Writing Themes and Values in TV (PT36)

Writing Themes and Values in TV (PT36)

Alex and Nick discuss the importance of themes and values in television writing, and how you can use them to your advantage in your own TV scripts.

Why are themes and values important in television writing? What are some examples of both? How do you work them in scripts? How do you avoid preachiness in the writing?

The Paper Team shares their motifs…



1 – What are themes and values? (01:20)
2 – How to write themes and values in TV (14:12)
3 – Avoiding preachiness in your writing (23:10)
Takeaways and Resources (27:28)


Survivor: Blood vs. Water
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“Far Beyond the Stars” (6×13 – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Sons of Anarchy
Everybody Loves Raymond
Desperate Housewives
“Earshot” (3×18 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Danny Strong
Buffy Studies
“Beer Bad” (4×05 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Scorpius (Farscape)
The Outer Limits (1963 TV series)
The Outer Limits (1995 TV series)
“Chaos is a ladder” speech from Game of Thrones (Video)
“BoJack Horseman Christmas Special: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish”


“Philosophy of…” Books
“The Philosophy of The Simpsons” – William Irwin, Mark T. Conard, Aeon J. Skoble
Star Trek episodes with social themes

Special thanks to Jason J. Cohn for helping us edit this episode.

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Hi there!

Alex Freedman

I'm Alex Freedman, the writer behind TV Calling.

I started this site in 2008 to chronicle my own journey in television writing.

687 posts and 9 years later, TV Calling has also become a comprehensive resource dedicated to the full TV writing industry — from spec to success.

Everything here is written by yours truly (unless otherwise credited), so feel free to blame me for any missed deadlines.

I hope you'll answer your television calling, and join me in this creative journey.

Write on.

P.S.: New around? You should start here.

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