As someone who spends most of his time writing TV pilots that nobody asked for, I often fantasize about how great it would be to write a second season of a show. To have characters that are proven and established, and be able to tell stories that have nothing to do with introducing the show. I sorta got my wish this spring, when a show I created for my college TV network was picked up for a second season. I was thrilled, as I had seven characters that I truly loved, and no shortage of ideas to draw from.
But be careful what you wish for. I was ecstatic to start writing a script with the words “season 2” at the top. I loved that I didn’t have to spend any time introducing any characters. I could hit the ground running, and say whatever I felt like saying. But for whatever reason, it wasn’t working.
Writing the first season of my show seemed magical, but the second season, not so much. It’s true that I could say whatever I wanted, but things just weren’t coming together the way they did the first time around. Maybe it was complacency. I always find it so unpleasant to watch the first episodes of a new show, being introduced to characters I haven’t seen before. So I try to compensate for that by telling an unbelievably great story. Not saying it always works, but I certainly try. Without that kind of pressure, maybe the story just ended up falling flat. Or I could have indulged my niche interests too much, without the restraint created by the need to sell something new. Whatever the reason, my scripts for season 2 weren’t nearly as good as season 1.
I finished writing in May, and put it aside to work on more interesting projects. The script was fine, and the resulting show would certainly be good, but it wasn’t going to excite me. And when something is going to take as much of your time as filming an hour-long webseries, it really should excite you. All summer, working on the show has been a burden in the back of my mind, never a priority. So this weekend, I realized I have to start over. I’m scheduled to start production in September, but I need a great script by then, not just a good one. I’m still not sure why writing a second season is harder than a first (I’ll get back to you when I’ve written a dozen more.) But the one lesson I’ve learned is that life is too short to invest yourself in projects that don’t thrill you, if you can avoid it.