Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

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  • Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

    Hi all,

    I don't watch much TV, but have found myself being asked to write a pilot treatment for an novel adaptation. So, I'm watching and reading a lot of pilots, but one major concern I have is that I don't want to jump between different character's POVs. By that, I mean most serialized shows seem to have a few sets of characters that act individually, but occasionally intersect. The Killing follows the cops, the Larsens and the Mayor. The Wire follows the cops, the criminals and the politicians. Game of Thrones...jesus.

    Are there many, or any successful hour-long dramas that for the most part never leave the POV of the main character?

  • #2
    Re: serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

    I can't think of any that never jump out of the main character's POV, but The Closer and The Mentalist come to mind off the top of my head as two that stick pretty close to the main character and wouldn't work without her/him. The main character is even in the title.

    Castle, for a quick third example. These are all popular shows.
    "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
    ― Ray Bradbury

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    • #3
      Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

      Originally posted by Jake Like Cake View Post
      Hi all,

      I don't watch much TV, but have found myself being asked to write a pilot treatment for an novel adaptation. So, I'm watching and reading a lot of pilots, but one major concern I have is that I don't want to jump between different character's POVs. By that, I mean most serialized shows seem to have a few sets of characters that act individually, but occasionally intersect. The Killing follows the cops, the Larsens and the Mayor. The Wire follows the cops, the criminals and the politicians. Game of Thrones...jesus.

      Are there many, or any successful hour-long dramas that for the most part never leave the POV of the main character?

      CURRENT SHOWS:

      Burn Notice
      Castle
      Covert Affairs
      Fairly Legal
      Fringe
      Hart of Dixie
      Necessary Roughness


      PAST SHOWS:

      Alias
      Chuck
      Dexter
      Felicity
      In Plain Sight
      Monk
      My Name Is Earl
      Ugly Betty
      Veronica Mars


      In my viewing experience, I generally find that serialized shows are typically more likely to be seen through the point of view of a main character or a limited number of characters, rather than episodic shows and procedurals, which seem to rely on an ensemble cast. While there are quite a few serials with ensemble casts, I don't know nearly as many episodic or procedural series that told through the perspective of only one or two characters. THE CLOSER and BODY OF PROOF are along those lines, but even they show other characters investigating despite having one primary lead role.

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      • #4
        Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

        If I remember right, Magnum PI rarely left the POV of the title character.
        Words... they don't arrange themselves.

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        • #5
          Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

          I don't think you'll find one that strictly adheres to one POV. It's too much to ask for from an actor and from the audience. The two closest that come to mind are Breaking Bad and The Prisoner.
          Vancouver Screenwriters Meetup Group

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          • #6
            Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

            Originally posted by Rathmon View Post
            If I remember right, Magnum PI rarely left the POV of the title character.
            You remember incorrectly.

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            • #7
              Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

              Deadzone fits pretty well. When he flashes into visions, he's still in them as himself. I can only remember one scene Anthony Michael Hall wasn't in during the first couple of seasons. I remember the showrunner talking about that on a commentary - about what an amazing sport he was since he was in literally every scene in the show.

              Which, by the way, is a good point to remember. If your actor is in every scene, that is a crapton of work for them. Nobody's going to want to do that unless the character is AMAZING.
              Chicks Who Script podcast

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              • #8
                Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

                Originally posted by emily blake View Post
                I remember the showrunner talking about that on a commentary - about what an amazing sport he was since he was in literally every scene in the show.

                Which, by the way, is a good point to remember. If your actor is in every scene, that is a crapton of work for them. Nobody's going to want to do that unless the character is AMAZING.
                It's apparently also a scheduling nightmare.

                Dr Who makes a point of shooting one episode per season from an entirely different POV - basically ignoring the main character. That's almost entirely for scheduling reasons. 'Blink' & 'Left Turn' are examples.

                Mac
                Last edited by Mac H.; 08-23-2012, 06:46 PM.
                New blogposts:
                *Followup - Seeking Investors in all the wrong places
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                • #9
                  Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

                  Originally posted by SoCalScribe View Post
                  CURRENT SHOWS:

                  Burn Notice
                  Castle
                  Covert Affairs
                  Fairly Legal
                  Fringe
                  Hart of Dixie
                  Necessary Roughness


                  PAST SHOWS:

                  Alias
                  Chuck
                  Dexter
                  Felicity
                  In Plain Sight
                  Monk
                  My Name Is Earl
                  Ugly Betty
                  Veronica Mars


                  In my viewing experience, I generally find that serialized shows are typically more likely to be seen through the point of view of a main character or a limited number of characters, rather than episodic shows and procedurals, which seem to rely on an ensemble cast. While there are quite a few serials with ensemble casts, I don't know nearly as many episodic or procedural series that told through the perspective of only one or two characters. THE CLOSER and BODY OF PROOF are along those lines, but even they show other characters investigating despite having one primary lead role.

                  You forgot "White Collar", and "Dexter" should be in the current section.
                  "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

                  "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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                  • #10
                    Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

                    24. All Jack Bauer, all the time. And that's how I liked it.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

                      And I don't think "White Collar" is just Neal. It's him and Burke. Unless you count the two of them together as one point of view. Because they're usually together.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Serialized drama/ mysteries that FOLLOW A SINGLE CHARACTER.

                        Originally posted by Projectophelia View Post
                        24. All Jack Bauer, all the time. And that's how I liked it.

                        Nope Season one alone broke away on the daughter several times, in the aircraft where the photographer lost his ID, the president...

                        What about the old series the fugative?
                        I heard the starting gun


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