“When people across the US suddenly start descending into unexplained comas as the hit their 35th birthday, a pro-vaccine doctor and his 34 year old daughter discover a link to a preservative added to vaccine shots 40 years ago and begin to push the most powerful pharmaceutical company in the world for answers.” (1 Hour TV Drama) Updated Version.
I feel like there will most definitely be a shorter way of saying this. I think there’s a few bits that are over-explained a little and we can probably trim them down a bit.
From a story perspective, surely the vaccinations weren’t just all made 40 years ago. They’d be produced daily. So what’s actually happening that will cause people, say someone who had the vaccine 5 years ago and another 30 years ago, to both potentially be at risk? This has to be believable whilst not necessarily accurate. It may work better if there’s a dormant enzyme (I’m not a scientist so bear with me) that only activates when it’s been in the human body for a prolonged period of time. It affects some people quicker than others but there is still a period that it is “safe” for. Now stick his daughter just coming to end of that “safe” period and you’re upping the tension and giving us a ticking clock. In addition to this, make it more extreme than just blacking out. Make it something that is potentially life-threatening (I get that blackouts could be if they’re driving or whatever but still). Make it something like slipping into a coma or go into a vegetative state. Something that is curable but requires hospitalisation. This then adds pressure to the health care industry and adds another story strand – there’d be a lot of people under 40 there – but also provides a perfect set up for why this disgraced doctor would be allowed back in. They need the staff.
Anyway… back to the logline.
Inciting incident – there are two currently: people blacking out and his discovery. I think that with a few tweaks you could make this one whilst still suggesting everything you have so far. The I.I. should be the blackouts as this sets up his goal. The discovery is part of his journey towards the goal.
“once famous now discredited doctor” – 5 words. I get that you want to suggest some sort of redemption arc with him but I wonder if just saying something like “disgraced doctor” would suffice for a logline. The fact that his daughter is affected is interesting and adds a personal angle but I almost feel like that’s the B story – his internal arc is redemption, that’s his primary internal goal. I could go either way on this but based on how you’ve framed the rest of it I’d say remove that for now.
Goal – find the truth. That works.
Ok, so let’s trim it down.
“When people across the US begin slipping into vegetative states after their 35th birthday, a disgraced immunologist and his 34 year old daughter go on a quest for answers that leads them to the most powerful pharmaceutical company in the world.”
Sure there’s still issues with the above but hope this helps.