DOI: 10.4324/9781003041115-11

Theme is a central idea expressed through action. It can add dimension and resonance. In episodic television, theme is the glue that holds multiple, and sometimes divergent, storylines together. Theme is what the story is really about, more than a series of events, but some kind of underlying universal truth about life.

Themes are always related to power – and sometimes that’s the power of the human spirit. Such themes include: Can good triumph over evil? Can one person make a difference? Love conquers all. No man is an island. Crime doesn’t pay. The list goes on.

On a TV series, theme can be articulated by a character – through dialogue or V.O. or some other narrative device (such as Carrie Bradshaw’s ...

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