Save Heroes

Here:

We need to write a detailed critique of the plot, character, race and gender elements of Heroes. We need to have one place where the producers and writers of Heroes can come and find what fandom has to say on these issues.

That’s the purpose of this website. We don’t need to Save Heroes from cancellation or network misuse, we need to Save Heroes from itself. Because it’s not a lost cause. It’s still capable of being the amazing show it was in season one. No, it’s capable of being even better.

[…]

Timeline

Week of November 19 – 25
Putting together the first draft – accepting comments/links/contributions from all fans

November 26 – 28
Creating the first draft, soliciting input from contributors.

December 3rd
Final draft ready.

Posted in TV. 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Save Heroes”

  1. Nick Says:

    “We need to have one place where the producers and writers of Heroes can come and find what fandom has to say on these issues.”

    Predicted number of producers and writers of Heroes who will visit the website: NONE.

  2. Joseph Says:

    “Because of the writer’s strike, Kring and the other writers can’t create any new heroes scripts. That makes this the perfect time to present them with our thoughts, so they can keep them in mind moving forward.”

    Pompousness and egocentricity in roughly equal measures, I’d say.

  3. the angry black woman Says:

    Tim Kring does keep up with various high profile fansites, including 9th Wonders, TWOP, and, I believe, the NBC Heroes forums. He actually seems to care what the fans think, which is usually how shows continue to be successful.

    Beyond that, I may have a direct line to him. So it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t stumble upon the site right now. The final product will get to him :)

  4. Abigail Says:

    Pompous? Perhaps. Given the obliviousness with which Heroes‘s writers have been spewing racist and misogynist garbage onto our screens, however, I think a sense of superiority among the show’s fans is perfectly understandable. Egocentric I just don’t see.

  5. Niall Says:

    Nick: in addition to ABW’s comment, if someone doesn’t link to it from the comments on Greg Beeman’s blog I will be absolutely astonished.

    My only reservation is that nobody likes everything, so any collaborative document collecting criticism is going to risk ending up being negative about everything, which I fear would make it easy to dismiss (in a “gee, don’t these guys like anything?” way). But that can be overcome by careful editing, and per Abigail’s point, it can’t hurt to try.

  6. the angry black woman Says:

    I plan to make sure that each section begins with a list of things the editors feel Heroes is doing well. For instance, there are a lot of issues with PoC characters, but Monica has so far escaped being a cliche, a stereotype, a woman in a fridge, and lame. Monica is a great example of what the show does right.

    A critique is only useful if you can point to things a show/story/novel is doing well and say “More of that, please, less of the other.”

    Also, thanks for the link.

  7. Niall Says:

    *nod* That sounds like the right approach to me.

  8. Martin Wisse Says:

    Seems to me Heroes needs to be saved from its fans and their entitlement issues.

  9. SpecLit Says:

    Does this mean that from now on I can perch over the shoulder of John Crowley and tell him exactly what I’d like him to write for me?

    I agree with Martin above.

  10. Niall Says:

    I think there’s a difference, or at least a spectrum, between criticism based on the fact that a writer isn’t telling the story you want them to tell, and criticism based on the fact that a writer is telling a story that is offensive. (Anyone tempted to say that those finding Heroes offensive are over-reacting, or something similar, should feel free to read and rebut the final draft, when it appears.)

  11. SpecLit Says:

    Niall, there is also a difference (and a fine line) between offering an opinion and dictating what should be done to force something into line with one’s opinion.

    Take Vector Magazine as an example. As the editor, I’m sure you’re very interested in feedback regarding the direction of the magazine. In fact I’m sure you encourage that feedback, both here and within the letters in the magazine. Further, I would say that you also encourage feedback in the form of submissions to the magazine.

    At the same time, you do not open your editorial process to the public. You do not request that the public provide input on which articles and reviews you publish before they are on the page. Nor, I suspect, would you accept the public tinkering of the reviews as you edit them. The direction of the magazine represents YOUR (hopefully!) informed vision of what you want to achieve within that medium.

    Television shows are only beholden to their viewership to the same extent that an author is beholden to his readership. If you are displeased with the show, your only recourse is to stop watching and supporting that show, the same as you would stop purchasing novels by an author you do not favor.

    I also think it is crass, and borderline pathological, to suggest that the audience is better able to determine the storyline of the show than its creators and writers. How is this approach any more acceptable or useful than crafting fanfiction? Suggesting that the fans can “save the show from itself” reeks not only of puerile entitlement, but also of insulting condescension.

    Now, having respect for one’s audience is laudable. I respect Tim Kring, given his recent comments regarding the show and its failures. However, were he or anyone involved in the show to take this criticism seriously, I would immediately lose all respect for them. Television is still an artform, and for its creators to subject themselves to the opinions of the lowest common denominator would be the grossest form of selling out.

    Finally, on a purely realistic front, television scripts for drama series are not generally written on a week-by-week basis. Usually the scripts for a good portion of the season are already in hand before the show even begins airing. So any changes the audience may affect will be minimal anyway.

  12. Nick Says:

    SpecLit says “How is this approach any more acceptable or useful than crafting fanfiction?”

    This is why I made the prediction I did in my first comment. I didn’t predict no-one would visit such a site because they wouldn’t be interested. Rather, because I would be hugely surprised if it wasn’t the case that a memo was sent around the show’s staff (be it from Legal or some other department) saying “Do Not Visit This Site!”, in much the same way unsolicited scripts are never read.

    SpecLit also says: “Finally, on a purely realistic front, television scripts for drama series are not generally written on a week-by-week basis. Usually the scripts for a good portion of the season are already in hand before the show even begins airing. So any changes the audience may affect will be minimal anyway.”

    This is just flat-out wrong, though. Television scripts generally *are* written on a week-by-week basis, and there aren’t a huge deal of completed scripts stockpiled. The writers may have an idea of the major points they want to hit through the series, that’s true, but it won’t all be written down.

    This is easily proved by looking at the WGA strike, and the number of shows that have shut down in its wake. If what SpecLit was saying here was true, then every show would have loads of completed scripts in hand so not need to shut down, but as can be seen, that isn’t the case.

    Normally at a point like this, I’d say “In short…” and then sum up my view. In this case, though, Martin Wisse would appear to have already done it for me.

  13. Niall Says:

    Niall, there is also a difference (and a fine line) between offering an opinion and dictating what should be done to force something into line with one’s opinion.

    I agree. But I think (I certainly hope) that Save Heroes is doing the former and not the latter. If I got a letter of comment signed by two dozen members of the BSFA, expressing concern at my recent editorial choices, you can bet I would pay attention to it. I might decide the concerns were valid, I might not, but I would rather get that letter than just have two dozen people cancel their subscriptions without saying anything. So far as I can tell, Save Heroes isn’t intended to make plot suggestions, but to point out concerns with plots that have already been produced. And I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Kring should get fans to consult on scripts or potential stories — which is the equivalent of the pre-publication public input on articles and reviews you raise.

    However, were he or anyone involved in the show to take this criticism seriously, I would immediately lose all respect for them. Television is still an artform, and for its creators to subject themselves to the opinions of the lowest common denominator would be the grossest form of selling out.

    I even semi-agree with this; as I said earlier this week, what bothered me about Kring’s EW interview was precisely that it did seem to be heading in a pandering direction. His comments were along the lines of “we should have given the fans what they wanted” rather than “we didn’t execute our chosen direction well”. I also said that I don’t think it’s safe to read anything into the fact he didn’t address the sexism and racism that fans have been identifying. He may or may not have come across such discussions (although they do seem to be all over the place), but even if he has I suspect raising them in a venue like EW would not be commercially smart.

    So I would hope that Tim Kring will do with the Save Heroes document what I would do with a critical letter of comment: read it carefully, think about it, decide how much of it, if any, he agrees with and what, if anything, he wants to change. As you say, he’s not obliged to take any notice at all, but if his show is offending a substantial number of people, I imagine he’d like to at least know about it, because I doubt it’s intentional.

    (I also think that it’s not a project without risks, and if it does take off then a certain amount of, um, fandom expectation management would probably be a good idea. I certainly think that there are fans who do feel entitled, and that this project could feed that sense of entitlement, to nobody’s ultimate benefit.)

  14. grahamsleight Says:

    Regardless of the moral rights and wrongs of it – and I think ideally the series does need the kind of corrective this site should offer – the point in Nick’s second comment seems to me the deciding one. It’s the same reason that Terry Pratchett said, a while back, that he didn’t want to frequent the usenet group devoted to his work; he didn’t want to be in the position where he wrote a book whose premise was close to one discussed in the group, and get into wrangles about who created it. In this context, with a big studio and umpty-million copyright lawyers around the place, I’m sure that bureaucratic ass-covering would almost necessitate such a decree. Even if the “Save Heroes” document came with a disclaimer saying “Use everything in here! It’s free!’, such a document is an order of magnitude different from the sort of speculation that goes in in forums of the kind people have mentioned so far. So I guess I’m saying that the project is a worthwhile one, but that there should be no expectations for it beyond producing the document.

  15. SpecLit Says:

    Nick:

    “This is easily proved by looking at the WGA strike, and the number of shows that have shut down in its wake. If what SpecLit was saying here was true, then every show would have loads of completed scripts in hand so not need to shut down, but as can be seen, that isn’t the case.”

    I think the answer is somewhere between both of us, and I apologize for my mistake.

    This list of episodes and scripts details what shows have on hand.

  16. cofax Says:

    You know, I’m pretty sensitive to issues of fannish entitlement, but honestly, this isn’t pinging that for me. At least not at this stage. It’s one thing to say, “the creator owes me X”, where X is more sex, or more explosions, or fewer icky girls, or make the lovers resolve their conflicts. It’s something else to say, “this is poor storytelling, poor world-building, and fundamentally offensive in ways we don’t believe are intentional. Here are some tools you could use to change it.”

    If Kring hadn’t already admitted that they pay attention to the viewers’ opinions, I’d be less supportive. But they do. And Kring doesn’t have to read it or listen to it; but if he’s smart, he will.

  17. the angry black woman Says:

    Let me clarify something – the point of Save Heroes is not to tell the writers what they should write as far as plots, storylines, etc., it’s to comment on what they already have done and why fans find it problematic. Any suggestions of ways to go forward would be along the lines of “Hey, quit with the racism and sexism from now on.”

  18. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I stopped watching HEROES when it became bleedingly obvious what a bunch of clueless dimbulbs every “hero” character except Hiro is.

    You know why the show THE INCREDIBLE HULK worked, despite the repetitive, predictable plot? Because in each episode, Bruce Banner got angry, turned into the Hulk, and got something done (usually by smashing stuff and tossing people around).

    If the people responsible for HEROES had written THE INCREDIBLE HULK series, it would consist mostly of pointless, confused walking around and getting nowhere, followed by — maybe — Banner turning into the Hulk for ten seconds, but failing to accomplish anything.

    The name of the show is the premise: “Heroes.” Actual heroes act. The show consistently fails to deliver on its basic premise, so it ain’t worth saving.


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