose those options and thus the ratings only include saps.  Yikes.

    He’s wrong by the way.  I know somebody at Nielsen and they do include DVR numbers now.  And Heroes is streamed off Hulu which I am positive provides viewing stats to NBC.  So they know exactly how valuable it is.

    So yes, he is insulting his viewers.  Dumbass.

  12. It’s not Kring’s “saps and dipshits” line that really pisses me off, it’s like he seems completely annoyed with the elements of the show that would theoretically seem to hold the greatest potential.  Peter uses his powers, only to accidentally strand his girlfriend in a horrible dystopic future?  Yeah, let’s just skip right over that, it’s not like that situation could produce any interesting psychological drama.

    You’ve established an origin and now have to develop a plot from it?  Yeah, who wants to watch events logically flow from what’s been established?  I love it when I pick up a book and it’s nothing but chapters 1-3 over and over again.

    Not that the first season of Heroes was the greatest masterpiece ever produced on television, but man, it was addictive!  And clever!  And eccentric!  It’s mindblowing that Kring seems not only to fail o recognize the strong suits of that season, but to be downright annoyed/dismissive about them.

  13. The first season was really addicitve, you’re right. And then the last episode fell over. And then the second season just kept descending. I didn’t even try the third season. (I don’t know why I tried the second season).

    Ah well. It was a fantastic idea, handled very poorly, and possibly on its final legs. (Irritatingly, Heroes got three seasons, and other shows that could’ve done so much with that much time…don’t. Sheesh. I would have taken three seasons of Journeyman…)

  14. Heroes is only engaging until you realize that the shallow, cliche characters and situations aren’t going to give way deeper meaning, or get any less shallow or cliched. Some of us just haven’t figured that out yet. Sorry.

  15. I guess I like shallow and cliched SF then. I’m still having fun with the show. Tim Kring should stuff a sock in his mouth though so those of us still enjoying ourselves don’t get turned off by his attitude.


  16. Mmmm… pancakes! πŸ™‚

  17. I enjoy waiting each week for shows which I enjoy, it’s fun. I also enjoy going to movies on the Friday they come out, although there’s usually several weeks to do so.  For me, doing something any time can be nice, but I like to “make a date” to enjoy myself.

    Meanwhile, Heroes has massive plot problems and suffers because the writers seem to want to string the viewer along in a Lost type fashion. Lost works because the show is based on a mystery, which is the island, but Heroes is based on superheroes and there’s little mystery to that. The viewer already knows what superheroes are about and we want to see them doing something.

    I understand that the show is trying to say that it would be confusing to suddenly get superpowers because you wouldn’t know what to do with them, but at least some people would know pretty quickly, or be forced to figure it out.

    It may be too late for the show though.

  18. What gets me is that Tim is complaining about all the stuff that every TV writer has to cope with. There’s nothing unique to his situation. If the show is in a downward spiral you can’t blame the DVR crowd or even the business of television since other shows (BSG is still my favorite despite a few hiccups) manage to keep it interesting. I’m so angry that a great show like Pushing Daisies is getting cancelled but Heroes will still (most likely) stay on the air. Heaven forbid quality should make any difference.

  19. I guess least of my problems are shallow, cliched characters or plots. Honestly, I have been a dutiful reader of X-Men comics for way, waaaay too many years to be put-off by shallow characters and dorky stories. Done right, it can be terrific fun (look at the Chris Claremont stuff. Corny as hell. And it’s all classic). And if it’s done right for an extended period of time, then the sheer weight of time sort of lends the characters depth, just because they start to have histories. That’s fine by me.


  20. The show is actually improving, if you just forgive them the early contradictions of the season. They still do dumb things occasionally, which again seem to be mostly budget-related, but dramatically, the story has improved. And Bryan Fuller, now that Pushing Daisies has been wrongly axed, is probably coming back to the staff. But what really seems to be going on here, and what he seems to be expressing frustration about is a fight between Kring and the network. The network wouldn’t give them enough of a budget to do adequate special effects in Season 1. The network wouldn’t let them introduce mostly new characters in Season 2. The network insisted Kring fire his writers, etc. Now that’s not a new situation, true, but it’s caused Heroes to veer wildly back and forth, trying to find a formula that would please the network and the advertisers, which torpeoded the show pretty quickly. The same thing happened to Lost, but they came back. So I guess I’m still sticking around to see if they can come back all the way.



  21. Kring *might* have blamed The WIRED Kiss Of Death… you know what I mean, right? Anything, meaning ANYTHING that gets on the cover of WIRED Magazine will soon suffer a reversal of fortunes.

    As soon as they printed that Heroes cover… ding! Doomed. (Interestingly, that happened with the dot-com economic boom, too.)

    1. No one is angry that this stupid show is cancelled.
      the show is stolen IP and I for one hope that those NYC artists The Twins are successful with their lawsuit MALLERY v NBCU in the courts against NBCU and the hack Tim Kring.
      Tim Kring should go to prison for what he tried to pull off by pretending Heroes was his original IP.
      I can’t wait for the truth of why Heroes failed and was pulled off the air by NBCU to come out in the media.
      The failure of this show and NBCU’s theft is the buzz all over the industry.

    2. GO TO MALLERY V NBCU DOCKET # 09-999 NOW!!!!

    3. May 20, 2010
      Heroes is finished because it’s stolen IP and we applaud those NYC artists that filed the copyright infringement lawsuit against this hack tim kring and NBC 4 years ago.
      The lawsuit MALLERY V NBCU DOCKET# 09-999 will go before The U.S. SUPREME COURT on MAY 21, 2010.
      This lawsuit caused Isaac Mendez to be written off the show and many of the show’s story line to change which caused the show’s story lines to become lame and confusing, causing the show to fail.
      Don’t believe it, then where is Heroes today?
      To many of us that work in the tv and film industry it is our prayer that the moron called tim kring will get exactly what’s coming to him.
      He’s a pathetic loser and what he stole he could not keep and the show still failed.
      What a massive financial loss to NBC.

      The concept of Heroes with an artist that could paint the future was created by two NYC artists called The Twins.
      The Male twin Eele is a real living Luba Divination Artist that can paint the future.
      His tribe THE LUBA art work is part of the permanent collection of the Met Museum NYC and Mr. Eele’s Luba Divination Art is part of the archives of The NY Historical Society listed under “CityLore” curated by Ms. Sally Herships.
      Eele and his twin Amnau created a fictional character called ( Idai Markus the black artist that could paint the future on large canvas and his canvas showed that terrorists was going to destroy two NYC landmark buildings and with this canvas Idai and several regular people with extraordinary powers was going to use the art to stop this tragedy) this story is based on Mr. Eele’s real life experience as an artist with this rare artistic ability.

      In 2005 Hunter College NYC invited Mr. Eele and his twin Amnau to teach the students about this rare artform and about their pioneering character Idai Markus.
      NBC heard about this show on the Associated Press and sent NBC representatives which included Bryan fuller to the show.

      On September 26, 2006 Idai Markus the black artist that could paint the future became Isaac Mendez the latino artist that could paint the future on canvas and Isaac’s canvas depicted that terrorists was going to destroy two NYC landmark buildings and that several ordinary people with extraordinary powers was going to use the art along with Isaac to stop this tragedy.
      The only changes tim kring made between the characters was race and he gave Issac Mendez a drug problem.
      Isaac could only paint the future when he shot up drugs. how racist is that?

      How do I know all of this?
      I am a writer and I’ve been working on this story for 4 years and most of this information can be found in the lawsuit.
      anyway…. the lawsuit entered the court system and NBCU admitted to “accessing and copying” The Twins copyrighted IP to create Heroes.
      Here is where i stop telling this fascinating story because you’ll have to wait for my book.
      But I’ll leave you all with this….
      The truth about how NBCU and tim kring tried to steal these nyc artists original copyrighted work to create Heroes is going to stun the world and it will teach hollywood an important lesson about buying and investing into stolen copyrighted intellectual property by hacks like tim kring.
      you owe to yourself to view the lawsuit MALLERY V NBCU, this lawsuit will answer all of your questions of what really happened to Heroes.

      Here’s an example of what can be found by viewing the lawsuit MALLERY V NBCU

      > — “John A. Coleman, Jr.
      > wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Begin forwarded message:
      > >
      > > > From: “John A. Coleman, Jr. Attorney for plaintiffs in Mallery V NBCU

      > > > Date: December 17, 2007 1:05:26 PM EST
      > > > To: Marcia Paul NBCU Attorney
      > > > Subject: Mallery v. NBCU
      > > >
      > > > Marcia:
      > > >
      > > > My clients decline NBC’s settlement offer.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > John
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > John A. Coleman, Jr.
      > > >
      > > > Friedberg Cohen Coleman & Pinkas, LLP
      > > >
      > > > 444 Madison Avenue
      > > > Suite 805
      > > > New York, New York 10022
      > > > Tel (212) 829-9090

    4. To read how Tim Kring claimed “He lied, cheated etc… to get Heroes on the air log on to;



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