I was casting about for TV series ideas a couple of days ago. Your basic episodic drama series is (a) a family, whether of kin or of choice, who live or work at (b) a venue where (c) stories walk in the door every week. That's why you see so many hospital shows, legal shows and cop shows. We've also seen a radio station, a funeral parlor, a saloon in Deadwood, two adjacent apartments, a TV station, and so on.
Obviously there are TV shows that aren't set at a single venue, but they're more expensive to shoot, and it's harder to keep your family together. There are also TV shows where the characters aren't in a family (Six Degrees, Heroes) but it's harder to keep the stories interwoven.
So, I thought, peacekeepers. Blue Helmets. And I wrote my agent:
PEACEKEEPERS... the story of a squad of Canadian soldiers in an unidentified African country. Based near a big town, they're trying to protect European and Canadian aid workers, and keep heavily armed local factions from killing each other and brutalizing the people. But our guys are not allowed to call in air strikes and blow things up. They have to use money, words and their own humanity to bring peace and order to a place where not everyone wants peace and order. They carry just enough weaponry to protect themselves -- and sometimes it's not enough. They're caught in the middle between the weak and the strong, the honest and the corrupt, local Muslims and local Christians, the West and the East, the past and the future. They're trying to understand the local people enough to help them -- without understanding them so much they forget what they stand for. One of our guys is there for idealism, one for honor, one to escape his past, one to escape his small town, one for the thrills; and all of them, men and women, are there for the brotherhood...
Unlike every American series about soldiers, this is one in which the solution to every problem isn't killing someone -- in fact that's the solution our guys are mostly forbidden to use. Which makes our guys' job all the much harder. Yet they're out there doing it in a dozen countries right now.
This wouldn't be about how they fail. It would be about how in spite of the odds -- in spite of the fact that they can't shoot -- they actually do mostly succeed at keeping peace in the town, mostly because people recognize that they're not there for gain and they won't be there forever.
I was getting pretty exciting about writing this up, but first I checked with my agent. Amy wrote
Unfortunately there is a one hour drama called Peacekeepers that just got greenlit at CBC. Mario Azzopardi is directing, Paul Gross to star.
And that is why you want an agent.
I'm disappointed about being scooped, of course, but at least it means I was on the right track.
UPDATE: I now realize I could have read DMc
more carefully, and I would already have known this, but I wasn't looking for a peacekeepers show back in June, was I?