Story Shamans Podcast – Episode 3 – The Shield

SPOILERS:

The Shield, The O.C. kinda…, Game of Thrones kinda…

SHOW NOTES:


Related Shamans Videos to Check out:

Resolution of the Core Conflict

Core Concept

Impossible Decision

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

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 4 (part 2) – Weirdness

Season 4

Dramatic Structure:

Has 3 areas of concern:

Let’s talk about that…

Negative

For season 4, it’s all about:

“Weirdness”

You can get weird in many different ways but…

The two you’ll see most often are:

  • Invasive
  • Otherworldly

Invasive Weirdness

“Invasive” weirdness, is weirdness that invades the lives of your characters.

We see this on Smallville. In season 4, Lana is repeatedly possessed by a 17th century witch. While possessed, the Countess Margaret Isobel Thoreaux is walking around in Lana’s body, using magic and hunting down the “Stones of Power.” Not only is that weird, but her body is literally being invaded and controlled by someone else. That’s as invasive as it gets.

We also see invasive weirdness in Angel season 4. When Angel’s son Connor knocked boots with Cordelia? She became pregnant. That’s a little weird. When she gives birth to a full-grown woman deity from a higher dimension, bent on enslaving this world through mindless devotion and love? Things get super weird. This deity, Jasmine, used Cordelia’s womb to birth herself into this world. That’s specifically, invasively, weird.

Otherworldly Weirdness

Now, in the examples above, there are some definite “otherworldly” elements:

  • Witchcraft from the 17th century.
  • A god from a higher dimension.

But let’s take a look at some other examples:

Weeds:
At the end of season 3, the “Agrestic” suburb burnt down to the ground. At the beginning of season 4, The Botwin clan have moved to “Ren Mar,” a town near the Mexico border. Nancy gets herself tied up in Mexican drugs, guns, and human trafficking. She’s traded the suburbs, for this whole other world of hardcore crime in Mexico. That’s some “otherworldly” weirdness, for a show about selling weed.

True Blood:
In season 4, Sookie finds herself in the alternate dimension of “Faerie World.” Season 4 then plays out the ramifications of her brief visit. We also see, in this season, the first inclusion of witches. Even for a show like True Blood, this inclusion of faerie business and straight forward magic is pretty weird, and definitely otherworldly.

So when crafting season 4, be sure to address your negative theme by getting into some weirdness. If you’re looking for ideas, go with invasive and otherworldly.



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.”