Here's a post I wrote in response to Philip Shelley's discussion on Linked In Screenwriters' Group about TV Drama Series. The issue you're discussing here is the well night impossible question to answer of 'what makes a good series?' . While we can't really answer that, what we can do is be very tough about staying on task during development, trying to isolate and hang on to what we think is the big seller. One thing I created when I was working on devising TV drama series was something I called 'The Series Template', and a lot of people have found it useful. It's an extra bit to go in the bible, but it precedes the bible. It's essentially, 'what you have to get in each episode', and it covers specific character interaction, type of structure, style etc - all in one sentence grabs. The great thing about the Series Template is that you can create it very early on in the development process so it help in development (when it's really easy for discussion to go off the point), but also for ongoing use. One of the biggest problems we have as writers is staying on task - we're writers, we're inventive - we can easily get distracted away from writing Little Red Riding Hood by getting really interested in Little Red Riding Hood's wacky Auntie. Great, but that ain't the job description. So a constant reminder of 'what am I supposed to be doing here' is immensely useful.
Linda is a screenwriter, novelist and playwright. As well as teaching and mentoring writers around the world, she regularly consults on screenplays at the highest level in the US, UK and Australia.