Television has dawned on a Golden Age. Within the last two decades, TV has produced shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones. These four examples have demonstrated the pinnacle of great dramatic tension, writing, and storytelling.

However, while these shows stand out, many shows fall into a pattern that they become weighed down by. The show may continue to evolve in terms of story direction, but the path to that evolution remains stale and unimaginative.

On show in particular with such a formula is USA’s 'Suits'

For those unfamiliar with the premise, the show follows lawyer Harvey Specter and college drop-out Mike Ross who practices law without having obtained a degree.

The issue is the show follows the same formula, week after week. Each episode begins where everything is normal. Then a problem arises, and Harvey gets pissed. He yells at Mike, who provides a solution and they then go to another office building, act cocky and show them a folder with documents. Those people, in turn, show their folder with their documents showing Mike and Harvey's confidence was premature.

They get back to their law firm, where Harvey again gets pissed. Mike presents another solution. They return to the office building, with a new folder filled with new, better documents, and they end up being right. All is good in their world, and then a cliffhanger ends the episode. The details change, and the combination isn’t always Harvey and Mike (as the example provided shows Louis Litt), but this is essentially the flow of each episode.

That makes each episode predictable

The suspense of “will they make it or won’t they” is void when considering the formula gives you that answer and tells you by which point in the episode it will happen.

The Walking Dead on AMC follows a similar problem

Most of the episodes are just characters reciting a monologue about how “Things aren’t like how they were,” with the real action happening at the mid-season and season finale.

Additionally, you begin to develop an understanding of when a character will die or not. If a character is new in an episode, and they receive an excessive amount of dialogue or backstory, they die in that episode.

With this season formula, you begin to know which episodes are the important ones, and which ones you can skip without affecting anything.

These shows are enjoyable, but there lacks creativity when these formulas begin to dictate the path a show follows. Instead of letting the show to develop and change based on a story direction, they are held down by adhering to a guideline of sorts.

The four examples of great television provided have story engines just like these examples do

In The Sopranos, Tony tries to balance mob life with family life. That’s the engine. But each episode does not follow the same guideline. Instead, each episode focuses on the story that the writers wanted to explore.

Don Draper is trying to achieve success, believing happiness is a synonym for it, and yet he never truly becomes happy despite his increased success.

That’s Mad Men’s engine. And again, the show focused on different areas on different episodes and evolved dependent of a formula.

All writing has point A to point B

Until recently, Game of Thrones was an excellent example of this. However, with the recent season, the show has reached a standstill. Season Seven saw no real progression. Each episode was relaying what was already known to the audience, delaying forward movement to the show's conclusion. Look back at Season Seven; nothing truly happened other than the various characters finally meeting and the revelation of the White Walkers to Cersei. That one sentence just summed up the entire 7 episode span of last season.

Formalized television hurts a shows creativity.

Most people would say the way to create something inventive and creative, you need to understand the rules and then break them. Formulas are the rules that, while they need to be in place to some degree, eventually burden the product. It creates boring TV, to put it simply. People love Pulp Fiction for how it gets from A to B in a unique, non-linear approach. It’s not held down by formula or pattern, and that’s what allows for the story to shine. Television should also possess the same freedom to evolve from A to B.