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 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 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 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!