One of my favourite filmmakers believes that “storytelling is about two things: it’s about character and plot”. And I wholeheartedly agree with George Lucas. Ever since I can remember, I have been an ardent fan of television series and how they allow for the development of a story to its fullest — both in terms of plot and character. And international series have upped their game to a whole new level, with amazing stories that have hooked audiences across nations.
With the growing trend of international series and shows being consumed in high doses, it is clear that today’s neo-urban viewer is reaching out to find good content. American series and shows have come out as winners in this regard. The kind of shows they are creating for television are no less than the movies, which is why I truly believe that television is the ‘new movies’.
The production value of television series has reached new heights, with great visuals and renowned Hollywood stars as part of its cast. The stories themselves have evolved — from drawing room dramas to real and relatable plots. For instance, Orange Is the New Black has become hugely popular for its emotionally driven plot that doesn’t alienate the audience from reality. Gritty crime thrillers, comedy series and period dramas — the horizon has expanded exponentially. Even big-budget genres like superheroes (The Flash, for instance), are now being brought to the small screen.
A still from the TV show, The Flash
In today’s highly connected world, we move with the world, and since American TV has become a global phenomenon, it is no different in India. The viewing habits of people have also evolved, since ‘binge-watching’ shows has become the norm. Gone are the days of endless waits for episodes of our favourite TV show to play in the country; now we want to watch episodes back-to-to-back, often finishing an entire series in a day or two, and moving on to the next.
Unfortunately, in the Indian context, viewers were not satiated with the content available to them. Television stagnated with the same kind of soaps being rehashed over and over again. However, broadcasters have finally realised that there is a huge demand for international shows, especially American shows, and they are finally moving towards that market.... There is hope for Indian television and its long-starved viewers to witness some of the best international content with shows like Fargo, The Big C and Better Call Saul. As we move into the new era of television, your breath will surely be taken away and your hunger truly satisfied.
Orange Is the New Black
(Karan Johar, film-maker, is the co-curator of Viacom18’s new English entertainment channel, Colors Infinity (viacom.com/colors-infinity). Follow him @karanjohar on Twitter)
* Orange is the New Black: Fridays, 9pm (3 episodes back-to-back)
* Better Call Saul: Saturdays, 9pm (3 episodes)
* Fargo: Sundays, 9pm (3 episodes)