Taking a brief break (only 22 more pages to go....):
What I have in mind is kind of a synthesis of the two approaches to
storytelling in TV. Each episode is crafted such that it can stand on
its own. But the totality of each episode adds up over time into a story
arc of its own.
The best way to think of it, I've found, is the novel comparison.
Each year of the series (should this last that long) is one "chapter" in
the story. (The 2-hour movie is basically a prologue.) As a novel
writer, I know that major plot changes must take place at the end of
each chapter. And that's how the series will be structured.
For instance, and let me state unequivocally that THIS IS NOT GOING
TO BE USED, BOYS AND GIRLS, THIS IS FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ***ONLY***,
Year/Chapter One grounds us in the series and characters with minimal
changes, but we begin layering in aspects of certain mysteries that we
want to develop further. Year/Chapter Two takes that assumption and turns
it around as we suddenly discover that, say, two governments we THOUGHT
were deadly enemies are in fact allies, and suddenly everything's up for
grabs. Year/Chapter Three ups the ante with the threat of, or possibly
the reality of war...and the death of one major character. By now, one
character we thought was a minor character has suddenly become a MAJOR
character...and the Major Character from before is undergoing significant
changes a la Joseph Campbell. And so on. That's the *kind* of thing you
can do with a show that presents individual stories but which evolves
over time into something unusual.
And, of course, there's all that swooshing to deal with....