Season 6 (part 3) – Destruction

Season 6

Dramatic Structure:

Season 6 has 3 areas of concern:

What’s up with that:

Deviation

Season 2 expressed its deviation theme through “contradiction.”
Season 4 expressed its deviation theme through “shake up.”

And now season 6’s deviation theme is expressed through:

“Destruction”

In season 6, you want to destroy as many things as you can. Places, lives, ideas. Tear down as much as your story can handle.

You’ll commonly find two different flavors of destruction:

  • Mistakes
  • Decisions

Mistakes

This is a kind of unintentional destruction.

We see a lot of this in season 6 of Sons of Anarchy.

At the end of season 5, Otto killed a nurse. Turns out that was a big mistake. Her brother, a former U.S. Marshal, has the influence to make Otto pay for his mistake. He spends the season tearing Otto down, and eventually ending his life.

Or we’ve got the biggest “mistake” in all of S.O.A.: Gemma kills Tara. Because she thought the doctor had flipped on the club. She hadn’t.

That’s a huge mistake.

Decisions

This is a kind of intentional destruction.

Let’s take a look at season 6 of The Shield.

At the very end of season 5, Shane killed Lem in a desperate attempt to protect the Strike Team. He destroyed part of the team, to save it. Season 6 plays out the ramifications of this decision. Mackey is on a warpath to find Lem’s killer, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. And with every lie that Shane tells to keep Mackey from the truth, more destruction piles up.

Shane chose to kill Lem, he chose to hide the truth, and now it’s causing nothing but massive, reckless, destruction.

So when putting season 6 together, be sure to investigate your deviation theme via destruction. That’ll usually take the form of intentional or unintentional destruction. Or to look at it another way: mistakes and decisions.



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 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 4 (part 1) – Disbandments

Season 4

It’s a new era Animals!

Dramatic Structure:

Has 3 areas of concern:

First up, it’s all about that…

Separation

Here in season 4, this separation idea is expressed through:

“Disbandments”

We see all kinds of disbandments in season 4, but…

The most common types you’ll see are:

  • Partnerships
  • Marriages

Partnerships

The disbandment of a “partnership” would be like what we see on The Shield:

Season 3 ended with the Strike Team having a big fight over the cash they stole from the Armenian money train. When we pick up with them in season 4, the Strike Team has disbanded. Shane has transferred to another station and is working Vice with a new partner. Lem is working for the juvenile system. Vic and Ronnie are still at the Barn, but they’re basically on desk duty.

The Strike Team has been dismantled, separated, disbanded.

We see something similar on House:

At the end of season 3, House fired his diagnostic team. Now in season 4, his old team has scattered to different departments in the hospital and House spends the season putting together a new team.

The old one has been disbanded.

Marriages

In season 4 of Mad Men, we see a definite disbandment.

At the end of season 3, Don and his wife Betty called it quits. When we pick up with Don in season 4, he’s single, living in an apartment in the city, and basically dating every woman he’s ever met. Betty is pursuing a new husband in Henry, the man she met last year as her marriage was slowly falling apart.

For season 4, the Don/Betty marriage has completely disbanded.

We see an interesting example on Sons of Anarchy:

Most shows, will blow a relationship up at the end of season 3, and then move forward with a disbanded duo in season 4. Sons of Anarchy does it a little differently. They spend season 4 actively disbanding Clay and Gemma’s relationship. We get to see the “how” and “why” as their marriage slowly implodes over the season. It’s not a common way to pace this piece of story, but in S.O.A.’s case, it works pretty well.

So when dealing with this separation idea in season 4, make sure to pay attention to your disbandments. And if it helps, go ahead and express it through partnerships and marriages.