Thursday, November 20, 2008
because insulting the audience ALWAYS works so well...
I'm beginning to agree with the teeming masses who say that the problem with the NBC show Heroes is probably Tim Kring himself. The man sounds like an idiot.
There was a lot of drama leading up to the Heroes panel at Creative Screenwriting's 2008 Screenwriting Expo this past weekend. Originally, the panel was scheduled to include series creator Tim Kring, along with producer/writers Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander… except Loeb and Alexander were then let go from the series shortly before the Expo. The word kept changing on what would occur for what now sounded like a potentially awkward panel. At one point Kring dropped out, and Loeb and Alexander were going to appear without him. In the end though, Kring appeared solo, and it was hard not to wonder how much the discussion –- meant to be on the Heroes writing process – would instead turn to the notable changes behind the scenes.
The answer turned out to be that there wouldn't be any talk of this at all. The moderator introduced the panel noting the intention was to keep it focused on writing and not on personnel changes, and that's exactly what occurred. It was hard to not think there was too much of a mandate to keep things drama-free though, as there weren't even any direct questions given about the considerable criticism Heroes has faced of late.
Going back to the origins of the show, Kring explained how he had recognized that NBC did not have any sort of ensemble, serialized drama, in the wake of the success of shows like 24 and Lost. Having come from procedural series, including his own Crossing Jordan, Kring said he saw an opportunity there when he conceived of Heroes, which was "a completely different animal" from his previous work.
He joked that quickly he wondered, "What was I thinking?" noting that a serialized show is "an absolute bear to do." Kring said he's also finding, "It's 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 dips**s who can't figure out how to watch it in a superior way."[...]
Right. The DVR is the problem with serialized television. If you can't or don't watch it during its original on air broadcast, you're "saps and dipshits." So all those people who started watching Lost again when, you know, it stopped sucking, and the many of them who no doubt record it for later viewing, they're saps. The many people who record daytime soaps for later viewing because they're out doing frivolous things like, you know, earning a living or going to school or useless stuff like that -- and Heroes has nothing on serialization when compared to a daytime soap -- they're clearly all saps and dipshits. I mean, seriously, DVRs have made watching serialized dramas so much easier.
Kring is probably feeling a mite persecuted right now. He's feeling a bit defensive. I understand, I get it, and to a certain extent, I can't blame him for it; being constantly pilloried in public and the press can't be at all enjoyable, and people are not only picking on him, but on his baby (so to speak). But insulting your audience, and saying terribly terribly stupid things in public aren't likely to get the people coming back in droves, you know?
As far as the show itself goes, making it less serialized will make it easier to write and produce, certainly. It won't by default make it better. And the problem with the show isn't the serial format, it's the storytelling. If you can't tell better and more coherent stories, then de-serializing it won't really help, now will it?