Seven Season Wrap Up!

Seven Season Wrap Up!

The seven seasons are all done. For convenience sake, we’ve put the entire structure in one place for easy reference.

Let’s get started!

Season 1

Dramatic Structure:

“Connection” expressed as ‘Identity’

  • Old vs. New Identities
  • Character Roles

“Positive” expressed as ‘New World’

  • New Circumstances/Location
  • Fresh Start

“Origins” expressed as ‘Old World’

  • Old Circumstances/Location
  • World Change

Dramatic Pace:

‘Establish Core Conflict’ and ‘Full Circle’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Thesis’ and ‘Beginning of First Era’

Season 2

Dramatic Structure:

“Separation” expressed as ‘Stress Tests’

  • Romances
  • Friendships

“Negative” expressed as ‘Meaningful Death’

  • Family or Friend
  • Foe

“Deviation” expressed as ‘Contradiction’

  • Role Reversals
  • Authority Figures

Dramatic Pace:

‘New Blood’ for your roster of characters and ‘Dragonslay’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Antithesis’ and ‘First Era Continued’

Season 3

Dramatic Structure:

“Connection” expressed as ‘Power’

  • Loss/Gain
  • Sexual Violence

“Positive” expressed as ‘Creation’

  • Newborns
  • Resurrections

“Origins” expressed as ‘Repercussions’

  • Debts
  • Revenge

Dramatic Pace:

‘Fallout’ and ‘Point of No Return: Circumstantially’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Synthesis/Thesis’ and ‘End of First Era’

Season 4

Dramatic Structure:

“Separation” expressed as ‘Disbandments’

  • Partnerships
  • Marriages

“Negative” expressed as ‘Weirdness’

  • Invasive
  • Otherworldly

“Deviation” expressed as ‘Shake Up’

  • Change of Circumstances
  • Up the Ante

Dramatic Pace:

‘Even trade’ for your roster of characters and ‘Promotion’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Antithesis’ and ‘Beginning of Second Era’

Season 5

Dramatic Structure:

“Connection” expressed as ‘Family’

  • Loss/Gain
  • Sacrifice

“Positive” expressed as ‘Salvation’

  • Protection
  • Redemption

“Origins” expressed as ‘Formation’

  • Relationships
  • Organizations

Dramatic Pace:

‘Impossible Decision’ and ‘Point of No Return: Emotionally’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Synthesis/Thesis’ and ‘End of Second Era’

Season 6

Dramatic Structure:

“Separation” expressed as ‘Role Challenge’

  • Circumstantial
  • Emotional

“Negative” expressed as ‘Bummer’

  • Death
  • Trauma

“Deviation” expressed as ‘Destruction’

  • Mistakes
  • Decisions

Dramatic Pace:

‘Deficit’ for your roster of characters and ‘Test/Trial’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Antithesis’ and ‘Beginning of Third Era’

Season 7

Dramatic Structure:

“Connection” expressed as ‘Legacy’

  • Descending
  • Ancestral

“Positive” expressed as ‘Individuality’

  • Loss/Gain
  • Mentorship

“Origins” expressed as ‘The Beginning’

  • Story
  • Show

Dramatic Pace:

‘Resolution of Core Conflict’ and ‘Point of No Return: Geographically’

Dramatic Evolution:

‘Synthesis’ and ‘End of Third Era/Series’

That’s it, Animals!



Season 7 (part 3) – The Beginning

Season 7

Dramatic Structure:

Season 7 has 3 areas of concern:

Origin

Season 1 expressed its origin theme via “old world.”
Season 3 expressed its origin theme via “repercussions.”
Season 5 expressed its origin theme via “formations.”

Season 7’s origin theme:

“The Beginning”

This refers to both:

  • Beginning of Your Story
  • Beginning of Your Series

Sometimes these are the same thing, but not always.

The “beginning of your story” is all about going back to where your story “really” began. The true origin of your tale.

While the “beginning of your series” is all about the things that occurred in season 1, when your series began.

Beginning of Your Story

The true beginning of everything.

Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is all about this “beginning of your story” idea. The season focuses heavily on the very first Slayer. How she came to be, where the Slayer power originates from, and how the evil she fights first came into the world. Notice all these themes weren’t dramatized in season 1 of the show. But they are all directly related to the show’s mythology and the beginning of the story of the Slayer and the evil she fights. It’s the true beginning of the Slayer story.

Beginning of Your Series

This is where you go back to the beginning of the show as it unfolded in season 1.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer again!

While Buffy season 7 was certainly knee deep in the “beginning of your story” idea, it also did a whole lot of “beginning of your series.” The season is all about the Hellmouth underneath the (re-opened) Sunnydale High School. She may be a counselor now, but it’s all about Buffy back in high school again!

The Hellmouth, Buffy in high school, these are hallmarks of the first season, and first era, of the show. So Buffy the Vampire Slayer did both, the “beginning of the story,” and the “beginning of the series.”

But what about a show where the story started at the beginning of the series?

Where the “beginning of the story,” and the “beginning of the series,” are the same thing?

No problem. Just hit both at the same time.

We see this in The Shield. Season 7 focused almost entirely on the past crimes the Strike Team committed in the first episode, and first era, of the show. Killing fellow cop Terry and robbing the Armenian money train, among others. Shane even writes a confession letter, detailing all of the Strike Team’s transgressions – starting again with Terry’s murder, at the beginning.

At the same time, Mackey’s secured an immunity deal for himself. All he has to do is confess to all of his crimes on tape. Recount all of his transgressions. Which he does, starting back at the beginning, with shooting Terry in the face.

Here with The Shield, the “beginning of the story” and the “beginning of the series” are essentially the same thing.

When putting together your season 7, make sure to include both.



Season 7 (part 2) – Individuality

Season 7

Dramatic Structure:

Season 7 has 3 areas of concern:

Positive

Season 1 expressed its positive theme via “new world.”
Season 3 expressed its positive theme via “creation.”
Season 5 expressed its positive theme via “salvation.”

Season 7’s positive theme:

“Individuality”

We mostly see individuality expressed in two ways:

  • Loss/Gain
  • Mentorship

Loss/Gain

In season 7, characters either lose their individuality, or gain it.

We see some loss of individuality in season 7 of Smallville.

This season sees the arrival of Clark’s cousin Kara. She too is an alien from Krypton and has all of Clark’s powers here on Earth. Clark’s no longer the only super-powered survivor of Krypton. There’s now another, just like him. He’s lost his individuality.

We see some gaining of individuality in season 7 of Rescue Me.

In season 7, Tommy is being pressured to retire from the firehouse. His wife is asking him to break away from his crew and take a desk job – for the sake of their new baby. At the same time, the crew is a tight-nit group as it always has been, but everyone spends the season considering their singular, individual, futures. Everyone’s gaining their individuality.

You see this a lot in stories that are based around a team. As their story comes to a close, teams, groups, or families, tend to go their separate ways. They gain their individuality from the group.

Mentorship

This is really a special kind of “loss of individuality.” By definition, it is one person teaching another person everything they know, taking on a protégé and communicating all the wisdom they have to share. If they do their job right, then they’ve definitely lost their individuality a bit. They’ve purposely made a kind of copy of themselves.

Let’s take a look at this idea in action.

In House season 7, current medical student Martha Masters is put on House’s team. She’s young, green, overly naïve, and for moral reasons refuses to ever lie to patients. She is the opposite of House in every way. House, now put in the position of the reluctant mentor, spends his time demonstrating the value and necessity of deception and pessimism. He’s trying to teach the most valuable lesson he knows – that everybody lies. In his attempts to teach her this, he’s trying to make her more like him. Classic mentorship.

Sure, it’s an unusual type of mentorship. You could almost argue it’s a little negative, and corrupt-y. But it’s mentorship all the same.

If you want an example of your garden variety, more positive-based mentorship…

Take a look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7. All season long, Buffy plays mentor to the potential Slayers she takes in. Protecting them, teaching them, training them. And ultimately, magically sharing her Slayer power with all of them.

There used to be one Slayer (more or less) in all the world. Now there are hundreds of them. That’s a big loss of individuality, and definitely mentorship.

So in season 7, be sure to explore this positive theme of individuality. Loss, gain, and sometimes specifically expressed in the context of mentorship.



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.