Season 7 (part 1) – Legacy

Season 7

Dramatic Structure:

Season 7 has 3 areas of concern:

Let’s take a look at its…

Connection

In season 1, the connection theme was expressed as “identity.”
In season 3, the connection theme was expressed as “power.”
In season 5, the connection theme was expressed as “family.”

Season 7’s connection theme:

“Legacy”

We usually see two types of legacy:

  • Descending Legacy
  • Ancestral Legacy

That’s basically legacy, going in both directions.

Descending

This refers to the legacy a character leaves for their descendants.

The 7th and final season of The West Wing.

The Bartlet Administration is coming to an end, and in their final year the staff is consumed by what their legacy will be. How much more can they accomplish before they run out of time? How can they best leave their mark before it’s all over? What shape will they leave the county in for the next administration?

This is a big theme for the season and some definite “descending legacy.”

Ancestral

This refers to the legacy a character inherited.

The 7th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

“The Slayer” is a mantel that Buffy has inherited. It’s a legacy. The Slayer memories and strength are passed down from generation to generation. This legacy, and its roots, are the main focus of the season. Particularly, how The First Evil is trying to destroy it.

Legacy moves in both directions. When crafting your story for season 7, you want to incorporate at least one. Or do both, why not? Buffy did.

At the end of season 7, Buffy shares her inherited power with every potential Slayer in the world. She passes the power on to the next generation all at once. It was her ancestral legacy, and now she is sharing it with her descendants.



Season 6 (part 5) – Antithesis & Beginning of 3rd Era

Season 6

Dramatic Evolution

Has two main elements:

  • Antithesis
  • Beginning of Third Era

Antithesis

Season 5 was our “thesis.” So we’re gonna need an “antithesis” here in season 6.

Let’s take another look at our Spider-Man show.

The season 5 thesis was:

“With great power, comes great humility.”

What could we do thematically that would act as the opposite of humility?

How about:

“With great power, comes great hubris.”

That’s a definite “antithesis.” And an interesting theme to explore in season 6.

Season 6’s “dramatic structure” already has the “role challenge,” “bummer,” and “destruction.” The “dramatic pace” is all about a “roster deficit” and a “test or trial.”

“Hubris” would flow nicely with all of these themes. And it’s certainly an antithesis to season 5’s “humility.”

Say in season 5, Spider-Man has true humility with regards to his power. But for whatever reason, that humility starts to wane. In season 6, he starts getting overconfident. Full of himself.

Maybe it has to do with how well he dealt with whatever was going on in season 5. Maybe the emotional “point of no return” paved the way for Spidey to be on top of the world. However you do it, he starts to carry an overabundance of pride. That’ll easily lead into all kinds of “destruction,” “bummer,” etc, — all the stuff. It would make for a really interesting season.

Beginning of Third Era

  • Seasons 1, 2, and 3 — the first era.
  • Seasons 4 and 5 — the second era.
  • Seasons 6 and 7 — the third, and usually the final, era of your series.

So season 6 needs to start this new chunk of story. It needs to establish whatever this new era is about.

Let’s take a look at what Supernatural did:

Structurally, Supernatural, unified their eras by the general story focus:

  • Their first era was all about demons and hell.
  • Their second era was all about angels and heaven.
  • Their third era focuses on monsters and purgatory.

Season 6, begins this nicely with its seasonal focus on two main ideas:

  • Where monsters go when they die: Purgatory.
  • The mother of all monsters: Eve.

After setting it up nicely here in season 6, the purgatory idea and theme continues full steam ahead in season 7.

So when constructing your season 6, be sure to make it an antithesis of last season’s dramatic evolution theme. And do what you need to, to start off the new era right.



Season 6 (part 4) – Character Roster Deficit & Test/Trial

Season 6

Dramatic Pace

Two traits:

  • Deficit, for your roster of characters
  • Test or Trial

Deficit

You lose some characters, and you don’t replace ’em.

In season 2, we had an influx of “new blood.” You added characters to the roster. In season 4, we had an “even trade.” You lost some characters, but you replaced them with about an even number of new people. Here in season 6, you lose some characters, and you leave ’em gone. You don’t replace them, you let the audience feel their absence.

We see this in season 6 of Weeds.

The Botwin clan has to get out of town quick, so they hit the road – leaving behind a bunch of regular characters: Celia, her husband Dean, her daughter Isabelle, and Nancy’s new husband Esteban. They all get left behind, and the show doesn’t replace them. Moving forward, the character roster is full of nothing but: the Botwins and Doug.

Test or Trial

Here you really challenge your characters.

Physically, spiritually, emotionally, literally, whatever works best for your story.

We see this in season 6 of Smallville. At the very end of season 5, Clark is thrown into the “Phantom Zone.” A desolate prison for intergalactic criminals. He spends months surviving without his powers.

That’s a serious test.

When he eventually does get back to Earth – his release brings a bunch of space criminals along with him. These “Zoners” then go about terrorizing the planet and it’s all Clark’s fault. He then spends all of season 6 trying to return these escapees back to the Phantom Zone.

That’s a pretty big trial.

When you get down to it, the “test or trial” can be anything. Get creative. Find what works best for your story. Just make sure it’s hard. Make sure you really drag your characters through the mud.

When putting together your season 6, be sure to lose some characters and keep them gone. And be sure to put your characters through some real heat. Put ’em through a test, a trial.