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October 13, 2015

Tim Kring Explains What Goes on Behind the Scenes of 'Heroes'

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 8th 2010 5:29PM
HeroesBashing 'Heroes' has become a sport, much like bashing 'Saturday Night Live' became a sport several years ago. "It's not as good as it was" and "it sucks" are the phrases you hear most often when former fans (or fans that are still watching the show but always on the edge of leaving) talk about it.

Tim Kring tells The Onion that he knows what fans are saying about the show, but he also wants fans to know that there are things going on behind the scenes that they might not be aware of. For example, the writers strike hurt the show. Two, it's actually a more consistent show when more writers write an episode than having just one writer on an episode. Three, the writers don't even think of the show as being in "seasons," it's really all one continuous plot.

He makes a few good points. Being on the inside of a show can actually make you not see a few things that fans see (such as characters changing just for the sake of changing), but he also explains that if the characters didn't change at all fans would then be say "why aren't they changing?"

The biggest example he cites is Sylar. The way his character has changed over the seasons is directly related to Zachary Quinto's talents. He also says that if he had his way he'd only do 13 episodes a season and he would have started over with new characters. Not sure if that latter plan could ever really happen when you have characters and actors that the audience likes.

The season finale of 'Heroes' airs tonight at 9PM on NBC.

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The Claire's blood heals the dead to life has been long debated more then any other topic. One of the things I've loved about the "powers" is they seem to have 3 "levels" of power.

Ando first gets supercharge, then red lightning. Matt gets read thought, then control brain. Peter's current power is like Auther's. I can see his evolving from only holding one power to next holding multiple powers, then into stealing powers. Sylar started with understanding how things work, into gaining abilities when studying the brain, and lastly he has evolved into taking powers with empathy.

Claire's blood is Pandora's Box. Claire's blood evolved also. First she healed to the point of immortality. Next she can regenerate limbs. Lastly, she can bring the dead to life.

That was the jump that took away death from the show. Now if Claire's stages of power were not growth instead she had that power from day one she "evolved" we don't know. Not sure if the writers are just using plot arcs or the stages of development was always the plan for all the characters. Then again, Tim also wanted to write less episodes with changes in characters.

I can see the next plot arc in Brave New World where governments, rich people, even criminals try to kidnap her as cure for any disease or even old age. With her off camera or indesposed, more characters have the threat of a permenant death. I would find it even more interesting when people come to "save her" she has already been kidnapped by someone else.

Things I'd love to see:

Hiro/Ando saving the world one problem at a time.
Matt returning to the ability of seeing the future and why does he have another "guest" in his head.
Peter evolving with his new powers. This one power at a time is getting old.
Tracy/HRG start a romance. At least get together as a one of us one of them permanent partnership.
Mohinder has to rekindle is curiosity. Molly returning would also be nice. Don't know if they killed the story arc from the deleted scenes, but Arther took Molly's powers.
Sylar is the toughest. I personally wanted him dead long ago. Loved when Peter shut his abilities off and beat him to a pulp. Only thing I can see for him now is the next Christ figure for the "mutants". The next Magneto as it were.

Otherwise, I have new powers I'd like to see.

Telekinesis that creates walls, domes, sphreres. Basicly a force field. Maybe able to move them to fly. Downside is a total dome/sphere would not let in air to breathe.

Impowers props to make them real. Only 1 Replicator away from making gold and 1 Holodeck to make you the ultimate geek in the real world. If Al Smuto could be hired, you could get your very own shuttlecraft and visit Mars in minutes. Downside is why would you leave the house when you can create make believe people and play games all day?

Zombie verison of Claire. Heart doesn't beat, no idea why still walking around. No sleep, no fatigue, no feelings of hot/cold, no pain. Just seems like a mystery for Mohinder or Claire to interact with. Downside if woulded can only heal by eated dead flesh and gets a terrible hunger for immediatcy.

Genie but not in a bottle. Makes wishes come true. Downside alcoholic who can't make his wishes happen. Too much like a combonation of Hiro and matt, but I still think would be a cool variant.

Old cat lady with a similar power has Samual. Her power increases as she gets more of types of people/animals.
As a villain, the Gingerbread House comes to mind. Start with she needs lots of cats around to baking delicious treats which she uses to draw in children to remove the internal effects of old age such as pain and health. Maybe then it can twist to she has to eat children to gain the 3rd power limiting her also as a villain cuz she will need more children. Removing one year of age sounds fair.

March 06 2010 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A comment was made about Tim's comment why the show is basicly having issues. I watched the behind the scenes process the writing staff went through to write season 1 and 2. Basicly, each story arc gets a writer. then the overall story arc has a writer team to coodinate the stories. When the writer's strike happened, Chapter 3 became a one writer job. How far did it extend? I don't know. But if the writing "team" didn't start writing until Chapter 4, I can see how that would cause many issues. If some or all replaced, I can understand chapter 5, considering how foreign it is compared to past seasons. As mentioned so many times in the show, it's the butterfly effect. We as fans are not always privy to a writer leaving the show and replaced. I had personally experienced this with the book series after Babylon 5 ended. I started reading a few and hated them. The characters didn't talk the the characters and usually involved major characters. You watch the show for 5 years and they get a project dumped in their lap. But one trilogy was written by a writer on the show. It was AMAZING. I felt like I got brand new episodes to watch. I believe that is the context about the effects from the writer's strike should be interpreted.

March 06 2010 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Despite the writer's strike, Chapter 2 wasn't bad, just too quick. Chapters 3 and 4 weren't terrible, just different UNTIL you get to the end of chapter 4 when Nathan dies. Between Sylar, Peter, and Claire, Nathn should still be alive. That's where fans like myself get upset. They write that Claire's/Adam's blood can bring the dead to life then take it away. If Peter and Claire weren't there and Sylar wasn't Nathan could have died easy. Or he could have been killed a few episodes earlier so the family couldn't find the body. Completely unrealistic a Mother wouldn't TRY to save her son using the blood of her granddaughter even months later. Chapter 5 was rewritten in an un-Heroes fashion. Every previous season allowed you to see every character per episode or close to it. Many characters had to wait 4 episodes before you saw them again or more. Mohinder is a great example of more. Parkman and Hiro started strong early and gone late. Chapter 5 should have been called Sylar, Peter, Claire and those other people. Hiro and Ando being one of the MOST popular duo if not characters on the show were written off for half the season for Hiro and almost all season for Ando. Going back to season 2, is more likely why the season wasn't popular. I thought it was a nice twist, but their interactions are what made them special. Season 5 made a "superHiro" show into an unrealistic and uninteresting experience. Until the final few episodes where i could see the big picture, the show was slow and boring. Only Peter was interesting. Not that I don't find Sylar interesting, but the show is Heroes not Sylar. To improve, go back to what worked in season 1. Include all the characters per episode. No one likes them all, but we all have a different favorite. The storyline doesn't have to be epic, but interesting. The major arc in season 1 wasn't the destruction on NY, but can you really change the future if one person has the power to see it. You never knew til the last episode if anything they did would accomplish anything. Powers advanced seemingly in 3 stages. A small, medium, and great power. Peter should be more like Arthur by now compared to Parkman who got it quick. Nathan never got any advancement. Tracy is advancing faster than Parkman, but that was explained by stressing the person. Lastly, a villian wasn't always a villian. They were human. Selfish, greedy, loving, and spiritual. Villians showed a bad side to people without making them one dimentional. You saw that beginning in season 1 and has continued through chapter 5. Parkman being the best example. They had a perfect formula for success and started ignoring the formula for their story. You can have both. Season 5 wasn't terrible (if you ignore Nathan dying), but the formula was lost. This turned a weekly show into a show I'll watch on DVD. I have read before that Tim wanted this show to be shorter and different characters every week. Tim, use the formula that works for the fans not for yourself. You have a show cuz of US, not the other way around. Much like Joss Wheaton, good shows get cancelled. Shows like Firefly and Dollhouse were cut due to management. Joss, I love his work, but he is an artist primarily. You are following in his footsteps. Write for the audience or write for yourself. In the end when you write for yourself, it is on a notepad not broadcasted on television.

March 05 2010 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He should've gone with his first instinct and stuck to his guns regarding old characters leaving and new ones coming in. It's not like it hasn't been done before. Is there anyone left on L&O that was there when it started? And let's not forget the granddaddy of rotating cast - Doctor Who.

February 10 2010 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ashley Boyd

The only consistent aspect of Heroes is the writers saying "we know it sucks, we'll make it better again."

February 08 2010 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ashley Boyd's comment


February 08 2010 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

>Memo to Tim: something that happened TWO YEARS >AGO is not an acceptible excuse why your show sucks >NOW.

Send a copy of that memo to the White House.

February 08 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Arclight's comment

Totally the same and totally on topic.

February 08 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still don't get why he only wants to develop characters for 13 episodes at a time. No wonder why he doesn't do well in television...

February 08 2010 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The problem with heroes was inconsistency in the stories and storylines. This season has been a little better because we have a TRUE villian again, but the stories work best when ALL heroes are fighting together for a common cause and not on their own story/storylines. Also, agreed that Sylar was SEVERLY wasted the last two years and hopefully if the show is brought back, we will see the "good guys" vs. "bad guys" mega-fights we have been waiting for. Finally, when you kill someone, really kill them. It doesn't hurt to have a few stars written out of the show to make it more believable...not just the new side-kicks. Lets hope we get one more season and some real fun back on the show!

February 08 2010 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If only what went on behind the scenes was...good writing.

But seriously, less excuses and more good TV! I mean has sylar really done anything cool in the last three years? Remember when he was killing and stealing powers? He's like, not even a bad guy anymore. I can barely remember the last really evil thing he did.

You can't argue your way out of the fact that, as the article says, bashing Heroes is popular. His response should have been 'It's a great show' not listing reasons why it's doing bad. Other shows survived the writers strike. Other shows can figure out how to structure their shows and seasons so the viewers 'understand' it. The characters aren't really changing.

February 08 2010 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Kring wants to do fewer episodes per season he's about to get his chance...

Memo to Tim: something that happened TWO YEARS AGO is not an acceptible excuse why your show sucks NOW.

February 08 2010 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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