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The TV Showrunner's Roadmap by Neil Landau

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11Know who and what they’re up Against

Creating stakes: Give your protagonist(s) something to gain and something to lose. The antagonistic forces on a series will serve to escalate the stakes and intensify the urgency to solve a given problem. Think about the role of time in your series. Notice how characters in all genres are always rushing somewhere—they must hurry and do something or else.

In The Killing, detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) is all set to move to California with her fiancé and her teenage son when she gets assigned a murder case. Sarah plans to wrap the case up quickly so she can move on with her life, but the case gradually turns into a sprawling conspiracy that drags on for weeks. The case ruins her relationship with her ...

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