the TV addict recently had the opportunity to discuss NBC’s fall hit HEROES with creator and executive producer TIM KRING. Not having the unique ability to read Tim’s mind, this TV addict actually had to ask questions verbally (damn my lack of superpowers!). So here it goes, a conversation with the mastermind behind HEROES.
Congratulations on officially being picked up for a full season. Now that the show is guaranteed to run for twenty-two episodes, has this changed anything in terms of the HEROES story-line?
Tim Kring: Obviously it is a lot more fun and comfortable to be working in an environment where you’re a hit and have a full season to stretch your wings. But the truth is, that we’re so many episodes ahead of where the audience is, it just feels like the same challenges every single day.
With the pick-up official, how many seasons does the HEROES story go?
Tim Kring: We have a general idea of where the story is going for a few years. HEROES is the kind of thing that can keep spinning and spinning. There is not an island to get off of or a time frame where the world ends.
We have the entire story-line plotted out for season one. In terms of season two, we have a framework, but nothing specific. The pilot introduced a prophecy which will take the entire season to unravel. At the end of season one, there will be a resolution to the pilot’s prophecy. Season two will deal with an entirely new issue.
Speaking of the pilot, there were some significant differences between the pilot that was previewed at the San Diego Comic Con and the episode that premiered on NBC. Can you discuss why there were some changes, specifically with Greg Grunberg’s (Matt Parker) and Santiago Cabrera’s (Issac Mendez) story-lines.
Tim Kring: With Santiago’s story, we wanted to condense the pilot. In the original version, Santiago’s character cut off his hands. But as we were thinking about it, we didn’t want to have a lead character dealing with a medical issue that major. So we changed it to a drug overdose.
In terms of Greg’s character, Matt Parker was originally introduced through a terrorism subplot [Greg was a cop who discovered the terrorists hiding in the basement of a house]. That subplot isn’t coming back, as we wanted to shy away from the whole issue of terrorism.
How did you feel about the pilot being leaked on the internet several months ago?
Tim Kring: These days, things sort of crop up on the net no matter how hard you try to keep check on them. The truth is, in the end, it helped us create tremendous buzz for the show before it aired. Ultimately, it helped us get viewers.
One of the things that has really struck a cord with the audience, especially women, is the strong female character that Ali Larter (Nikki) is playing? There is a lot of debate as to what her powers are. Can you comment on that?
Tim Kring: It’s safe to assume that her powers are somewhat similar to that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or the Hulk. We’re leaving the door very open though.
How did you choose the particular powers portrayed on the show?
Tim Kring: I tried to keep the powers related to what the character’s personality or particular need was. In Ali’s case, the character of Nikki was stretched as thin as she could. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have her character be able to be in two places at once?
Could Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) have more then one power?
Tim Kring: Peter may have multiple powers. By proximity to his brother (Nathan), he was able to fly. When he was near Issac, he had the ability to draw the future. It’s fair to say Peter could have more then one power.
The powers are intended to be confusing, as we’re following it through the characters point of view. Nikki’s character is the one character who’s discovering this in the most confusing way. So we’re asking the audience to sort of buy in the conceit that it’s going to be a road of discovery throughout the next couple of episodes. By episode five or six, things should be more clear.
Powers are just powers, it’s what you do with them that defines your circumstances. Depending on the character’s personality, the powers may be used for good or evil. Some of our Heroes will be tempted by the dark side.
Speaking of the dark side, is Sylar a villain HEROES will be following all season long?
Tim Kring: On a show called HEROES, you need a villain, and it’s safe to assume that Sylar has been presented as the season’s major villain. The bodies with heads cut off are not coincidences. There is a method to Sylar’s ‘madness’, and he does present a genuine threat to our Heroes.
Are Sylar and Claire’s father connected?
Tim Kring: There is a connection between the two, which will become clear in later episodes.
In this week’s episode, Claire Bennet presumably died until the wood was removed from her head. Was she indeed dead?
Tim King: It’s safe to assume that whatever power Claire has, eminates from the brain (turned on and off by a switch). There is a clue there as to why the major villain of the show is interested in brains.
Claire’s cliffhanger was jaw-dropping. Will every episode end with a cliffhanger?
Tim Kring: Cliffhangers will pretty much be standard at the end of each episode. With so many story-lines, it allows you to find a moment at the end of each episode that leaves viewers hanging. Some will obviously be more jaw-dropping then others, but we’re committed to keeping the idea alive.
In terms of the show’s structure, will we continue seeing seven or eight separate stories per episode?
Tim Kring: The pilot, and the first few episodes were structured to introduce all of our character’s stories. As we continue to learn more about these characters and invest in them more, we start to narrow our focus. Certain characters will being to cross paths, so we no longer have to tell eight stories, we can tell two or three.