Character Study – Analysis (Inspiration)

There are a range of new shows being broadcast left, right and centre these days. Some of them unfortunately do not make it past Season 1. This isn’t because the storyline is bad, or that technically the show is lacking. Quite often these television series have a more cinematic feel, looking more like a feature film. It can often depend on money and the Nielsen ratings attained from each episode and the series overall.

I have had a lot of experience with cancelled shows that just didn’t make the cut either past their 13 or 22 episode season. Examples are ‘Star-crossed’, ‘Forever’ and ‘Containment’ which especially upset me. Containment centred around a viral outbreak in Atlanta, leaving a section of the city cordoned off under quarantine and those stuck on the inside fighting for their lives. The concept, at first, didn’t feel so fresh or unique. I decided to give it a watch. I yearn for shows that really make you feel something, stories that have real meaning, exploring feelings we can all relate to. The show is absolutely brilliant, focusing on the stories of a number of characters in and outside of the cordon. This is a method done throughout many shows where the focus can be on multiple characters and their individual story ark can interact with the main storyline, with crossovers occurring constantly throughout. One story ark was on the developing relationship between two characters ‘Jake Riley’ and ‘Katie Frank’. They are for the majority both stuck inside a hospital within the cordon. Trapping two characters within one environment almost forces them to interact, but this setting provides an opportunity to focus more on the characters and how they deal with their situation. How they potentially deteriorate emotionally or possibly where others become stronger.

The story of Jake and Katie show how two complete strangers in a crisis can be brought closer together. The environment you are in can alter things altogether, presenting opportunities to meet people who you may have never come into contact with before. Over the course of just 11 episodes, I was taken in by this on screen relationship. The chemistry that unfolded over time, made you feel for these characters, almost making you care for them. I found a video that compiles their time together over the first season, compiling their first meeting and key points that happen throughout. Its a perfect example of a more detailed character study from a series that does this anyway. Here is the video below:

By the end of the season, Katie has been infected with the virus and unfortunately succumbs to the deadly disease. As we have hours watching these characters and almost becoming involved in their affairs each week, its devastating to watch one of them pass on so horrifically especially knowing how another character feels in the process. This is the power of storytelling. How we can take two completely fictitious characters, putting them in this situation and falling in love with their chemistry on screen and awaiting to see what happens next.

Our personal experiences define us! They define how we react to things, how we choose to interpret things. Everything in life is a choice and through our experiences that define us, we learn what choices are the right and wrong based on those experiences. I could show these 13 episodes to a friend and they may not feel anything for the characters whatsoever. The show was cancelled and obviously didn’t touch enough people but I feel lucky that I was able to catch this show when it was broadcast and that I was able to find this little video. It summarises my experience with the show perfectly.

For my final media project, I am still focused on shooting a documentary in Morocco but I just wanted to mention this character study as it’s important to ensure that people connect with who and what they are seeing on screen. This will be of fundamental importance to my work going forward.

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