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What are TV Series Bibles and Where Can You Find Them?

When it comes to TV, there are two types of bibles - one that you use to sell a show and one you use to keep track of a show.

One of the more famous bibles floating around the internet. Link below.

I'm going to explain the differences and where you can see some of the best TV show bibles ever made.

First of all, what is a TV series bible?

No matter what it's being used for, a TV series bible tells you all about a TV show.

But there is one that writers who are pitching use to sell their TV show, and there is another writers of shows that are ongoing use to keep track of their storylines and mythology.

Pitching Bibles

If you've Googled TV show bibles before, these are the ones you've likely seen. They are basically marketing materials.

When a show is pitched to a network or streamer, writers usually develop a slide deck and a 15-30 minute verbal presentation to explain to the executives what the show is about.

But since all the details of a show are hard to keep track of, and hard to synthesize in a quick presentation, a bible is often created.

This is a document that gets sent after the pitch or is sometimes paid for by the studio or production company.

It's a much more comprehensive detailing of the story, the characters, the season arcs, the tone and the world of the show.

This is used so the executives can sell the show to a network/streamer (if they're a studio or production company) or to sell it up to their bosses.

And these are very different from...

Story Bibles

When shows have been going forever, like Law & Order, or have a deep mythology, like Game of Thrones, one of the jobs of the script coordinator on the show is often to keep a bible.

This is a collection of all the mythology, stories, characters and plot lines that have taken place so far.

Because having over 20 or 30 seasons, or having an intense backstory to every character, can be overwhelming, these bibles serve as a quick reference for the writers to make sure they're keeping in line with their show's lore, or not treading on old story territory.

Do I need a bible for my TV show?

Probably not. If you're just starting out, writers, execs, and reps are just going to want to see a pilot script from you.

If you're starting to get meetings and are in the position to pitch something, then the answer becomes a "maybe."

However, usually you can send something much less extensive and get a pitch meeting with the company.

It's always better to tell them about your show face to face. A bible they have to read and everybody hates to read.

Where can I see an example of a TV series bible?

There are a few bibles that were used primarily for pitching sprinkled across the internet.

I've compiled a few of them here:

The Wire Bible: This bible is impressive and incredibly extensive. And, even though I believe it was used to sell the series, it's also a nearly beat for beat outline of the entire first season, with dialogue and episode synopses and all. While impressive to look at, this is nothing like what you would really need to pitch your TV show.

True Detective Bible: This is a much shorter (about 70 pages shorter) version of The Wire bible. It gives episode summaries and a whole arc for the first season. However, you can see the language is more formulated toward a marketing perspective, describing the style of the show and its potential.

Stranger Things Bible: The most market-y of them all, this is a truly impressive presentation of what the show intends to be. (Don't get confused when you open the file -- the original name of the show was 'Montauk.')

New Girl Bible: Interesting for just how conversational it is. Compared to the Stranger Things bible, this is incredibly stripped down.

Lost Bible: Really fun persuasive language here. Clearly trying to sell the show, but also it takes you on a roller coaster through the story.

Image Sources: Wiki, BeataDominiak


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I'm Anton, a TV writer and author of Breaking Into TV Writing, a book about the business of TV writing and how to get your foot in the door.


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