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‘Heroes' worship
Creator of hit TV series says stories driven by characters' lives, not their superpowers

By Matthew Price Published: August 24, 2007
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Despite a background outside traditional science fiction and fantasy, "Heroes” creator Tim Kring has created a show that appeals to the core science-fiction audience and premiered as the highest-rated new drama on NBC in five years.

With "Heroes” coming to DVD, Kring — as well as stars Masi Oka and Hayden Panettiere — talked about the DVD release of the first season and the upcoming second season of the show. In "Heroes,” as a total eclipse covers the Earth, a genetics professor (Sendhil Ramamurthy) uncovers a secret: People with superpowers live among us. The ensemble drama "Heroes” follows these people.

"I have very little knowledge of the sci-fi world — and almost none of the comic book world,” Kring said in a recent conference call. "So, my influences ... came from just the idea of basic storytelling and character development.”

Kring said his 22-year background in television gave him training in character development and allowed him to approach a superpowers show from a different perspective.

"I chose to approach this material almost entirely from the idea of who these characters were,” Kring said. "I created the powers to reflect who the characters were, and not the other way around.

"So, I didn't start off by saying I want a guy who can teleport. I started off by saying I wanted a guy who felt trapped in a life that was not his dream and what could be a power that would be most wish-fulfilling for that character? And that was the ability to teleport out of that life. So, that's how I sort of approached it.”

Oka, on the other hand, is perfectly willing to let his geek flag fly. He portrays Hiro, a somewhat geeky computer and anime fan from Tokyo.

"If I can represent the geeks, I'm very fortunate to be able to do that. For me, the notion of a geek has always been someone who's passionate about something — whether it's computers, ant farms or musicals, or storytelling or paperweights — whatever it is,” Oka said.

"That's what makes us human. It defines us as individuals. It gives us our uniqueness.

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