Writing for TV ain't easy— coming up with fresh plots on a weekly basis can be tough. Fortunately for writers, most shows follow the same basic format week-to-week, so they don't have to come up with radically different plots every seven days. One of the most popular show types is the "Of The Week
" format, in which a core cast of Regular Characters
deals with a new problem every week. This combines the stability of a template show with the possibility of new, exciting stories.
Most of the time, the problem the cast encounters disappears by the end of the episode, never to be mentioned again. It's becoming increasingly common for a show to have an overreaching seasonal Story Arc
as well, but writers of the past generally preferred to stay low on continuity; less continuity means it's easier to re-air the show in syndication.
In script terms, the One-Shot Character
who comes in with a problem and disappears after is called a client