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+.


Guys, I'm sorry but ML House is totally right on point with this article. Tim Kring legitimately has no clue and if you read the interview that's pretty much what he admits to. I found this interview on the Odi a week or so ago, and I couldn't believe how deluded Kring is. I'll be the fist to admit that TV Fanatic can be harsh in its Heroes reviews, but c'mon did you guys read the interview? House is right and the only conclusion I could draw is that I want job security like Tim Kring and Jeff Zucker.

Matt richenthal

I'll be quite clear if I wasn't before: I'd like consistency in abilities and in plot. I don't see a great deal of difference between the two: an inconsistent ability is what leads to an inconsistent - or at least lazy, poorly written - plot because the Heroes just do anything the writers feel like to get out of situations.


@M.L. House You've changed what you said now. You wanted logic in Tracy's ability, now you're changing it to you want logic in the plot. I never said there were NO plot holes this season, earlier on there have been yes, but I've been defending this episode's plot holes. I can also see where you're coming from, the fact that, in universe, why would he build up all these connections (especially with Peter) just to win back the girl of his dreams. Now, my theory on this is, he needed all the specials to help create that woodland cottage thing, and then once he said yes, Peter or whoever, would then take over his brother's role as an empath and leader of the carnival, taking over the carnival and looking after Samuel's family. If you read my post above carefully, I've pointed out that the town Samuel sunk was quite close to the carnival. That's how he sunk it. If you want to continuously put out negative reviews then so be it. But there are good things mixed in with the bad on the show.

Matt richenthal

@mark: You're totally missing the point. The point of the Vanessa question is this: Nothing that was built up until then made any sense or mattered one bit. Of course the writers knew she would say no -- but did Samuel know that? THAT's the problem right there. He took all these actions, like implanting the compass on Peter, for what reason? A season is supposed to actually make sense when you look back on it. Again, in your defense, you cite my EXACT point:
The writers wrote episodes without thinking ahead and then tried to make sense of what they had written AFTER the fact. But intelligent viewers can see right through that and realize that it's being written on the fly.
I'm still waiting on your explanation, too, as to how Samuel sunk a town without any specials around him. Do you honestly believe a sci-fi show can make up anything as it goes? You seem like a relatively smart person. Can you really not understand the idea that fans can suspend disbelief for the concept of a show about people with abilities... but then actually ask for storylines to be logical within that framework? I also have to disagree with what a reviewer is "supposed" to do. I don't think there are any rules. I always write my honest opinion and I think my plethora of reviews on this site prove that I am not a negative person. For most of this season, I got absolutely panned for my take on Heroes, but I didn't let popular opinion sway me b/c I am committed to just being honest. I assure you: if I liked anything about Heroes, I'd write it. But it's an absolute train wreck.


You know what M.L House I agree with you. Thats just a Crazy ass thought...What if Vanessa Said "YES Samuel lets live happily ever after. Would that been the end of the season???" WTF. Vanessa was the WORST THING they brought in to even contribute to Samuels PLOT.


@M.L. House A reviewer is meant to take a step back and take a look at something from an unbiased standpoint. If there are negatives, then yes, point them out, but you're also supposed to point out the positives. Claire and Noah were wet btw. And the carnival was near the town, you saw Lydia look out towards the town. "I'd love to be positive if there was an ounce of logic". It's a sci-fi show. Because season 1 had total logic, flying, invisibility. It's meant to be like that. And your fav question, do you really think that the writers were still on edge as to whether or not she would choose him? They knew that she wasn't going to choose him. I think you misunderstand when they say that they don't plan it out. They plan out the grand scheme of things, how the characters start off, the storylines for each and the finish of the storylines. It's what happens in the individual episodes that they don't plan out. And as for the compass, it did come in useful when Lydia called Peter using it. If you're really no longer a fan for the show, I suggest that you pass the "reviewing" over to someone who can do so fairly and unbiasedly. You get a few people agreeing with you, but mostly, people do say that you're too harsh, and I agree.

Matt richenthal

Here's one of my favorite questions to ask regarding the season:
What would have happened if Samuel's ex-girlfriend said she wanted to be with him?
The writers clearly hadn't actually thought out Samuel's grand plan. They had him yammering about this and that, recruiting Heroes for no actual purpose and then decided around episode 15: a-ha! We can have his ex not wanna get back together with him and that will set him off! Who cares that he gave Peter a compass tattoo weeks and weeks ago and that was never followed through on or explained... no one will remember!

Matt richenthal

@mark: Why isn't it a review if it's all negative? I've written hundreds and hundreds of reviews on this site (, please feel free to read them. I'm a very fair critic - but there is nothing redeemable about Heroes.
It is atrocious in every single way and I'm not exaggerating when I say someone that defends it such as you almost has to be a writer for the show. I admire your enthusiasm and gotta admit, you're doing your best to think of how certain things could have gone own.
But there's not a single likable character and the fact that you need to invent reasons for what COULD explain away plot holes illustrates all that's wrong with the show. (Tracy made the hole large and Claire and Noah swam through it?!? They weren't wet, and the size of the hole didn't change. Seriously, you're just concocting your own storyline here. What about Samuel? He sunk an ENTIRE town with no specials around him... and then suddenly needed to be surrounded by them?)
I'd love to be positive if there was an ounce of logic to any of the episodes. But it's easily the worst show on TV and people can make whatever excuses they want for ratings - but it's the lowest-rated show on network television. If people record it and watch it at other times, the same can be said for other shows and that fact remains the same.


@M.L. House Firstly Tracy didn't turn them into soil. She basically pumped water into that hole making the hole bigger and bigger until it became a pool of water, which Claire and Noah then swam through to the surface. Then you say no-one dies. Ok. Let's make a list. Simone. Isaac. Linderman. Elle. Bob. Arthur. Daphne. Charles. Flint. Meredith. Lydia. Arnold. Niki. Nathan. Usutu. Danko. D.L. Knox. Eden. Alejandro. Adam. Kaito. Maury. Ted. Joseph. Chandra. Candice. And these aren't all. Sure, they're not going to kill off the main characters... why would they do that? "Hmm why don't we kill off half the cast?" It's like in Star Wars. Oh no, the millenium falcon's being chased... they might die. Hm, considering they have Han, Leia, C3P0 and Chewbacca on the ship, I doubt it. And you can't say that 12 million people have abandoned the show. There are loads of people who don't watch it on the night, but prefer to watch it online, or record it. And I believe those are only the American figures. But for someone who's meant to be reviewing the show, don't you think you should look at some of the positives, otherwise, it's not a review.


I think Ali Larter's disappearing act is due to her schedules (new resident evil movie) but the production still wanted her in the season (bryan fuller) then came to a point that they don't know what to do with the character to fit the plot anymore.

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Heroes Quotes

Ando: And why is everyone always chasing us?
Hiro: Because I'm special.
Ando: Well, I'm not special
Ando: And I'm tired of getting chased.

My power is understanding people like you. That's what I do.


Heroes Music

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