“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good TV, must be in want of an AMAZING sitcom.”- An imaginary quote created by me, just a few minutes ago, conveys what we’ve been stating for generations together- A TV is as good as the shows you put in it, and in India, there seriously seems to be a dearth of it. Frankly speaking, no one can save a decent Indian sitcom from getting converted into a saas-bahu drama or a sappy love story! Indian television script- writers can pen down decent 10-minute acts for comedy shows, but they can’t come up with something for an hour, or half hour show. Why can’t we have amazing characters like Sheldon, Barney, Harvey Specter, or Emily Thorne to suit Indian themes, rather than having historical dramas as the only alternative to saas-bahu soaps? We need to take a cue from American or British shows NOW!!!
…And the ‘roll of honour’ for shows that made an impact on the gen-next and even perhaps those in the 80’s are:
1. Friends: This show, started in 1994 took the world by storm! The concept of 6 friends and their lives was something that everyone could relate to, and add to that some witty lines and you’ve got a killer recipe for success!!
2. How I Met Your Mother: Similar to Friends in the sense that it too revolves around the lives of 5 (instead of 6) friends and their daily escapades. A major hit (cue*salute*) with all youngsters, it provides us the most ‘legend-wait-for-it-dary’ character of all times-Barney Stinson, the craziest and most awesome womanizer of all times! The mystery surrounding Ted’s marriage, and the ups and downs in each of the friends’ lives take the show several notches higher and have made the main leads virtual superstars, and a household name in almost any home with a teenager or young adult.
3. Mind Your Language: Started somewhere in the 80s, this show brought to us, ‘world integration’ of sorts by humourously portraying the obstacles faced by foreign nationals who wish to learn English. For all those who hated English lessons in school, this show could prove to be the most entertaining English class ever seen! The fact that your parents might have actually seen this show when they were young adults makes it a good watch for the entire family, where the previous generation can recount episodes with nostalgia, and the current youth can watch it for the fun of it.
4. Suits: Harvey Specter, the no-nonsense, proud and shrewd Senior Partner at Pearson Hardman, with a heart of gold, along with his genius associate attorney Mike Ross, gives you an insight into the harsh and sleek world of law. Full of witty lines, deftly etched characters and an amazing background score, this show gets a thumbs up from a person who has seen only a single episode.
5. Sherlock: The television series truly proves to be a worthy competitor for the books and the Robert Downey Jr. films. Benedict Cumberbatch, with his British accent, quick one-liners, and wry humour, plays the modern day Sherlock Holmes to the ‘T’! Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ partner in crime (or rather partner in investigation and prevention of crime) pulls off the role with much aplomb, and endears himself as the loyal friend. Being adapted from a classic, the show most obviously boasts of a mind-blowing storyline, but the stellar performances by both the leads adds a cherry to the icing.
6. Hannibal: The show based on Thomas Harris’ book The Red Dragon, delves into the lives of FBI special agent Will Graham who investigates homicides, and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the forensic psychologist who moonlights into the Chesapeake Ripper. The show touches new heights of gruesomeness, but wins points on account of nuanced performances by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen.
7. Revenge: This one is revolves around the femme fatale Amanda Clarke, who is out on a mission to destroy the Grayson family and anyone associated with the wrongful conviction of her father. By creating the fake identity of Emily Thorne, and with the help of certain trustworthy contacts, Amanda worms herself into the lives of the Graysons and wreaks havoc. The show is heart wrenching and pacey at the same time, and grips you immediately.
8. The Big Bang Theory: BAZINGA!!!! This show breaks all stereotypes of geeks being boring, by bringing to televisions screens the coolest geek of ‘em all- Sheldon Cooper!!! The lives of scientists were never so greatly appreciated by the masses, with many actually wishing that Sheldon were a part of their gang!
9. Castle: If writer turns crime fighter is your style, then this show will bowl you over. The concept of a writer assisting the FBI to solve homicide cases is just too amazing to believe. High on drama and action, this show proves to be the perfect cocktail for a TV lover.
So dear Indian writers, please take a cue from above, and stop writing these run of the mill shows where every sensible story is morphed into a contorted show filled with vamps. Try something that’s not clichéd. After all life doesn’t end with homilies! Recall shows like Hum Log, Fauji, Dekh Bhai Dekh or Buniyaad that attained cult status, and come up with something that is fresh and makes people look up and watch, again. There is no dearth of creative talent in our country, and we too conjure up something interesting. With millions at stake, the television industry can’t afford to provide poor quality entertainment to people. So pull up your socks, writers because it is high time we had a dose of amazing Indian stories on television!