With sameness & sin

With respect to Indian television shows, the year 2014 was a season of continuity than of experimentation with formats.

If any show symbolised this continuity, it was Comedy Nights with Kapil (Colors), which stayed at the top slot in the reality show genre. Soaps came and went, new ones rung out the old and sustained their hold on eyeballs with lachrymose content.

In the top ten slots of TRPs in 2014 were Diya Aur Baati Hum, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, Saath Nibhana Saathiya, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (Star Plus), Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Jodha Akbar (Zee TV), Sasural Simar Ka (Colors), among others.

Ruling the space of reality shows, apart from Comedy Nights..., were biggies like Salman Khan-hosted Bigg Boss 8, India’s Raw Star, Savdhaan India, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Dil Se Naachein Indiawale etc.

But 2014 failed to qualify as a pathbreaking year for novelty in scripts, like 2012, which introduced the social activism template with Satyamev Jayate. Or like 2013, where Bollywood on small screen got bigger, bolder and better with the laughathon Comedy Nights with Kapil, which catapulted the 10 pm slot into the hottest new primetime. This year’s Season 3 of Satyamev Jayate lowered its lachrymose-inducing quotient, a USP of its inaugural season, and went higher on the time span, and extended each episode to 90 minutes.

In 2014, chat shows saw innovation in terms of hosting. In a space ruled by the big names of talk shows like KJo of the Koffee with Karan fame or The Anupam Kher Show, and in a genre where shows for ‘celebrity chat’ pop up at the drop of a hat, there came Look Who’s Talking, hosted by an unknown face, Niranjan Iyengar (Zee Cafe). The talk show chose host anonymity as its mantra and grilled the chat show czars in the ‘hot seat’. In terms of TRPs, Niranjan’s show was not eyeball enticing, but the experiment in hosting didn’t go in vain.

For the couch potatoes sick of watching soaps gobbling up a substantial slice of primetime, 2014 ushered in ‘sin’ as the new spice, with a dash of lust and lies, to feature in all its narratives. Bollywood, too, adopted the ‘sin’ quotient, like in Hate Story 2. So, the small screen wasn’t far behind in giving its dramas a spin of the flavour. All eight seasons of Desperate Housewives that aired on Zee Cafe spiced up the channel wars by serving sin as the new virtue.

Come New Year and the curtains go up on a couple of serials, but nothing pathbreaking is expected to usher in 2015. New shows will include Saat Vachan and Hotel (Zee TV), Mahakumbh (Life Ok), Tu Mera Hero (Star Plus), Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara (Zindagi TV), Lage Raho Chachu (Sab TV) etc. While Chuk Chuk is expected to replace F.I.R on Sab TV, Bal Gopal Kare Dhamaal will replace the rerun of Akbar Birbal on Big Magic.

The reality shows in 2015 will not unveil a novel menu but are fresh seasons of the old dance-and-song shows — India’s Got talent Season 6, Sa re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs Season 2 and Ekta Kapoor’s Nach Baliye, Season 7. From the looks of the inaugural list, early 2015 may also herald a season of sameness.


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