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 5 (part 3) – Formations

Season 5

Dramatic Structure:

Has 3 areas of concern:

Let’s take a look at that…

Origin

Season 5 expresses its origin theme via:

“Formations”

Typically this will be tackled through:

  • Relationships
  • Organizations

Relationships

We see this in The Vampire Diaries. In season 5, we learn the true origins of the doppelgänger bloodlines. We see how the lines were originally formed by Qetsiyah, the vengeful witch, seeking to curse lovers Silas and Amara, the “first” Stefan and Elena. And how all the subsequent doppelgängers are destined to fall in love with each other. That’s some deep history on the original formation of this destined-lovers “relationship.”

Supernatural season 5. We learn that Sam and Dean’s relationship as brothers was not random chance but divinely ordained. They were specifically birthed into the world as human vessels for the Angels Lucifer and Michael respectively. Two brothers, born to serve as earthly containers for two angelic brothers. Sam and Dean’s relationship as brothers has been redefined, the true formation of their relationship has been given new meaning.

These are larger-than-life fantasy examples, but you get the idea.

As an alternative, you could easily spend season 5 showing us how two people met and became best friends. Or how a character’s parents originally fell in love. Anything that elucidates the formation of a relationship.

Organizations

Plenty of stories have organizations in the background. Season 5 would be a great time to investigate them in an origin-themed way. Unfortunately, for a lot of shows, this is untapped juice.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 5 – They could have explored the formation of the Watcher’s Council.

Smallville, season 5 – they could have investigated the formation of the Veritas group.

Sons of Anarchy, season 5 – they could have gotten into the original formation of the club.

All of these stories had great opportunity to delve deep into their organizations. But they didn’t.

For actual examples let’s take a look at LOST season 5:

Our characters jump around in time, some literally getting stuck in the 1970s. They visit some of the pivotal moments in the history of the island and important pieces of the DHARMA Initiative’s origins as an organization.

This is what we’re talkin’ about.

In Angel season 5, we’re introduced to the Circle of the Black Thorn. They are a powerful cabal of demons operating as The Senior Partner’s instruments on Earth. The story doesn’t get into the original formation of the group. But the fact that they formed long ago, as one of the oldest evil organizations on Earth, is vitally important to the story and our heroes deciding to take them out in a blaze of glory. Their existence sheds a lot of light on the formation of Los Angeles’ demonic underworld, with the Circle of the Black Thorn at the center of it.

When constructing your season 5, take care to deal with your origins theme via formations. Typically you’ll see stories express it through relationships and organizations.



Season 3 (part 3) – Repercussions

Season 3

Season 3 has 3 areas of concern:

Check your watches, Animals. It’s time to talk about:

Origin

In season 3, the origin theme is expressed as:

“Repercussions”

There are two common ways you see this repercussions idea play out:

  • Debts
  • Revenge

Debts

This is where someone is owed something. We then see the repercussions of paying that debt.

We see a prime example in Supernatural. In season 3, we learn that the thief Bela made a deal with a crossroads demon once upon a time. She sold her soul, to rid herself of her abusive parents. Now, a decade later, the hellhounds have come to collect that soul. They’re here to collect that debt. This parallels Dean’s own struggle all season, to get out of his crossroads deal and avoid going to hell. But a debt is a debt, and the hellhounds always collect.

Let’s take a look at how debts play out on The Shield. In season 3, Vic Mackey’s old partner shows up asking Vic and the Strike Team for a favor. Vic feels compelled to help, even though he’s knee-deep in his own troubles. Vic feels he owes him a debt, so he helps him out.

Revenge

Here, past actions have incurred someone’s wrath. A past mistake is chasing down our characters to hurt them back. It almost feels like a specific kind of “debt.”

In Angel season 3 we see the demon Sahjhan pull vampire hunter Daniel Holtz from the past, and bring him to the present. Back in the day, Angel and Darla killed Holtz’s family. Holtz is here to exact revenge. That’s some big time “origins” and “repercussions.”

For a more subtle, real world, example – let’s look at the new 90210 – (2008-2013).

In season 3, scumbag Oscar shows up. He and Ivy used to be friends when they were kids. Turns out, Oscar blames Ivy’s Mom for his own mother’s suicide and he’s here to get his revenge. First he seduces Ivy’s Mom.

Yikes.

Then he breaks up Ivy’s relationship with Dixon, and seduces her. He even takes her virginity for good measure. It’s kind of an odd way to get revenge. But hey, revenge is revenge.

So whether it’s through debts, or revenge, make sure you service that origins idea in season 3, via “repercussions.”