The year in television

The saas-bahus took a backseat. Indian television was star-struck instead – literally. We binged on American shows, bid a sad farewell to some, and got hooked on to new finds... because there’s no such thing as “too much TV”.

brunch Updated: Dec 28, 2014 20:33 IST
Satarupa Paul
Satarupa Paul
Hindustan Times
Comedy Nights with Kapil,Kapil Sharrma,The Great Indian Laughter Challenge

The saas-bahus took a backseat. Indian television was star-struck instead – literally. We binged on American shows, bid a sad farewell to some, and got hooked on to new finds... because there’s no such thing as “too much TV”.

Hit the ratings

Comedy Nights with Kapil

first aired in


2013. In just over a year, the comedy show became the biggest non-fiction programme on Indian TV.

And in just over a year, its host Kapil Sharma, who had had to make three attempts to win

The Great Indian Laughter Challenge

a few years ago, became the highest paid TV artist in the country. (He’s also supposed to have become very very difficult to deal with).

• Sharma reportedly charges Rs10 lakh for each episode. Rumour has it that the figure is actually Rs 50 lakh. His team refuses to comment.

• He demanded Rs 1.25 crore for hosting the extra innings of Celebrity Cricket League.

• Eighty films have been promoted on his show so far.

• Sharma will make his film debut in Abbas-Mustan’s next. He was set to debut in Yash Raj Films’

Bank Chor

, but the film and his three- movie deal with YRF fell through.

Most talked about TV show

Matthew McConaughey is hot! But McConaughey as a brooding, depressed detective solving gory murders in bleak, eerie Louisiana? Outstanding. Add a terrific complex storyline, throw in goosebump-inducing cinematography and you have the most talked about TV show of the year –

True Detective


We loved

How I Met Your Mother

, and we were sad when it came to an end in March this year. It was one of the most popular American sitcoms after


But after nine seasons and 208 episodes of being with Ted and his friends, we were left highly disappointed with the finale. It didn’t have to be so morose and we definitely wanted more of our favourite character Barney doing his “Legen-wait-for-it-dary” stuff one last time.

Top runners


Sherlock, 24 - Live Another Day, Blue Bloods

HBO Defined:

Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Silicon Valley

Star World Premiere:

Homeland, Downton Abbey, The Blacklist


Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story

Comedy Central:

The Graham Norton Show, Anger Management, Suits

Also read:

Rise and rise of English TV

Big debuts and bigger duds

Amitabh Bachchan in


, “the most expensive fiction show on Indian television.” Expectations were huge, the excitement was palpable but


simply bombed! Supposedly a “psychological thriller miniseries,” it hardly challenged you psychologically, except to make you wonder why the Big B was always sweating so profusely. Too sombre, with a dragging pace, it didn’t end up as the thriller it was meant to be.

Ashutosh Gowariker and AR Rahman in


, “the most ambitious project on Indian television.” One famous filmmaker, one Oscar-winning music director, one great mountain… formula for a clear win? Not quite. The telenovella (of an ordinary girl trying to do extraordinary things – like climbing Everest) is disappointing.

Turning tides

After years of soppy, over-the-top saas-bahu sagas, our TV sets saw a refreshing change in June this year when a new channel called Zindagi launched. It brought several beautifully made shows from Pakistan, with limited episodes, high production values, and a bevy of good looking actors – what’s not to love! (Except that the themes continued to revolve around the family).

Also, India’s first genre-specific Hindi channel, Epic, launched in November. With shows like

Dharamkshetra, Dariba Diaries, Ekaant

and others, it intends to celebrate the country’s heritage, mythology and history.

Overheard over coffee

All that made headlines on

Koffee With Karan


Anushka Sharma’s

‘duck’ lips,

Sonam Kapoor’s

“You know what I mean”, Nargis Fakhri and Freida Pinto pushed to the late-night slot because of “mature content.”

Also read:

I will do anything for Aditya Chopra and SRK: Karan Johar at the Awards

The awards ceremonies were in a race to outdo each other on funny, witty, embarrassing and memorable moments that sent social media into overdrive.

• Setting the trend was Ellen Degeneres at the 86th annual Academy Awards when she ordered pizzas for the audience. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brangelina, among others were spotted grabbing a slice.

• Our desi Oscar, the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) made headlines across the world too, when the two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey draped a lungi over his tux and joined Deepika Padukone in an impromptu

Lungi Dance

. John Travolta showed off dance moves too with Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra.

• Hollywood star Johnny Depp rounded off the antics at the awards with his drunken speech at the Hollywood Film Awards in Los Angeles. end of Mad Men

Our favourite Madison Avenue folks from the 1960s will return to our living rooms one last time next year. The last seven episodes of the final season of

Mad Men

will be aired in April, 2015. Let’s get those glasses of Old Fashioned ready, and hope the makers, as Don Draper says, “Make it simple but significant.”

Better Call Saul

We loved

Breaking Bad

and we rejoiced as the cast and crew of the crime drama series came together at the Emmys this year (where they bagged awards in almost all the major categories), after the show ended last year. And now, we are more than excited for the spin-off

Better Call Saul

, which is set to premiere in early 2015.

Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat

History seems to be the flavour of the season and riding on the success of shows like

Jodha Akbar, Bharat Ka Veer Putra

Maharana Pratap

, and


, author Ashok Banker (of

Prince of Ayodhya

fame) is adapting the epic story of India’s greatest king for TV. The trailer looks super slick; we only hope that the show (on Colors) will be as exciting.

From HT Brunch, December 28
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First Published: Dec 26, 2014 17:00 IST