Season 7 (part 5) – Synthesis & End of 3rd Era/Entire Story

Season 7

This is it Animals! Time to wrap up season 7, the third era, and your entire story as a whole.

Dramatic Evolution

Has two main elements:

  • Synthesis
  • End of Third Era/Your Entire Story

Most shows, most stories, are going to end completely at the end of season 7. It’s a natural end point. The 7 seasons have run their course, and now it’s all coming to an end. The story is over.

You can go beyond season 7 if you like. But if you do, the seasons moving forward will just be a new cycle of the same 7 season structure. We’ll get into what this means a little later. But for now, for simplicity’s sake – let’s assume that you’re ending your story at the end of season 7.

Synthesis

Season 7 is this third era’s “synthesis.”

You’re taking the dramatic evolution themes from seasons 5 and 6, then combining and transcending them into something that really nails your point home. This isn’t just the synthesis for the third era, it’s the synthesis for the whole series. The whole story.

Let’s finish up our Spider-Man show:

Season 5’s thesis:

“With great power, comes great humility.”

Season 6’s antithesis:

“With great power, comes great hubris.”

For season 7’s synthesis, how about:

“With great power, comes great wisdom.”

In season 5, he was humble about his power. In season 6, he got a little power-inflated. Here in season 7, Spider-Man comes to a place of hard-won wisdom with regards to his power.

How’s that work? There’s a natural progression. It comes from being super humble, then superior, and after having experienced both of those extremes, Spider-Man’s able to find the true middle path. He knows what it means to have this gift, and he also understands where his limits are.

But this “wisdom” comes not just from the humility and hubris of the past two seasons. It also comes from the lessons of every previous season.

  • The responsibility he learned in season 1.
  • The unique freedom he enjoyed in season 2.
  • The honor he felt in season 3.
  • The corruption he suffered in season 4.

Then the lessons of this particular era:

  • Both the humility he gained in season 5, and the hubris he succumbed to in season 6.

It all culminates, combines and synthesizes in season 7, into “wisdom.” It’s both the synthesis for your third era, and the synthesis for your entire story. You’ve gotta keep that in mind.

End of Third Era/Your Entire Story

This is the last season of your grand, seven season story.

You’ve got to keep an eye on ending not just this third era chunk of story, but also look to end the entire series.

Examples!

The West Wing.

The third era was all about the general question: “Who’s the next president going to be?”

That question, and era, completely comes to a close when President Santos is sworn into office, at the end of the season.

But, this being the end of the show, they’ve also got to close out the entire story. This is done by closing out the Bartlet Administration’s second term. They’re all done. The presidency and administration we’ve been watching this whole time, is now, definitively, at an end.

The West Wing is a good example of a show that has exactly 7 seasons. How about one that went past season 7 but still had all of this dramatic evolution stuff to satisfy?

Let’s look again at Supernatural.

As previously discussed, their third era was all about “purgatory.” And they close out this era by having Dean sent to purgatory, after taking out the Leviathan King – Dick Roman.

That’s a solid end to the era, a good end to that purgatory chunk. But since the show is still going, they don’t close out the story as a whole. They’re saving that for when they actually do end the story of Sam and Dean Winchester. Whenever that might be.

That’s it Animals! All seven seasons laid at your feet.

There are more details that we could get into, but these are the large pieces. The stuff that’ll definitely get you off and running.

Get to know ’em. Let ’em sink into your bones.

Then go tell your own stories. Do it.

Right now.



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 5 (part 5) – Synthesis/Thesis & End of 2nd Era

Season 5

Time to wrap up season 5, and the entire second era of your story with its…

Dramatic Evolution

Has two main elements:

  • Synthesis/Thesis
  • End of Second Era

Synthesis/Thesis

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

  • Season 1 had a “thesis.”
  • Season 2 had an “antithesis.”
  • Season 3 combined and evolved out of them in a “synthesis.”

That season 3 “synthesis” simultaneously served as the new era’s “thesis.”

So…

  • Season 3 was a “thesis/synthesis.”
  • Season 4 was its “antithesis.”

Here in season 5, it’s time for another “synthesis.”

A “synthesis” of the “dramatic evolution” themes of seasons 3 and 4.

What’s that look like? Let’s recap:

Season 3’s thesis:

“With great power, comes great honor.”

Season 4’s antithesis:

“With great power, comes great corruption.”

For season 5’s synthesis, how about:

“With great power, comes great humility.”

You can see how this idea grows out of the previous two. Our hero had great power and carried it with honor in season 3. In season 4, he was corrupted by it. Now, coming out the other side of that corruption, he’s come to a place of true humility with regards to that power.

Once again, we’ve synthesized and evolved the dramatic evolution themes.

“With great power, comes great humility.”

This “synthesis” also, simultaneously, serves as the “thesis” for the next era.

  • Season 3 was the “thesis” for the second era.
  • Season 5 is the “thesis” for the third era.

So when we get to season 6 comin’ up, it will be an “antithesis” to this season 5 “thesis.”

End of Second Era

This season 4/5 era, needs to come to a close.

Let’s take a look at how Friday Night Lights did it:

The second era, seasons 4 and 5, was all about Eric Taylor coaching the East Dillon Lions. At the end of season 5, Eric and his wife Tami leave Dillon Texas, so that Tami can accept her dream job as Dean of Admissions at the prestigious Braemore College in Philadelphia. Eric takes a position out there as well, coaching yet another high school football team.

The era of Eric Taylor coaching the East Dillon Lions, has definitely come to a close. He’s moved towns, he’s moved schools, he’s moved on.

When crafting your season 5, your dramatic evolution demands that you make season 5 a synthesis of the previous two seasons, as well as pay attention to closing out the end of the story’s second era.



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.