3 TV Shows that Will Make You A Better Screenwriter

If there’s one activity that unites us all, it’s TV shows. No matter your religion, gender or social status, it’s always a guarantee that at the end of the day, you’ll be firing up Netflix or HBOMax to catch up on your current favorite show. But for us screenwriters, TV shows aren’t just a pastime. It’s how we get inspiration for our own very own screenplays.

Take the Netflix series Dahmer, for instance. The average viewer watches with a constant feeling of suspense as Jeffrey Dahmer prowls the streets of Milwaukee. Meanwhile, they’re captivated by Evan Peters, who’s portrayal of Dahmer is nothing short of flawless. Eventually, the viewer’s suspense turns into shock and horror as Dahmer brutally murders each victim.

But for screenwriters, the viewing experience is driven by a deep hunger for inspiration. Screenwriters are constantly looking for new ideas and comparing the shows they see on TV to their very own script. It can also be a cure for writer’s block to re-invigorate a screenwriter’s desire to tell their story.

  • How can I make my character as creepy as Dahmer?
  • Should I add a ton of flashbacks to my script like the ones I’m seeing?
  • That murder scene is so similar to the one in my script. I wonder if I should borrow the same style of dialogue.
  • My serial killer script is so much better than this TV series. I wonder if Netflix would read it.

Despite what show you’re currently into, certain ones carry a special quality that put them above all the others. Maybe it’s the inspiring characters and the perfect relationships created between them. Maybe it’s the unique storytelling. Or perhaps it’s something you can’t put your finger on, but it just works. Here are 3 TV series that will not only make you a better screenwriter, but will also have you running back to the typewriter to finish writing your script.

Better Call Saul

Character development is one of the most difficult elements to craft. As a screenwriter, your job is to carry your protagonist from point A to point B, physically, emotionally and mentally. Your characters must also remain consistent and the theme of your story must be epitomized throughout their journey.

If you have any respect for your characters, you will at least do them the courtesy of watching Better Call Saul. Vince Gilligan’s prequel to Breaking Bad is a masterfully crafted character study that follows Jimmy McGill’s transformation from an upstanding lawyer to the sleazy, morally depraved Saul Goodman.

The supporting characters are also extremely well written and compliment the protagonist in the most effective ways. Better Call Saul is also a constant reminder that your supporting cast needs care and attention.

Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets is arguably the most underrated show in television history, and it’s been right under our noses for the past year. If you haven’t seen Yellowjackets, you’re most likely in the middle of a TV series that is vastly inferior in almost every way.

Yellowjackets tells the story of a high school girls’ soccer team that survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. As they navigate survival in the wild, the narrative follows their slow descent from a complicated soccer team to a warring tribe of cannibals and barbaric savages. All the while, the TV series sporadically shifts between the 90s (during the time of the accident) and the modern day, where we follow the surviving characters as they navigate their lives and try to piece together the past.

Despite it’s very specific plot line, Yellowjackets truly has everything. It’s a high school coming-of-age story, a murder mystery, psychological horror, survival horror and dark comedy all rolled into one. For screenwriters, it is something to truly marvel at. From strong female characters to the brutal scenes that define each character, Yellowjackets sets the bar for even the most ambitious screenwriter.

Despite the underlying horror and trauma in Yellowjackets, the writers somehow manage to inject some of the wackiest and most brilliant moments of dark comedy

Foodie Love

If screenwriting is an art, then Foodie Love is its final masterpiece. Countless love stories have made their way onto film, but very few are as creative and uninhibited as Foodie Love. On the surface, Foodie Love is a simple 8-episode romance that follows a couple who meet through a dating app for food lovers. Over the course of weeks, they embark on a journey filled with bottomless passion and gastronomy.

What makes Foodie Love one of the top-tier shows is the screenwriter’s ability to weave the subject of food into the deeply complex relationship between the two protagonists. The two lovers, El and Ella, remain mostly nameless and there is almost no supporting cast throughout the entire series. Nevertheless, it only adds more intimacy to the story. The dialogue becomes laser focused on the desires and sexual tension between the protagonists.

Screenwriter Isabel Coixet fills each intimate scene with perfect, irresistible and sometimes unexplainable chemistry. For screenwriters, the show is a crash course on how to take setting and dialogue and turn it into pure gold. It’s also proof that you actually can write a romantic story devoid of any corny or sappy moments.

Screenwriters are always wary of their script being tied down by repetitive dialogue and lukewarm scenes. Our ultimate challenge is to take that “perfect picture” in our heads and transfer it to paper without losing a single hint of emotion or drama in the process. Foodie Love is perhaps the most uninhibited love story you will ever see on TV, and will inspire you to do just that.

The best way to improve your screenplay is hard work, inspiration and feedback from fellow screenwriters. For a better chance at improving your screenwriting, contact ScriptMother today! We offer effective feedback and a supportive writing community at no cost to you. Improve your script the safer way by joining ScriptMother’s online community.

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