5 Must-Haves for a Great TV Series

Does your TV series idea have the “legs” to run longer than an episode or two?  

Ideas for films tend to be about a problem that are acute and solvable but TV series ideas tend to be about a problem that is chronic and unsolvable i.e. it’s a basic idea that can keep running for a whole series – and some.

 Whether you’re working on a half-hour sitcom or 10 – part drama, your TV series must have these elements.

  • 1) A Strong Narrative Drive – When you think about just about any successful series there is always a challenging goal driving the main character. What’s going to drive the narrative of your series? 
  • 2) Engaging Characters with depth, flaws, agency and clear goals. These fictional representations need to be relatable and engaging to watch. Or we just stop watching.
  • 3) Conflict – Every television show needs conflict. Differences between the values, needs and goals of the characters.  Ideally, characters should also have to deal with internal conflict as they struggle with the consequences of their decisions and actions.
  • 4) Great Dialogue – we all know great dialogue when we see it. But in TV it is the primary vehicle for telling the story. Great dialogue is believable. It fits the character and reflects the way people communicate in the real world.
  • 5) An interesting and surprising storyline – sometimes we can predict where an episode story is going to go and the writers’ challenge is to get to an expected conclusion in a fun, unpredictable way. Other times we are blown away by the unpredictable turns the story can take – but it still has to be believable and logical within the world of the series.

Want to create and write a TV series? Register for my Beginner’s Guide Writing a TV Pilot Workshop (April 19th)


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