Tim Kring on avoiding past mistakes with NBC's Heroes Reborn limited series

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Jul 10, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

Not many shows have enjoyed the highs and lows quite like NBC’s Heroes, and with a return trip in sight, series creator Tim Kring hopes to avoid the pitfalls that doomed the one-time hit.

Of course, the story behind the scenes is much more complicated than the fact that, yeah, the show went to crap around the second season and never recovered. The writers didn’t suddenly forget how to tell a compelling story, and in the years since Heroes’ original run ended, we’ve learned a bit more about what went wrong. More than that, Kring told Entertainment Weekly he plans to learn from all those things.

The biggest issues, not surprisingly, were network interference and a massive episode order. It’s been well-documented that Kring basically conceived Heroes as an anthology series, with new characters each season, but once the show became a hit it was a lot harder to start killing off fan favorites. There’s also the fact that it’s extremely challenging for a show to actually tell a compelling story with 20+ episodes per season — so Kring things the smaller season should keep the story focused and moving, with a set ending in sight.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments on putting together Heroes Reborn:

“There is an optimum length for these things,” Kring says. “An audience knows a show is not 15 minutes long, and a book is not 2,000 pages, and a movie is not 6 hours. And when a show goes on for too long — and I think now especially people have gotten so used to these shorter orders— it’s like the audience has spoken as to what they want. The optimum length of a season is not 25 episodes like we did the last time. And so I do think that will allow us to aggressively tell a story in a short amount of time which keeps that momentum going …

You will get an ending. I think a lot of people who log on to serialized shows are very skeptical that they’re never going to get an ending. Here you have a beginning, middle, and end to your experience … If you’re going to have life-and-death stakes the audience needs to understand it, and they need to painfully accept it by having certain characters killed off – and that’s exactly how we felt the first time around. Also, as you are racing toward the end of a story, you need less people sort at the end to pull off the ending — it helps to have fewer characters than what you started with. We won’t be really subject to the idea of ‘fan favorites’ and all that. We’re gonna be in the can and committed to the story that we’re telling.”  

The 13-episode limited revival of Heroes Reborn is set to premiere September 24.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)

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