CMS 2010: TV Episode Analysis

This is the second of our writing assignments. It consists of three steps.

Step 1: Select and Claim your Unique TV Episode

First, select an television episode from a series that first appeared on a broadcast (e.g. NBC), a cable (e.g. Oxygen), or a streaming channel (e.g. Netflix). The episode must be a part of a series with at least eight total episodes.

Unless we discuss it in advance, your episode must be

  • no longer than 60 minutes
  • Fictional
  • In English

Note that no two students can work on the same episode. To claim yours, complete the required information in the D2L discussion topic “TV Storytelling.” Make sure to read through other students’ posts first, to confirm that no one has already claimed your episode.

In the discussion topic, create a thread and complete the following. (See my post on “The Big Bang” for an example.)

  • Thread Title: Series Name and Episode Name
  • Thread Body: Original Venue (broadcast, cable, or streaming) and dates
  • Thread Body: 1-2 sentence summary of the series

Step 2: Gather Data

In the provided Excel spreadsheet,

  • Break down the episode into scenes
  • List the episode’s principal characters and their actors
  • List the showrunner, the episode’s writers, and its director
  • List the date and channel of the episode’s first appearance

Using this and the episode as a guide, free write about the episode’s structure.

Step 3: Write your Analysis


Use the terms and concepts presented in class lectures and the assigned reading to analyze your episode. Your analysis should consist of at least four detailed paragraphs. (I’m expecting around 5-7 sentences per paragraph.) One way of organizing your analysis (including questions that each paragraph might answer) is presented below.

Note that this assignment is not an essay. As a whole, the writing should not follow the introduction-body-conclusion structure that is typical of academic essays. Instead, focus on crafting four complete, coherent paragraphs that each stands on its own.

Characters (Paragraph 1)

Is there a protagonist? How do you know? What are the protagonist’s primary goals and motivations in this episode? What is thwarting their success? Who are the secondary characters and how do they relate to the story’s primary conflict and/or its protagonist?

Act 1 (Paragraph 2)

Which scenes form a part of Act 1? Do these scenes accomplish the tasks that our readings say they should?

Act 2 (Paragraph 3)

Which scenes form a part of Act 2? Do these scenes accomplish the tasks that our readings say they should?

Act 3 (Paragraph 4)

Which scenes form a part of Act 3? Do these scenes accomplish the tasks that our readings say they should?


All paragraphs should be coherent, and all sentences should demonstrate the four C’s. The paragraphs should conform to MLA style guidelines, including the proper citation of outside sources.

Citing your Sources

MLA guidelines call for a two-part citation system:

  1. In-text parenthetical citations, which are linked to
  2. A Works Cited section at the end

Works Cited Examples

Use the citations below as models for your Works Cited section.

Giordano, Luke. “How to Write a TV Pilot, Part 1: Concept and Considerations.” Sitcom World. Medium. 21 Feb. 2016. Web. 6 Oct. 2022.

“Nobody Beats the Biebs.” Atlanta. By Stephen Glover and Donald Glover. FX. 27 Sept. 2016. Amazon Prime Video. 6 Oct. 2022.

“Performance Art.” Tate Museum. Web. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.


By the deadline listed on the drop box. submit both of the following files to the D2L Assignment drop box titled “TV Episode Analysis.”

  • The completed Excel document
  • A Microsoft Word document that includes your completed paragraphs
  • Any figures (aka illustrations) referenced in the text, in JPG format