Television's 'most unwanted'

Telly talk

Living off the land Les Stroud on ‘Survivorman’

And here’s the sob story. Perfectly up the street for those of you brought up on a staple diet of saas-bahu sagas and tear jerkers woven around unloved girls whose complexion is scaring boys away. In other words, daily soaps dished out by Ekta Kapoor (is she still there?) and her ilk. So whip out those tissues and hand towels, and get ready to dab your eyes because we’re going to talk about (hold your sniffles) TV programmes no one watches — but me.

Bhaskar Bharti — Yes, I can hear outraged murmurs from some of the people reading this right now about the fact that they and their families did watch Bhaskar Bharti, thank you very much. Yes, you did, when it began, but are you still at it? Or have your loyalties since shifted to Iss Jungle Se Mujhe. BB, that began on the promising note of a flirtatious, ambitious, playboy with zero conscience being punished by God by being turned into a woman showed us titillating visions of a breezy comedy. Alas, it has since turned into a puke-inducing cocktail of canned laughter meets soap opera. So exasperating that it can cause smoke to curl out of viewers’ ears. Those with high BP, better avoid. However, it still runs for the benefit of those with a dying urge to watch some absolute crap.

I Shouldn’t Have Been Alive — Does anyone watch I Shouldn’t Have Been Alive, Discovery Channel’s show on Readers Digest type survival stories of people stuck at sea, in the mountains, under a boulder etc. Probably not too many because it coincides with dinner time and watching all that blood and gore may cause dinner regurgitations. However, if you can hold back the urge to eat simultaneously, the show is attention grabbing. Remarkable for the sheer grit people display in the face of sure death and the immense personal risk rescue missions and ordinary people often take to save other people’s lives. I watched two gutsy mountaineers stuck on a glacier, with one having a back injury. How they survived for more than a week in a flimsy tent in the freezing cold and then found their way out of an almost endless crevasse, made for some nail biting finish. These true stories of incredible human survival that always — at their crux — feature a wrenching moral dilemma, should be watched. But aren’t.

Survivorman is another gutsy program that gives new meaning to the expression: living off the land. The Canadian produced television program being aired on Discovery Channel has Canadian filmmaker and survival expert Les Stroud use his skills to survive for seven days alone in remote locales with little or no food, water and equipped with only his clothes, camera, harmonica, a multi-tool and “everyday items” relevant to the episode’s particular survival scenario. For safety purposes, Stroud carries an emergency satellite phone. However, he has claimed that while filming several episodes, there were times when his emergency phone did not work, leaving him totally alone. Makes for fascinating watch but unfortunately, most of us prefer to watch Bollywood and Hollywood reruns instead. Stroud stopped filming Survivorman after the third season due to what he described as the significant physical toll of filming each episode. Amazing show but unfortunately it has not been able to persuade couch potatoes to spend even one solitary hour a week of their lives looking at it.
Last on the list is Krishi Darshan — that has been surviving the test of time on Doordarshan or is simply hanging in there on sheer will power. Believe you me, I tried to figure out on two consecutive days what it was all about but gave up. It sort of chucks viewer in at the deep end with in-depth discussions on the effect of red rot on sugarcane produce and helps put low IQ individuals like me to instant sleep. Maybe next time!

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