I’ve got it figured out, folks. I know how this system works. To create a successful, potentially hit mainstream tv show that will run at least four seasons and probably longer, simply follow these guidelines.
First, create two characters who will form an unlikely partnership. For maximum viewer interest, make sure they are members of the opposite sex. Second, give them some sort of crime-fighting job. There are options, here, from the police force to the FBI, from official consulting firms to personal private eye sort of gigs. Third, make sure that one of the characters has lots, and I mean lots, of emotional baggage. This will add layers to the unlikely partnership, and keep things interesting. For added interest here, make it the female member of the partnership who is emotionally withholding and unable to share what’s really going on. The tough, invulnerable female crime-fighter is a guaranteed winner. Fourth, have one of the members of the unlikely partnership be a really quirky character, generally the one who is not emotionally stunted, although if you want to make things really interesting, you can have the one member be it all. It doesn’t take much to make a character quirky: a person with a way with snappy comebacks, an author, a pseudo-mind reader, a know-it-all, a conspiracy theorist, take your pick. Fifth, add in a hefty dose of unacknowledged sexual tension within the unlikely partnership. This will keep audiences interested. Finally, sprinkled throughout each season there must be a handful of episodes which will give us glimpses into the sordid history of the emotionally stunted member, as well as a few episodes which almost, almost, but not quite, address the unacknowledged sexual tension.
VOILA! A successful tv show with a moderate run-time is yours!