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 1) – Family

Season 5

Dramatic Structure:

Has 3 areas of concern:

First, let’s address that…

Connection

In season 5, this connection idea is expressed through:

“Family”

The most common expressions of this idea that you’ll see are:

  • Loss/Gain
  • Sacrifice

Loss/Gain

“Loss/Gain” is exactly what you think.

Characters either “gain” family – through a marriage, a birth, an adoption, etc. Or characters “lose” family – through a death, divorce, disownment, etc.

Let’s slice up a plate of examples!

Smallville season 5. Clark loses his father, Jonathan. He dies of a heart attack. That’s some clear and significant “loss of family.”

In season 5 of Mad Men, Don is remarried to his former secretary Megan. He brings her into his family, and embraces hers. That’s some big time “gain of family.”

Sacrifice

Typically you’ll see this expressed as someone making a sacrifice for their family. But occasionally, it’s someone being sacrificed by their family.

Examples!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – season 5. Buffy sacrifices her life to save her sister Dawn and the rest of the world. Pretty cut and dry. She sacrifices herself, for her family.

Sons of Anarchy – season 5. Opie takes Jax’s place in a prison execution. One of them has to die and Opie sacrifices himself to save his brothers. He sacrificed himself, for his (motorcycle club) family.

Notice that when we say “family,” it doesn’t have to be actual blood relatives. Anytime you have a group of people, connected by some kind of shared commonality or caring – you’ve got a “family.”

Alright, both of those examples were people sacrificing for their family. How about the flip side?

We see this on The Shield. At the end of season 5, Shane kills Lem to protect the rest of the Strike Team. Shane sacrificed him, for what he believed to be the greater good.

We see the same thing in season 5 of The Sopranos. Tony sacrifices his cousin Tony B., in order to avoid going to war with Johnny Sack and the New York families. He killed his own cousin, sacrificed him, because he believed it to be the best possible outcome.

In season 5, you can express this “family” theme however you like, but commonly you’ll see people do it with a loss/gain, or sacrifice.



Season 3 (part 1) – Power

Season 3

Dramatic Structure:

There are 3 areas of concern:

Its:

Connection

theme is expressed through the idea of:

“Power”

It’s all about power.

This “power” theme has two common ways of being expressed:

  • Loss/Gain
  • Sexual Violence

Loss or Gain of Power

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Some element of your story, like a character or an organization, will either gain power they didn’t have before, or lose the power they already had.

Let’s look at some examples:

At the end of the second season of LOST, Desmond turned the key in the floor of the hatch station. When we pick up with him in season 3, he’s gained the superpower of having premonitions and mentally jumping around in his own timeline. That’s some power – gained.

In Mad Men season 3, we see Sterling Cooper bought by P.P.L. – Putnam, Powell, and Lowe. Our characters now have bosses. Bosses that now control the direction of their company. This is a clear case of power – lost.

Sexual Violence

In season 3, you’ll commonly see instances of sexual violence. Why? Because it’s not really about the sex. It’s all about power.

Let’s put our peepers on some examples:

In season 3 of Nip/Tuck the main bad-guy of the season is “The Carver.” He was first introduced at the end of season 2, but season 3 is all about him. He’s a serial rapist who likes to disfigure people’s faces. Yikes. He’s even attacked one of our main characters, Christian. The character of the Carver is this “sexual violence” idea made manifest. He’s all about rape and violence, specifically as a means of power.

In The Shield season 3, Aceveda gets raped at gunpoint. In that moment, he is powerless to stop it. We see another level of this power idea at play when Aceveda later uses his power as a police captain to completely destroy the life of his attacker. Power lost, and power leveraged.

While we’re talkin’ about The Shield, let’s dig a little deeper.

Season 3 also sees the inclusion of the serial “Cuddler” rapist character, William Faulks. He rapes victims, cuddles with them, and towards the end – starts murdering them. The interesting part about this instance of sexual violence, is that Dutch is convinced that the raping and the killing are all about exerting power. But once the Cuddler is caught, he explains that it was never about that. For him, it was about that unexplainable thing he feels when he watches his victims die. He asks Dutch to explain what that thing is to him. But Dutch can’t do it, he doesn’t understand it. Dutch’s big case culminates in him feeling completely powerless to explain the very thing he thinks himself an expert in – the inner workings of the criminal mind.

Everywhere you look it’s all about power.