Oh, Heroes: how quickly you went from “the best pilot of fall 2006″ and drawing comparisons to LOST to all-purpose punchline. Even when you were the most-pirated show of 2009, Wired still found a way to say it was because of your “lameness.”
Now, in a recent interview, the show’s creator, Tim Kring, presents one possible explanation for the show’s downslide into mediocrity: meddling execs at NBC, who Kring says not only called the shots about how many episodes each season of the show would have (too many, according to Kring), but called the shots on several plot points and forbid the killing off of popular characters.
Kring doesn’t pull any punches. From the AV Club’s candid, somewhat brutal interview with Kring:
AVC: What’s it take to kill off a character, then?
TK: A million things. Sometimes it’s Kristen Bell going off to do movies. If we don’t kill anybody, then eventually people are convinced there aren’t actual stakes to these stories. Somebody pulls a gun, you go, “They never kill anybody, so no one’s gonna get hurt.” Or the story just dictates that the characters have run their course for whatever reason.
AVC: Have you thought about killing off any more major characters?
TK: Not really. We’re down to a real core group right now.
AVC: That becomes a problem in episodes like the recent one where Hiro battles the brain tumor. We all expect him to live, and the episode deflates.
TK: It becomes very hard to kill off certain characters. You get a big bump from the shock of that, but the fallout will be a lot harder to deal with. The network has a very strong say in this, because of actors who are under contract and do publicity for them. It’s not just up to the writers to decide.