The showrunners behind popular series like 9-1-1 deserve a lot of credit for keeping the momentum of their shows going. With the premise focusing on emergency response teams, it’s easy for the episodes to fall into a repetitive loop, as there are only so many creative spins you can put on a fire or flood before it just becomes too outlandish. In order to keep the show fresh yet still realistic, the crew behind the cameras have to walk a fine line with their writing and direction choices. And this doesn’t even account for the new challenges that the pandemic has posed on the industry.
In regards to keeping both 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star alive, showrunner Tim Minear shared what he felt were the reasons behind the series’ success.
“I will say the thing that both shows, I think, do the best is reunite people,” Minear explained in an interview with Decider. “The best example would be the tsunami. Poor Christopher is out there with Buck, and nobody knows they’re out there. And then everybody is separated because they’re all doing different things. And then Christopher gets separated from Buck, but it all builds to reuniting the characters.”
Minear Has to Keep Throwing Obstacles at the Characters
The 9-1-1 showrunner also added that will “pull things apart” just to put them back together over time. This helps keep the storyline fresh while also exploring new avenues for the characters and their purposes.
Unfortunately, this often means that our favorite characters have to undergo a lot of emotional and physical trauma. But if the 9-1-1 characters were just happy and stagnant, there wouldn’t be a show at all.
“So I’m going to constantly be throwing grenades into their world,” Minear continued. “It’s funny because the fans who love the show — you see a lot of tweets like ‘Why do you have to keep hurting our characters?’ Like, you do understand that what you are lobbying for is to have your favorite character not be on screen. Because as soon as the story is ‘Pass the salt, this was a delicious dinner you prepared,’ that’s not a story I can write.”
‘9-1-1’ Showrunner Isn’t Afraid of Failure
While the 9-1-1 series have been extremely popular, Minear admitted that he has had some failures with past shows. As the seasons rack up, it gets harder to keep the show going.
“And it’s always a challenge when you have a long-running show, as I’ve discovered,” he explained. “My Twitter handle is @CancelledAgain, and was before ‘cancelled’ was even a thing, because of my prodigious failures, and there have been many.”
In the end, though, Minear seems to hold fast to his theory about adding new elements to characters’ storylines.
“But it’s always tricky to keep the same feeling like you’re not just on a hamster wheel,” he stated. “You want to find ways to expand a character story and find different things for them to do.”