As with movies, you should either have one hero, or multiple heroes that actually represent one mind that has been split into two or three extremes.
As I talked
about here and here, TV characters are often more extreme than characters in real life,
but this doesn’t mean that the writing is bad: Some writing attempts to
recreate believable interpersonal dialogue, but it’s equally valid to dramatize
the internal debate we have in our own heads, by having different characters represent different extremes.
Some shows tri-polarize their characters: one is all head, one is all heart and one is all
gut (aka ego, super-ego, and id, Freud’s definition of the warring factions in
our heads). (I bolded the names of the lead “heroes” in order to point out that shows can favor different poles. Only
“Avatar” seemed to me to be truly co-equal, and “Lost” really didn’t have any
heroes by the end, did it?)
shows, we end up with a bi-polar split.
Two extreme characters who each lack what the other has in spades:
nothing more dreadful or generic than a non-polarized ensemble. Because I’m developing a show with some
similarities, I recently watched the short-lived “Law and Order” spin-off
“Conviction”, about seven attractive young ADAs who juggled cases with their
had three or four cases being tried, but ultimately it didn’t matter who was
trying each case, since the characters were essentially interchangeable (aside
from who they were sleeping with).
Instead of asking, “how would this
prosecutor handle this case?”, they just asked, “How would a prosecutor handle this case?” and then picked a character at random That’s not
drama! Drama requires a volatile
reaction between character and circumstance!