Game-changers in television: from saas-bahu sagas to controversial reality shows
What’s your telly fix -- Bigg Boss or Breaking Bad, CID or Suits? India went beyond its shores to look for great TV and lapped it all up. As this year draws to a close, we analyse the best of TV, both Indian and American, and reach the verdict – interesting times ahead!india Updated: Dec 27, 2013 13:35 IST
Change can sometimes be a TV series. Indian TV had enough for the fans of saas-bahu serials, and its various versions, and then some more. We doff our hats to the game-changers.
24: Beginning of the change
After years of a main course of saas-bahu, Indian TV finally got a taste of cheeseburger with onion rings on the side. Anil Kapoor’s 24 was everything we wanted and didn’t get – a script-based show, enviable ensemble cast and good production values. A political family that is a dead ringer for a certain Gandhi clan sent audience interest soaring.
What it foretells: Kapoor’s planning the second season and has said he may Indianise another American show. Anurag Kashyap will ring in his TV show in 2014 which has Amitabh Bachchan.
Comedy Nights with Kapil: lol
After watching a million not-so-funny, and some of them seriously lowbrow, comedy shows on TV, we finally got CNWK this year. Although we are a really long way from getting, say, a Saturday Night Live, this show cut across demographics in its popularity. Entire country discussed Guthi -- or the lack of ‘her’ on the show -- over dinner, people used Kapil lingo and the show sent TRPs soaring.What we say: Thoda aur funny ho jay.
Saraswatichandra: all hype, no TRPs
What happens when Sanjay Leela Bhansali brings his larger-than-life brand of cinema to the small screen? Nothing much, by all accounts. Unbelievable hype notwithstanding, Bhansali’s saga Saraswatichandra failed to work its magic despite being telecasted on DD and Star Plus.
What it foretells: It was a year of hyped shows which failed to deliver. What audience is looking for is solid content, probably why old favourites like Diya aur Baati, Qubool Hai, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Balika Vadhu and Pavitra Rishta. Continue to rule the charts. What we say:Style is good but substance is better.
Bigg Boss: big controversies
Yeah, yeah we know controversies sell especially in a reality show format. While dance and singing reality shows kept it clean and healthy this year, it was left to Bigg Boss 7 to ramp up the controversy quotient. Armaan Kohli was arrested for assaulting a female contestant, Salman Khan was termed biased and the contestants generally ensured there was a controversy a day.
What we say: When’s the next season starting?
TV on your phone was what the ‘well connected’ were doing this year. Sony and Colors amped up on mobile apps for shows like KBC, Bigg Boss and Comedy Nights With Kapil. Sony launched a new vertical Sony Liv and channels made sure that YouTube had the latest episode of any show within hours of its telecast.
New promising content was also launched this year. This included Connected Hum Tum which had Abhay Deol as host. Serials with strong women protagonists such as Chhanchhan (Sony), Jee Le Zara (Sony) and Desh Ki Beti Nandini (Sony).
What we say:Gimme gimme.There just can’t be enough TV. What we couldn’t watch, we downloaded but we kept ourselves abreast of what was happening in the lives of Harvey Spectre, Walter White, Mindy Kaling and more.
Walter White, a high school teacher, upon discovering that he has cancer, teams up with a ‘junkie’ to produce and sell meth. The show is studded with a highly talented team of actors and creators, who capture both the ordinariness and extra-ordinariness of Walter’s life. The show culminated this year, with a brilliant fast-paced end that captured the essence of the past five seasons.
What we say: Is anyone in the mood to do some cooking?
This show juggles intelligence with humour, depth and moral ambiguity. It follows the story of corporate lawyers, with the stylish Harvey Specter mentoring savant genius Michael Ross.
The third season of this widely acclaimed and intensely popular show saw the plot intensifying like how. There was this moment where we all didn’t know where to turn and whom to trust any more.
What we say: We’ll borrow this one from Harvey: “Nothing’s ever black and white.”
Orange is the New Black
A dark comedy that revolves around the experiences of Piper -- she went to business school, is engaged to a suitable man and runs a scented soap business with her best friend. Except for the fact that she ran a small-scale international drug scheme with her lesbian partner a while back, which has now landed her in jail. It captures the comic struggles of sheltered girl thrown into absurd and extreme circumstances.
What we say:Prison as a fashion statement, anyone?
Game of Thrones
This show has war, family feuds, castles, gory violence, a twisted plot, and DRAGONS. Set in a fictional island, the show interweaves several plotlines -- feuds between kingdoms for a throne, an exiled dynasty planning to reclaim the throne, and a potential threat of attack to supernatural and mythical creatures from the North. The latest season has left the world in a state of shock, horror and grim respect.
What we say:Didn’t we already say it – the show has dragons!
The Mindy Project
Why watch it? First things first, Mindy Kaling gives the much required desi flavor to American TV without offending us with the same tired stereotypes. Second, it follows the romantic endeavors of a quirky oby/gyn and manages to do so without replacing real life romantically awkward instances with a shiny video montage.
What we say? The entire comedy watching world has fallen heads over heels in love with its awkward, witty charm.