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 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 4 (part 5) – Antithesis & Beginning of 2nd Era

Season 4

Dramatic Evolution

Has two main elements:

  • Antithesis
  • Beginning of Second Era

Antithesis

Let’s get back to our Spider-Man example:

In the same way that season 2’s statement:
“With great power, comes great freedom”

was the antithesis of season 1’s thesis statement:
“With great power, comes great responsibility”

Season 4’s antithesis statement, will be on the opposite side of the spectrum from season 3’s thesis statement.

  • Season 1: we had a thesis.
  • Season 2: we flipped it.
  • Season 3: we combined and transcended them both.

This season 3 theme was then simultaneously the new thesis, and season 4 will once again flip it:

  • Season 3: new thesis.
  • Season 4: flip it.

So in our Spider-Man show, season 3’s statement was:

“With great power, comes great honor.”

Now in season 4, our dramatic evolution thematic statement could be:

“With great power, comes great corruption.”

From one perspective, “corruption” is the direct opposite of “honor.” It’s the antithesis.

Notice how this naturally leans into both “shaking things up” and “upping the ante.” Throw in some “weirdness” and “disbandments” and you’ve got yourself a season 4.

Beginning of Second Era

We’ve already discussed this a couple of times, but let’s bring the point home:

The season 1, 2, 3 era is over.

Season 4 starts the season 4, 5 era.

What does it mean to be the beginning of a new era? You’ve gotta start off a whole new chunk of story. You’ve gotta set off into uncharted waters.

We see this in Friday Night Lights:

In the first era, Eric Taylor was the coach of the Dillon panthers. One of the best high school football teams in all of Texas, and possibly the country. They had the money, the reputation, and the fans. But at the end of the era, right at the end of season 3, the school administration is dealing with some redistricting and wants to replace him. They do however offer him the job as head coach at East Dillon High, a school re-opening after years of being closed.

In season 4, we see him take the job and build the school’s football team from scratch. This is the new era – no money, no rep, no fans. Stripped down and lean. This is Coach Taylor building up and leading the Lions of East Dillion High. New Team. New Era.

Solid work to keep the show moving in new directions, and keep it evolving.

When crafting your season 4, be sure to create an antithesis to the dramatic evolution statement of season 3, and to do what you can to set the stage for the brand new season 4, 5 era.



Season 3 (part 5) – Synthesis/Thesis & End of 1st Era

Season 3

Time to talk about season 3’s…

Dramatic Evolution

Here we’re not just finishing up season 3 – we’re finishing up the entire first era of your show.

The “Dramatic Evolution” of season 3 has two elements:

  • Synthesis/Thesis
  • End of First Era

Synthesis/Thesis

First, this refers to the fact that season 3 synthesizes the dramatic evolution themes of seasons 1 and 2.

In our “Spider-Man” show we had…

The “thesis” statement for season 1:

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

We flipped this idea in season 2:

“With great power, comes great freedom.”

And now in season 3, we need to smash these two ideas together and transcend them, to create a third idea.

This is where dramatic evolution truly gets its name. This third idea needs to both combine, and evolve, the two ideas.

For season 3, let’s say:

“With great power, comes great honor.”

To understand how honor is the synthesis of responsibility and freedom, we first have to define honor. Having honor – is dedication (like responsibility), but done willingly and by choice (like freedom), for a greater purpose.

This idea, that the responsibility and freedom combine into a more refined idea of freely-chosen-dedication, is how this “synthesis” theme not only combines the previous ideas, but adds to and evolves from them.

There’s a natural progression at play here, an evolution from one idea to the next, to the next.

Another way to say it would be:

  • “It’s a burden to be Spider-Man.”
  • “It’s a blessing to be Spider-Man.”
  • “It’s an honor to be Spider-Man.”

Then, this new idea:

“With great power, comes great honor” serves not only as the dramatic evolution “synthesis” for the first era. It is also, simultaneously, the “thesis” for the next era.

So when we get to the dramatic evolution “antithesis” of season 4, it will be a reaction to this season 3 “thesis.” As we’ll see when we look at season 4.

End of First Era

In discussing season 3’s dramatic pace, we discussed the “point of no return.” This “point of no return” is the way in which you tell your audience that the era is ending.

But this idea that season 3 is the “end of your first era” isn’t just about how you narratively end the season. It’s about how you treat the entire run of the season.

This is the last season with these particular circumstances.

So tell all the stories you want to tell that belong in this “first era,” because their days are almost over.

Let’s look at Prison Break:

The first era was all about prison. Fox River in season 1, fugitives on the run from prison in season 2, then back in the chaotic Sona prison for season 3. At the end of season 3, the prison circumstances have run their course. It’s time to move on.

In the second era, the show shifts from the prison theme, to the conspiracy theme we see for the rest of the story.

So when looking at your dramatic evolution for season 3, be sure to synthesize seasons 1 and 2 into something that combines and transcends them both – but also make sure to close out the circumstances of the era, because after this season – it’s all new!