The Formula to Create a Hit TV Series – Revealed!

December 4th, 2013 by Barak

Mob City is coming out December 4th on TNT. It’s a promising new periodic crime TV series (takes place during the 40′s and the 50′s) created by Frank Darabont who also created the hit TV series The Walking Dead.

Trying to create a hit TV series may seem like a lot of guesswork and chance but could there be a method to this madness? Does Mob City have what it takes to be a television sensation? We’ll start by look at 5 successful TV series creators and analyze the genes that are dominant in their hit shows, and we’ll then narrow the list down to the genes that are dominant with all of them… The formula to create a hit TV series – revealed!

5. Bryan FullerWonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal.


Dominant genes
: Clever, Offbeat, Stylized, Surreal, Deadly, Mind and Soul, Riddles and Clues, Unfulfillment.

Bryan Fuller’s shows are beautiful to look at and have a unique, very colorful, almost magical visual style; they are always surreal and dreamlike and often revolve around death. Fuller is quite obsessed with death, but come to think of it, who isn’t? His writing is sophisticated and he likes to examine all kinds of aspects of the human psyche.

4. David MilchNYPD Blue, Deadwood, Luck.


Dominant genes
: Atmospheric, Clever, Contemplative, Rough, Crimes, Friendship, Slow, Talky.

In the world of David Milch’s shows there is a unique atmosphere, a certain feel, when you watch a scene from Deadwood for example, you can’t mistake it for any other show. His shows are smart and bring up interesting philosophical ideas and thoughts. His shows are slow moving, but that only helps to create the tense atmosphere he aspires for The characters in his shows are quite chatty, and the dialogue he writes for them is superb.

3. Ricky Gervais & Stephen MerchantThe Office, Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show, Life’s Too Short.


Dominant genes
: Clever, Witty, Obnoxious, Workplace, Dry Humor, Irreverent Humor, Mockumentary, Talky.

These two comic geniuses are the masters of uncomfortable comedy; the lead character in their shows is usually obnoxious and self-involved.  The setting is often a workplace environment and they always manage to squeeze in some social commentary in their irreverent, politically incorrect way. They like to shoot their comedies in a mockumentary style and the dialogue from the minds of these two witty comedy writers is always razor sharp.

2. J.J. AbramsFelicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Undercovers.


Dominant genes
Clever, ExcitingStylized, Couples, Family Relations, Strong Female Presence.

A romantic drama, an action series that revolves around espionage, a mystery series with supernatural elements, a sci-fi series about a mad scientist and a humorous action series about a married couple who are also secret agents…surprisingly so, the series J.J. Abrams created, despite being from several different genres, do have a few things in common like an impressive heroine, plot lines that deal with couple and family relations in an intelligent way and an impressive visual style.

1. David SimonHomicide: Life on the Street, The Wire, Generation Kill, Treme.


Dominant genes
CleverRough, Tense, Ensemble Cast, RealismTalky, Life is a BitchMind and Soul, Society.

In David Simon’s series there is a strong sense of realism which tends to indicate that life is far from being a picnic. There is an ensemble cast of characters however no character remains undeveloped. The dialogue is excellent and contributes a lot to creating the tense tone of his shows. Simon’s brilliant shows have a lot to say about American society – from urban decay to the role of mass media in contemporary life.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

So, after looking at 5 of the best TV series creators today, we can more or less determine the secret formula to creating a hit TV series:

A cleverly written show that’s also gritty and stylized, it has to deal with psychological issues and the characters have to talk quite a lot. Does Mob City have what it takes in order for it to be a hit TV series? It’s definitely going to be gritty and stylized, if the characters will turn out to be troubled babblers with a smart thing to say once in a while, Mob City just might be the next hit!

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