Act Comparison

The act comparison is complicated because of the various act differences.

It is true what they say that not all points hit the exact spot, but the points are still there somewhere in the story.

I have compiled the most accurate comparison for a five act structure and will break it down for both types of pilot.

Title Acts
The Flash 6 Acts
Breaking Bad 1 Teaser + 4 Acts
The Sopranos Unknown
Fargo 6 Acts
Suits 5 Acts



Act 1: The Introduction

We are introduced to Barry Allen, a highly skilled CSI, with the flaw of always being late.

We are introduced to Mike Ross, a highly intelligent stoner, who was kicked out of college.

Act 2: Meet The New Team + Start of Secret

Barry meets the Star Labs team consisting of Harrison Wells, Cisco Ramon and Caitlyn Snow.
Barry and the Star Labs team are the only ones who know about Barry’s Super Speed.

Mike is introduced to Harvey Specter and Donna.
Mike, Harvey and Donna are the only ones aware of Mike’s gifted mind and lack of law degree.

Act 3 + 4: First Test and Failure

Mike is assigned a case and he begins to learn the ins and outs of being a Lawyer.
Mike fails with a witness and the case blows up in his face.

Barry begins to learn how to use his speed with the help of Star Labs. He begins to learn the ins and outs of his powers.
Barry fails to save someone’s life and his new team abandons him in his quest to be a hero.

Act 5 + 6: Victory and Resolution

Mike gets advice from Harvey and an encouraging speech from his Grandma and decides to stick with it.
Harvey saves the case, but let’s Mike do the honors of winning it.
Mike gets to feel what it’s like to be a lawyer.
Mike and Harvey prepare for their next case.

Barry gets an inspiring speech from the Green Arrow and decides to rally his new team. Barry saves the day and defeats Weather Wizard.
Barry gets to feel what it’s like to be a superhero.
Barry and the team prepare to take on the next villain.


Teaser: Mid-Scenario

Breaking Bad is the only pilot of the three to have a teaser. It gives a glimpse of what to expect, and  is a perfect example of what a Teaser should be.

Act 1: The Introduction + Normal Life

We are introduced to the Chemistry teacher/ Car Wash Cashier Walter White. His life is boring, his family needs money and he has regrets about his past decisions.

We are introduced to Insurance Salesman Lester Nygaard. He is a loser who is still bullied and not respected by anyone including his own wife.

We are introduced to Mob Boss Tony Soprano. He has several problems to deal with in all facets of his life, including recent health problems that cause him to pass out and force him to see a psychiatrist.

Act 2: Significant Event Occurs + Secret Starts

Walt is diagnosed with terminal Cancer, which he decides to keep from his wife.

Lester is beat up a bully and then accidentally orders a hit on him.

Tony passes out at a family barbecue and then keeps his personal problems to himself.

Interesting note: All three protagonists are rendered unconscious before the Significant Event occurs:

Walt passes out at the car wash.
Lester accidentally knocks himself out by running into a window.
Tony passes out at the family barbecue.

Act 3 + 4:

Forced to Confront the Problem
Find’s a partner in crime.
Tries and Fails with Normal Solution
Drastic Measures Taken

Walt now has a goal to make money for his family regardless of the consequences.
Walt contemplates his newfound diagnosis and then decides to see live Meth Cook Set up.
Walt forces Jesse, a former student and current meth cook, to help him cook.
Walt decides to cook meth.

Lester now knows he is responsible for the death of his bully and finally has someone that shows him some respect in Malvo.
Lester tries being a man by fixing his washer.
Lester kills his wife.
Lester calls Malvo for help after he kills his wife.

Tony starts delegating tasks out to his men and only takes care of personal matters involving his family and friends.
Tony tries to get Artie out of town with a free Caribbean Cruise.
Tony has his associates Chris, Big Pussy, Herman and Silvio deal with various problems.
Tony decides to blow up his friends restaurant.

Act 5: Dealing with Consequences/ Overall Content

Walt now has to deal with the death of the drug dealers and almost being killed himself.
Walt likes the new excitement in his life and shows a new side of himself to his wife in bed.

Lester now has to deal with the death of three people, all linked to him.
Lester is happy and proud that he got away with murder.

Tony now has to deal with the fact that he blew up his friend’s restaurant to save him the trouble of having a murder take place in it.
Tony is happy that his friend at least got insurance money and all his other problems have been taken care of by his associates.