TV shows come and go. Some do a healthy number of seasons. Some are axed after just a couple of years. But there are very, very few shows lucky enough to last beyond ten seasons. The CW network’s Supernatural is one of them.
What would it be like if you were immortal? The TV show Forever, currently showing on Colors Infinity, tries to answer this impossible question in a riveting drama set in New York.
Television journalist Ravish Kumar’s personal journey in the city finds an echo in his collection of vividly told very short stories, writes Poonam Saxena.
The Borgias is set in 16th century Renaissance Italy and tells the story of the Borgia clan while Rome has well known characters like Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra but essentially is the story of two Roman soldiers.
I recently finished seeing Wayward Pines, the 10-episode TV series he produced (he also directed the pilot), and I was hooked.
This is a strange, surreal show that sucks you into its icy-white unsettling world. And now that you've watched the finale (shown on Colors Infinity on the weekend), you know that the Bad Guys have been finally overpowered by the Good Guys (more of that later).
Let’s start this week with one of my favourite shows, currently showing on Comedy Central: Suits, a legal drama set in New York.
A new book on Baburao Patel and his wife Sushila Rani who edited the influential magazine Filmindia provides interesting insights into the early years of Hindi cinema and film journalism.
Because moving from one language to another is challenging, it requires not just translating words but an entire culture
Adapting Hamlet to the conflict-torn Kashmir of 1995 was an intense, painful process for Basharat Peer, author of compelling memoir set in Kashmir, Curfewed Night. He talks about the pressures of scriptwriting and whether it was worth it.
Naseeruddin Shah's soon-to-be-released autobiography, And Then One Day, is elegantly written and also brutally honest. In an interview with Brunch, he talks of his years in Ajmer to his tryst with cinema.
It's been 30 years since Hum Log, India's first TV soap, mesmerised audiences. Hindustan Times speaks to some members of the cast to find where life's taken them in these years since the TV show.
An interview with Michael Jackson's bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard who have written a moving account of the pop star's final days. They talk at great length about the 'lonely', 'protective' and 'misunderstood' music legend.
As Satyamev Jayate returns with a second season, the questions remain: what's it doing on a Hindi general entertainment channel? Also, will the show have as much of an impact in its second season, asks Poonam Saxena.
Time is an odd thing. Five minutes can seem like an eternity and years can fly, like the landscape from the window of a very fast train.
Arnab Mitra’s debut novel, set in a post-liberalised India, features characters who may be shaped by their past but whose lives are profoundly impacted by the sweeping economic reforms of the early Nineties.
One of the seriously lamentable fallouts of the satellite TV explosion has been the death of a certain kind of programming. The chances of seeing a show on classical dance or music on any of the private entertainment channels is zero. The chances of seeing Indian films – in languages other than Hindi – is zero.
There are few things more addictive in the world than well-made, absorbing TV shows. And while they might be in somewhat short supply on our Hindi entertainment channels, there’s no such deficiency on the English channels.
As Supernatural returns with a new season, lead actors Jensen and Jared talk about the cult show and its fandom
So Bigg Boss is into Season 7 now. That means it’s our seventh year of watching a bunch of minor celebrities and nobodies stuck in a house for weeks on end with nothing to do but quarrel with each other and execute weird tasks ordained by the mythical ‘Bigg Boss’.
After watching the first few episodes of Mahabharata, I must confess to feelings of disappointment. The scale of the Mahabharata is grand and overwhelming, the characters are larger than life, highly dramatic events take place in the epic, but, at the same time, it is a nuanced look at human beings and their frailties.
I guess there are viewers who enjoy seeing small children in reality shows. Little boys and girls, some as young as eight years old, dance, sing and cook in front of judges.
After 25 years, Govind Nihalani’s remarkable TV series Tamas is back on air on the History channel.
Sometimes, in the middle of mint-new shows, it’s nice to catch up on old favourites. And if you haven’t seen them, this is the time to do so. I’m talking in particular about The X Files (FX) and The Practice (Fox Crime).
Are serial killers the saas-bahus of American TV? I mean, there are so many shows with serial killers, the latter seem to be the dominant motif of American television — just the way saas-bahus are for us. (There couldn’t be two more dissimilar themes, so what does that say about TV viewers of the two countries?)
It’s the season of re-runs. Buniyaad, India’s first big family serial in colour (Hum Log was in black and white), returned to Doordarshan this week, 27 years after it was made.
The celebrated, award-winning American TV show, Breaking Bad, finally makes its appearance on Indian TV after a five-year wait.
The other day while watching an episode of Suits Season 2 on Comedy Central (more about the show in a bit), this is what I saw. A character makes a reference to Herman Melville’s book, Moby Dick. The word ‘Dick’ is beeped out. Poonam Saxena writes.
It’s a typical American high school teen show — but less annoying than others of the kind even though it has all the usual clichés. Poonam Saxena writes.
The latest historical serial to hit the screen in your home is Jodha Akbar (Zee). Ashutosh Gowariker’s dazzling film of the same name hasn’t receded that far in our memory that we’ve forgotten everything in it. Poonam Saxena writes.
Recently, there was a major announcement: Amitabh Bachchan is going to play the lead role in a fiction series on Sony (with a finite number of episodes) and Anurag Kashyap will be the creative director. Poonam Saxena writes.
Three big-ticket talent reality shows opened last weekend: Jhalak Dikhla Jaa (Colors), Indian Idol Junior (Sony) and Dance India Dance Super Moms (Zee).
The number of things that 'offend' people these days is mind-boggling. And TV is a prime target. The amount of censoring on TV channels — particularly English general entertainment and movie channels — borders on the crazy. Poonam Saxena writes.
You may be getting a full dose of chef Gordon Ramsay on MasterChef USA, but if you still want more of him, there’s another programme you can watch. Poonam Saxena reports.
In India, it’s always been the Australian MasterChef that’s been the big hit, with its trio of celebrity judges, particularly Matt Preston.
The hunt for reality show judges sometimes leads to interesting discoveries. Such as the fact that actor Riteish Deshmukh can do a mean imitation of Sanjeev Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha. Poonam Saxena writes.
For someone who watches TV incessantly because it’s part of the job, I can say, without any hesitation, that Hindi entertainment channels can often be injurious to your health.
It’s 10pm on a sultry Mumbai night. But Floor One in Film City – where TV show 24 is being shot – has just woken up to a gruelling 12-hour shift. Hindi TV entertainment is going to see sweeping changes over the next few years.
At the risk of repetition, let me say once again that it's nice when foreign shows debut here at almost the same time as they do abroad. Recently, the dark and disturbing Hannibal began on AXN one day after its international premiere. Poonam Saxena writes.
I am a devoted Bollywood fan, but even for viewers who aren’t, Bollywood@100 is a great series. There are episodes on landmark films: Mughal-e-Azam, Mother India, Pyaasa, Aradhana, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Film clips and stills, extensive interviews and good research are sewn together to make a complete package. Poonam Saxena writes.
If your taste runs to the graphic and the gory, AXN’s new show, Hannibal, is worth a watch. Yes, this is the same sinister cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, who we know from author Thomas Harris’s bestselling novels. Poonam Saxena writes.
From cleaning the floor at McDonald’s to ruling the smallscreen as its favourite bahu, to newly-appointed vice president of the BJP, Poonam Saxena traces Smriti Irani’s journey so far.
So the Indian Premier League has begun. We’re in for weeks and weeks of watching cheerleaders dancing, glamorous anchors being, well, glamorous, and studio discussions with many Paajis (at least two: there’s Sherry Paaji and Kapil Paaji). And oh yes, there’s the cricket too, writes Poonam Saxena.
By now, we know that if we throw a dart at a Hindi serial, it will, in all likelihood, hit either a Bad Saas or a Good Bahu. Which is why I am very wary of accepting the premise of the two new serials that have begun on Sony. Poonam Saxena writes.
With hundreds of TV channels a click away, it's tough to figure out what to watch. I'm not likely to trip over myself to catch Gyan Darshan, but even so, there's a fair bit of choice, especially when a clutch of new shows launch simultaneously on different channels. Poonam Saxena writes.
Is it about food? Is it about individual stories? Or is it about crying? Auditions for Masterchef Kitchen Ke Superstars (Star Plus) have just begun and we've already been subjected to more weeping than even our saas-bahu soaps can come up with.
Take the basic Mills & Boon model (sparks fly between arrogant hero and willful heroine), transplant it into a desi situation, add dollops of humour and you have the trademark Anuja Chauhan rom-com-in-print.
Hindi TV soaps can be injurious to your health. They can induce hangovers, even though there’s no alcohol involved (did that saas really go ballistic because her bahu wanted to study? Study = unpardonable crime? Er...)
Everyone getting withdrawal symptoms after the, well, withdrawal of Grey’s Anatomy from Star World will have to continue minus their daily fix of Seattle’s scalpel-happy doctors with their tempestuous love lives and hair-raising surgical cases. writes Poonam Saxena.
If I never hear the words "sapnon ka rajkumar" again in my life, it will not be a day too soon. In the year 2012, the phrase doesn't sound romantic, it just sounds idiotic. Yet all our Hindi serial heroines keep intoning "mere sapnon ka rajkumar"/"prince charming" as if it was some kind of magic mantra. Poonam Saxena writes.
The irony of Charlie Sheen acting in a sitcom called Anger Management can't be lost on anyone who's even vaguely followed the volatile (to put it mildly: it's like calling a teeth-baring cat a cute little kitten) actor's career. Poonam Saxena writes.
Wealthy playboy by day, enigmatic vigilante by night: can anyone go wrong with a tried-and-tested template like that? Unlikely. And Arrow doesn't disappoint either. Poonam Saxena writes.
It’s strange. We have every variety of tearful domestic drama on our mainstream Hindi entertainment channels but practically nothing in the sitcom genre. Poonam Saxena writes.
Whenever I hear the words 'Doordarshan serials,' I can only think of DD's golden years in the Eighties, when it telecast shows such as Hum Log, Buniyaad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Circus, Fauji etc. Poonam Saxena writes.
I know, all publications claim they love their readers and I’m sure they do. But we really really do. For us, our readers are part of the big happy extended Brunch family.
If I were told I could use two and only two words to describe most Hindi TV soaps and serials, I would go for "slow" and "repetitive." Seriously, what could be slower than the pace of a daily soap? Poonam Saxena writes.
Poonam Saxena writes.
A few international shows do come to our TV screens at the same time as they open abroad, but mostly we end up seeing them a couple of seasons (or more) later. Poonam Saxena writes.
At Brunch, we always strive to bring cheer and enjoyment to your Sunday mornings. But some weekends are meant for anger and pain. Like the weekend of December 22-23, when enraged Delhi youngsters braved water cannons, lathis and tear gas... Poonam Saxena writes.
Nach Baliye kicked off its fifth season with a glamorous, crowd-pleasing episode that fetched the channel excellent ratings, writes Poonam Saxena.
As the year comes to an end, I wish I could say that I'm in a cheery, festive mood, happy to do look back at what happened on TV in 2012 and at what we'd like to see in 2013. Poonam Saxena writes.
This column stopped reviewing news channels a long time back. Neither am I an ardent fan of news channels. But there are occasions when I am thankful that they're there, warts and all. The horrific Delhi gang rape is a case in point.
For a TV channel, the advantage of making a big noise when launching a new show is that at least your viewers will bother to tune in - if only to see what the fuss is about. Poonam Saxena writes.
Why do we take advice from celebrities? Well, since they’re so successful, we assume they must have cracked it. And they have – certainly better than you and me. In this issue, we’ve got some great advice from a...
In a sea of TV content that consists largely of overdressed women, palatial homes and family themes, Shaitan (like the pioneering Crime Patrol) is disturbingly different, writes Poonam Saxena.
Recently, Star Plus ran a curious message onscreen during the telecast of primetime show, Iss Pyar Ko Kya Naam Doon (IPKKND). Poonam Saxena writes.
Dark heroes, heroines on dangerous journeys to discover their roots, love stories that begin with hate: these are some of the themes in two new serials: Mujhse Kuchch Kehti… Yeh Khamoshiyan on Star Plus and Junoon - Aisi Nafrat Toh Kaisa Ishq on Life OK. If that sounds more exciting than it actually is, I plead guilty.
Full rant alert. Please don't say I didn't warn you. Last week, I wrote about how I, along with many other viewers, enjoy watching international fiction shows. Poonam Saxena writes.
Sometimes, you simply can't identify with the characters in foreign shows; they seem so self obsessed and neurotic. Poonam Saxena writes.
Finally someone’s seen the light. Finally someone’s bitten the bullet. Life OK’s new talent show, Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz, has no eliminations, no winners, no competition, and as the ‘cool gurus’ of the show (actress Sonali Bendre and choreographer Terence Lewis) say, “No crying and weeping please. Just enjoy!”
Four reasons why Supernatural is the horror show to watch on TV (except that it’s not really a horror show)
For TV audiences, television ratings are the stuff of deep mystery. How exactly are they calculated, what’s the sample size of people whose viewing preferences are tracked – most of us don’t really know. Poonam Saxena writes.
This is a rhetorical question I have asked before too: how many people are interested in seeing a bunch of people lounging around a house aimlessly, squabbling and bickering with each other? Poonam Saxena writes.
The biggest surprise in the latest edition of Zee’s music show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is the presence of Indian Ocean’s lead singer Rahul Ram as one of the judges (mentors?).
This time Colors has cracked it. With dance competition Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and India's Got Talent, they have finally figured out how to convert reality shows into full-on entertainment fests (about time someone did it). Poonam Saxena writes.
In Bade Achche Lagte Hain, our grumpy and endearing Mr Kapoor has just seen his wife Priya – who he thought was dead – pop up in front of him at a party. He stares at her incredulously, she stares back at him in shock and guilt.
Is there anything left to say about KBC (if you still don't know what the acronym stands for, well then, tough luck – and by the way, your GK levels will not get you even a few thousands on the show)? Or about Amitabh Bachchan on KBC? Poonam Saxena reports.
Many of my colleagues are puzzled as to why Star World is showing the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy all over again, right from Season 1, considering (a) Season 8 of the show is already on air on Z Café and (b) Season 9 spoilers are all over the Net. Poonam Saxena writes.
It was what you would expect the opening of Indian television’s most enduring property to be like: a stirring, fast-paced, no-fuss episode, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan in his by now iconic turn as quizmaster.
Anyone who doesn't love a big, blingy, multi-tiered wedding (with at least seven events - shagun, sagai, tilak, mehndi, sangeet, pheras, bidaai - have I forgotten anything?), please raise your hand. Or hold your peace forever. Poonam Saxena writes.
Getting ready to watch a new show is like preparing to open a gift – and hoping that the wrapping paper conceals something more desirable than the same old same old.
If you're not a sports fan, this is probably the only time in four years you'll find yourself getting excited over the quarter finals of a table tennis match or the next round of the javelin throw. Poonam Saxena writes.
Now that Satyamev Jayate (Star Plus) is finally ending this week, what’s the journey been like?
It's the world's most unoriginal thought but boy, is it true. Poonam Saxena writes.
All those people who faithfully follow one (or more) Hindi soaps over months and years deserve a standing ovation.
Indian Idol 6 has chosen its nine finalists (the tenth one is still in limbo), but should we call it Punjabi Idol instead, since four of the nine participants are from Punjab? Poonam Saxena writes.
As I started watching Doogie Howser, one of Comedy Central’s many ‘new’ shows launched this month, the actor playing the boy genius Doogie looked extremely familiar.
Season 5 of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa (the desi version of Dancing With The Stars) kicked off last weekend with the usual publicity and hype.
Season six of Indian Idol has begun on Sony and with it the usual country-wide auditions drama. The crowds get bigger and bigger every year; and you could be forgiven for thinking that there are more people at the auditions than there are viewers for the show.
It’s a cliché to say that TV diminishes content, that it can’t compare with the big screen in a movie theatre, and that the words ‘epic scale’ and ‘television’ just don’t go together.
Now that the IPL is finally over, entertainment channels are gradually launching all their new shows.
Do shows featuring children do well? Do they get good ratings? I don’t mean shows featuring children on children’s channels like Pogo or Cartoon Network. I mean shows featuring children on general entertainment channels like Star Plus or Zee etc. Poonam Saxena writes.
Ashok Banker, synonymous with the retelling of the epics, recounts how it all began – and how difficult it was to get his first mythology series (the Ramayana) published. Poonam Saxena finds out more.
Hindi entertainment channels can finally get back to work instead of collectively holding their breath and waiting to exhale when IPL is over. Poonam Saxena writes.
Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate finally hit our TV screens on Sunday, at 11 am — a time of the week usually synonymous with "slow and lazy." Poonam Saxena writes.
It’s the mother of all reality shows. Film star Aamir Khan’s much-awaited TV debut, Satyamev Jayate, opened to an overwhelming response on Sunday morning. Poonam Saxena reports.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a ‘saas-bahu reality check,’ to find out if these kitchen-politics serials have actually disappeared from our general entertainment channels or not.
The world may have changed but evil mothers-in-law and nasty vamps — the twin pillars of saas-bahu soaps —show no signs of making a graceful exit.
Sometimes looking for a silver lining is futile because there just isn't enough silver. Searching for interesting, watchable serials on the Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs) is a bit like that - there just aren't any. Poonam Saxena writes.
I finally caught up with several episodes of Missing (no, nothing to do with the fabulous Costa Gavras film of the 1980s). This Missing is an American TV series that debuted on Star World even before it did in the US. That’s a rare thing; in the normal course, we tend to see old seasons of foreign shows in India. Poonam Saxena writes.