Another thing that came up in my interview with Ms. Hsu was the idea of challenging your core cast's strengths. Everybody knows you can base springboards on your core cast's weaknesses. Our hero Josh was shy with women, so we made him date two at once. But you can also challenge their strengths. If your hero has something only she can do, then she can also get in trouble no one else can get into.
In one of Melinda's episodes, Alison had to choose whether to get a murderer arrested -- knowing that this murderer is a pilot who may save a plane full of people from crashing. It's a hell of a moral quandary -- and one only a psychic would ever have to deal with.
If you're writing Smallville
, what kind of trouble can Superboy get into that you or I couldn't?
This is a good point about challenging your core cast's strengths. In the case of Medium and Smallville I think you need to walk a fine line between having your heroes do things only they can do, and having them do more run-of-the-mill things that your audience can relate to. For instance, in Medium, Alison's husband and kids act very much like an ordinary husband and kids. (Even though both the kids have exhibited psychic ability.) She's been ill...she's had a pregnancy scare...she's feared her husband was cheating on her. And on Smallville, Clark's a hero when he's helping other people, but his parents still mostly treat him like a teenage boy and not a superhero.
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