Station - HBO - We need the freedom of nudity + swearing to best tell the story.
Setting - This is a contemporary social commentary on modern day America, using one 'family' as the showcase. We could start it in the mid 2000s to encapsulate the finale of the pre-depression good times into the uncertainty of depression 2.0. Location is a Midwest metropolis that experiences all four seasons, large university in the city itself, plentiful suburbs and even more numerous small towns for odd story lines in episodes, and a diverse mix of people but low Hispanic numbers. This is the anti-Hollywood series as the show will NOT be set in NYC or Southern California. I'd use Chicago or Columbus. A problem is that Chicago's crime issue is a bit too big city non-utopian.
Opening - Mid-20th century American home shot with trees swaying, leaves falling down sound of wind only, no people in the shot, and the white lettering slowly fades in "Midwestopia".
Main Characters - "The Family"
First 3 are Core 3 that most episodes contain 2 specific story arcs focused on them.
1. Primary Lead - Female going to college who figures out she's gay in college - She arrives in Midwestopia as family moves there for this period of time, and her long story arc is the bildungsroman for this show. Her character is the man commentary on the youth culture, college culture from female POV, modern American women under 25, social media, 24-7 connections, and gay culture.
2. Lead - Male entering peak power years - Cousin of lead female. In Midwestopia slightly before lead, but new to area (series premiere explains it). Commentary on modern marriage, modern view of American men, the man-child vs. old school war amongst men, corporate America, straight women being hypergamous, and fatherhood.
3. Lead - Male exiting peak power years - Father of lead female, uncle to male lead. Commentary on aging boomers, obesity epidemic, retiring in modern life, addiction culture, rehab culture, the difference in men between generations, the Boomer - Gen Y gap, aging patriarch, military background.
4. Older male sibling of lead female - Male 2 yrs older than female lead. He's in US before her. Commentary on modern young men, college culture from male POV, changing relationships and roles of young men, bromances, manchild idea, hook up culture, chaos of dating world, loose straight female sexual norms, rejection of standard American male life path. Many ancillary oddball characters linked through his storylines.
5. Wife of young male lead - Part time worker, mostly stay at home mom. Explore flip side of modern working moms, the mommy wars, female identity in modern America, artist life, modern parenting, modern medicine with regards to pregnancy and child rearing. Ancillary characters connected to her reflect the odd circumstances of modern marriage, 30-something attractive spinsters, the rise of fat women demanding good husbands.
6. Wife of older male lead - Matriarch of family. Emotionally stable member of family unit. Glue of show.
Secondary members of "The Family" who have decent screen time.
7. Lifelong friend of older male sibling - Exploration of similar manchild and modern masculinity issues from a different POV than older male sibling character. A more traditional take on the lifepath. Non-college lifepath for Gen Y. Need to show the limited econ opportunities for young men w/o college degree.
8. Female friend of siblings - Stable foil to female lead. Her primary story arc is finding actual love amongst the chaotic world of dating that all other young characters inhabit. Her relationship will be the stable relationship of the young crowd.
All other characters are ancillary characters who may appear to spice up an episode or a few episodes in an arc, but they are not part of family.
Season 1 - Young marriage faces tests of what it means to be spouse as well as outside temptation but survives, entry into college life, assault, and re-entry at school of sibling for positive change, retirement of lead from regular job + adjustment to the marriage. Background is financial crisis, election 2008 Obama hopes, and then reality + job losses.
Season 2 - Pregnancy, alcohol problem/arrests which leads to full on rehab, combined with drug exploration, current youth culture + sexuality awareness season. Female lead switches schools at end, young lead finds out it's a boy, older male lead enters inpatient rehab. Soaring college costs, HCR passes, tea party rises, 2010 election.
Season 3 - This is the new baby season combined with the coming out + sober living season. Leads travel to homeland elsewhere in the country but realize how great it is to be in Midwestopia. Ends with baby walking, older male lead finding new employment and big break up of lesbian relationship. Disappointment in Obama, foreclosures, extended unemployment.
Season 4 - The chaos of young dating life for both young leads contrasted with stable young relationship, parenting + corporate issues for male lead, push-pull of parents adjusting to children growing into adults for older male lead. Election 2012, gay issues, no one paying attention to 100K troops in Afganistan.
Season 5 - Marry off young female friend, young male friend figures out career, older male sibling leaves area, older male lead accepts old man role, younger male lead gets new job/welcomes 2nd kid, and young primary female lead finds real love and accepts her self.