aka: Six Student Clique
One of the first choices any writer has to make is how many protagonists will lead the narrative. Believe it or not, that number matters. Too many, and you can barely get attached to anyone, just one and you'll never believe the author would kill them off. So, which is the lucky number for Ensembles? Let's start at one and work our way up. A lone protagonist is not some embryonic proto-cast that contains the traits of all Ensembles past and present, but rather has complete freedom to be whoever is needed for the story. Let's repeat that: lone. Though a one-man hero doesn't have to be an antisocial loner, they are very independent no matter what kind of character they are. Even the wimpy Action Survivor is at least able to survive. Interestingly, the best lone heroes make up for a lack of permanent cast with a varied supporting (though temporary) cast and (hopefully) some internal struggles to add depth. The Person vs Person type of dramatic struggle is common for the lone hero. Needless to say they are also invariably The Hero (well, let's say protagonist to hedge our bets). Though that's kind of a "Duh" statement, read on.
- Common genres or stories: These protagonist can be in any story and are unweighed by a large cast, and so they can be Walking the Earth as The Drifter. Even if sedentary, they'll likely play the lone Action Hero against overwhelming opposition. What you won't see is either the typical drama with lots of long term character interaction, or a "stable" environment, these heroes will live and work in flux.
- Common genres or stories: Again, any; however, duos gain a certain level of stability as compared to lone heroes. The character interaction between them will often become deep and nuanced to a degree not often seen with other ensemble numbers. Duos are likely to be in Action Adventure shows, possibly playing Detective or fighting crime.
- Common genres or stories: A trio is downright homey, and not in the sedentary sense. Three is the number where a family of friends can be born; characters can become True Companions. Even if they don't see each other as a family, the dynamics between them will give viewers a sort of "safety net". Past this size, even when the group's adventures lead to them traveling the world (or galaxy), they will tend to work out of a base (or Cool Ship) which often becomes something of a character in its own right. Trios work best in genres where there's room to interact both with each other and with the environment, from here on down an ensemble can hypothetically devote an entire episode or chapter just to the cast interacting. These guys are likely to be in an Action Adventure or Drama. Or both!
- Common genres or stories: Drama is the order of the day for the quartet, particularly internal drama. A quartet is likely to 'split up' in a given episode, giving each a chance to play off not just each other but dealing with the various aspects of the plot and the week's guest characters. Expect occasional reminders of why everyone is special and important, even if they're Muggles.
- Common genres or stories: Though roving bands of extended casts are not unheard of, they will carry their home with them, be it a space ship, a Mystery Machine, or merely the clothes on their back. These enormous ensembles practically write a Drama themselves, never mind having Hilarity Ensue due to outside events.
- Five: Five-Man Band
- Seven: The Magnificent Seven Samurai
- Lots: Loads and Loads of Characters
- Four: Four Girl Ensemble
- More: Amazon Brigade
- Two: Evil Duo
- Three: Terrible Trio
- Four: Four Is Death
- Five: Five-Bad Band
- Six or Seven: Five-Bad Band + Enigmatic Minion and/or Morality Pet