Learn & Become A Better Screenwriter
The main way that goals work in television episodes and ensemble features is that each of these mediums have multiple storylines, with a specific Protagonist and Goal for each storyline.
Each episode of television (whether hour or half hour) usually has a minimum of three storylines. No matter who your Protagonist is for each storyline, there is usually a Goal they pursue, and this Goal will be achieved or lost by the end of the episode.
Any episode of CSI has different characters trying to solve different crimes – they pursue different but specific goals which are resolved by the end of each episode (they solve each crime).
Similarly, Ensemble Features have multiple storylines with multiple Protagonists who each will have their own goal.
The fantasy adventure The Princess Bride has 5 primary storylines, each with a Protagonist who pursues a Goal:
A Note on Television Goals
One distinction for goals in television series is that there can be (and usually is) a difference between goals a character will have for an entire season versus a goal they will have for a specific episode or storyline.
For example: In Season 1 of Game of Thrones, Ned Stark’s goal is to protect his family from their enemies, Viserys Targaryen’s goal is to secure a future for her and her brother by succeeding in her marriage to Khal Drogo, and Jon Snow’s goal is to survive the dangers beyond the wall. But in each episode of the season, those characters have a more specific goal they pursue for their respective storylines of that episode.