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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

According to Tim Kring, the problem with Heroes is you.

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Heroes creator/showrunner Tim Kring certainly has no problem alienating his fans to begin with, but here he goes again. He chatted with participants at last weekend's Creative Screenwriting's 2008 Screenwriting Expo, on a panel that was supposed to include Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander, two writers recently let go from the show. But no matter, Kring decided to fly solo, and had these choice words to share about the difficulties of being, well, Tim Kring:

(As reported by IGN) "[Serialized storytelling] is 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 dipshits* who can't figure out how to watch it in a superior way."

Strong words, Kring. Leave it to those new-fangled thingymabobs to ruin all your hard work. Except, as Time's James Poniewozik smartly points out in his rebuttal:

"…the idea that DVRs and streaming make it harder to follow serial shows is so transparently ridiculous I seriously wonder if Kring even believes it. I mean, OK, maybe in the sense that alternative platforms have driven down live viewing across the board and made it more challenging to make the same kind of money off advertising. But that's hardly limited to serial shows. And time-shifting, streaming and watching on DVD are precisely what has made it more attractive for viewers to watch serial shows."

He goes on to point out the obvious (to everyone but Kring, apparently): If you only watch shows live, what happens when you miss an episode? Doesn't that derail the train all together? I fail to see the logic that immediate accessibility to episodes–via online, DVD or a marathon TiVo-watching session–will somehow confuse viewers more than picking up halfway through a season. We're smart enough to visit a website; we're certainly smart enough to watch the episodes in order.

Poniewozik, perhaps more to the point, also says this:

"Yes, you can blame technology for siphoning all the smart viewers away from your series. You could try revamping your show so that it becomes the complete opposite of what it was conceived as. Or you could try, you know, not sucking. A story arc or two that doesn't inspire ridicule could go a long way with the saps and dipshits**, is all I'm saying."

Sure, Kring could do that, but he's up against insurmountable barriers–at least according to him. He continued after his DVR remark, adding that he doesn't have an ending for Heroes in sight, nor did he ever expect that characters would be sticking around from season-to-season. Plus, sometimes fans love what he does, sometimes they don't, and it's becoming hard to figure out what's what. He sees the upcoming volume "Fugitives" as a way "for us to wipe the table [clean]" (hmm, where have I heard something like that before?) by removing everyone's powers and letting the characters, you know, be themselves. Be their boring, one-dimensional selves.

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan, though, thinks the problem's much bigger than even a complete show overhaul:

"The only sap here is Kring. Any and all insulting terms should be directed at himself. After all, who is responsible for two seasons of mostly muddy, incoherent storytelling? It wasn't the saps at home on their couches."

Needless to say, it might be time to consider saying goodbye to Heroes completely, NBC.

* Swear re-inserted for effect.

** See *.