by Michael Chasin
It’s always about the core.
In ideologies, organizations, and even in health.
So too is it about the core in episodic entertainment.
For without a strong and compelling core, there is a lack of unity, and randomness, in what is dramatized and explored from episode to episode.
Special effects and action and music make for eye and ear candy—but are usually not sustaining.
What endures for viewers, and what truly resonates, are heroes in conflict—with the very core of their existence.
It was Tony Soprano—who might have functioned best as an unfeeling sociopath—but instead was in therapy—that made The Sopranos so interesting.
Ray—in the middle between his birth family—and the family he created in his wife and children—was his core conflict—so accurately titled, Everybody Loves Raymond.
Walt, when faced with death, spent his precious time being good—and bad—and bad in the name of good. This core conflict is what made Breaking Bad so powerful.
These core hero conflicts—not gimmicks or zeitgeist moments—had the depth to be dramatized in career, loves, and choices, in episode after episode.
It was these core conflicts, which sustained hero growth—or decline—season after season.
So before writing your pilot episode—on what you think is a high concept—consider if your hero will still be interesting—in season four, episode seven.
Spend time in establishing the core.
That time spent—will be seen in season four, episode seven.