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Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

The Affair – Pilot

By March 3, 2015April 5th, 2020No Comments


This gem of a series seemed to fall under the radar early on. No fault of Showtime or the series creators—the cable TV landscape is, shall we say in no uncertain terms, incredible. Add this one to your list as a superlative example of how to infuse a compelling structure into a very straightforward dramatic series. Not-so-much-of-a-spoiler alert: two married people have an affair, and things eventually go bad. 

Note that the writing itself in the pilot script, based on by-the-book fundamentals, could be better. In theory. But then you get deeper with dialogue and character, and suddenly it becomes clear why Sarah Treem (plus whoever else had their hand in penning the series) may be one of the best TV writers out there. You could write a dissertation on how well the series is structured, how it keeps us guessing without falling into the trap of blatant on-the-nose plotting. The Affair draws a fine line between ambiguity and full transparency, as evidenced by the first episode, and lingers in your head well after the season finale.

And it’s steamy. Like, “maybe I’ll go to Montauk for the summer” steamy. Ruth Wilson / Dominic Wilson fans, clear your schedule.

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