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 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 5 (part 2) – Salvation

Season 5

Dramatic Structure:

Has 3 areas of concern:

Let’s take a look at that…

Positive

Season 5 expresses this positive theme through:

“Salvation”

This “salvation” usually comes in the form of:

  • Protection
  • Redemption

Protection

“Protection” is when one character is trying to save another. Give them salvation from harm.

We see this in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 5. Buffy and her friends spend the season protecting Buffy’s little sister Dawn, from the inter-dimensional god Glory. Glory is stranded in this dimension, banished from her homeworld, and Dawn is the key to going home. However, to use Dawn as her ticket home, it requires a blood sacrifice (sacrifice, Animals!), that will kill Dawn and unleash the Apocalypse. The entire season is spent hiding Dawn, providing her salvation from this fate. “Protecting” her.

The Shield – season 5. Internal Affairs has got enough evidence on Lem to put him away, but they want the entire Strike Team, especially Mackey. They try to flip Lem but he’s not having it – he’s loyal to the end. Lem spends the season protecting the rest of the Strike Team from going to jail. For better or worse. He is actively providing salvation for his friends. Protecting them.

Redemption

This is a different type of “salvation.”

Our characters feel they need to make up for some great transgression, or flaw. They feel the need to redeem themselves. And once they do, they will finally reach some kind of salvation.

This plays a large role in season 5 of Dexter. At the top of season 5, Dexter blames himself for his wife Rita’s death. As he should, he wasn’t innocent in what happened to her at all. He struggles with his guilt. But when he meets Lumen, he feels he’s found a way to use his special set of skills in service of finding some kind of redemption.

We see something similar in season 5 of Supernatural. At the end of season 4, Lucifer was freed from his prison – the direct result of Sam breaking the last seal. Now freed, Lucifer is trying to bring about the Apocalypse and everyone is blaming Sam for making his escape possible. If Sam and Dean can stop the Apocalypse, if they can put Lucifer back in his box, Sam can redeem himself.

So when crafting your season 5, be sure to pay attention to this theme of salvation. You can explore it however you choose. But commonly you’ll see it expressed as protection, and redemption.



Season 3 (part 2) – Creation

Season 3

Dramatic Structure:

Season 3 has 3 areas of concern:

Let’s take a look at the:

Positive

In season 3, the positive theme is expressed as:

“Creation”

The most common forms of “creation” you see in season 3’s are:

  • Newborns
  • Resurrections

Newborns

By “newborns” we mean anything that is being created for the first time. It could be a child, a business, a program, a piece of art. Whatever it is, it’s brand new.

We see a clear example of a newborn on Angel. In season 3, Angel’s son Connor is born. Vampires aren’t typically capable of having babies – yet this little guy comes into the world anyway.

A less obvious example of this newborn idea would be what we see in the third season of The O.C. Sandy spends the season doing his best to get his hospital project off the ground. It would be a new hospital built from the ground up. Ultimately, it doesn’t happen. But he spends all season doing his best – trying to birth it into the world.

Resurrections

By “resurrections” we mean bringing something back from the dead, literally or metaphorically. It could be literal, like a person – in a sci-fi or fantasy story. Or metaphorical, like a failed business coming back to life, or an old romance rekindled.

In the third season of The Vampire Diaries we see several members of the Original Vampire Family, literally brought back from the dead. Brothers Kol and Finn are awakened from a state of suspended death. Their father Mikael is also brought back from a suspended death-like state. And their mother Esther’s ghost is brought back from “The Other Side.” All four of these characters have literally been brought back from the dead. Literally resurrected.

We can see a more real-world example in a show like Parenthood.

In season 3, brothers Adam and Crosby go into business together and start their own record label. They buy the building and re-open the well-known, but long defunct, “Luncheonette Recording Studio.” They resurrect it.

Whether creating something entirely new, or bringing something back to life again, season 3’s positive theme is all about “creation.”