Ask any TV-watching adult what he/she/they are bingeing on right now and names like ‘Ozark’, ‘Empire’, ‘Minx’, ‘Raised by Wolves’ and ‘Bridgerton’ will tumble out in quick succession. This week, Open Sesame posed the same question to young teens.
Fourteen-year-old Vanshikha is streaming the fifth season of ‘Young Sheldon’, a prequel to ‘The Big Bang Theory’. It is based on the growing up years of the nerdy character, Sheldon Cooper. She discovered the sitcom last year thanks to one of her aunts. “I believe Sheldon’s journey is similar to mine. I want to pursue quantum physics and he is into science. Also, it shows the culture of Texas (where the story is set) and I find that nice,” the girl from Visakhapatnam, who has just written her Class 9 exams, explains her choice. “The first time I watched it, I could not understand terms like ‘the black holes’. So I did my research and re-watched it sometime back,” she continues.
Vanshikha “is into sci-fi” while her friends are inclined towards fiction series like ‘Just Add Magic’ wherein three BFFs chance upon a mysterious cookbook.
Fifteen-year-old Lara Pinto from Bengaluru enjoys the thriller and detective genres. However, her TV run has hit a disappointing pause because she can’t find anything that can match shows like ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Money Heist’.
For instance, the Class 10 student found the top-billed comedies like ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (about a bunch of oddball investigators in New York City), and ‘The Office’ (about a drab office in Pennsylvania and its sulking coworkers) rather “bland”. Even ‘Euphoria’, a teen show that critics love and hate equally, did not impress. She thought it was “a bit explicit and overrated”. Friendship, love, money, social media, addiction, this high-school drama has it all.
Even Class 11 student Vedant Vashi doesn’t go by trends. As long as the storyline is intriguing and character arcs fleshed out well, the Mumbaikar can watch anything with a notable exception of “sci-fi”.
Vedant says the content on India TV is not at par with the global titles with the exception of ‘Made In Heaven’, which he enjoyed for its “good storyline, performances and representation”. It throws light on inter-caste love, dowry, extra-marital affairs and the marriage of an elderly couple through the lens of two wedding planners. ‘Feel Good’ is another top pick as it focuses on a lesbian couple, mental health and dysfunctional families, among others.
Bengaluru boy Veer Prashanth Sarapure, 13, sources his content from YouTube. Gaming, sports, daily life, and humour are his interests. But thanks to his college-going sister, he is now discovering Japanese anime, which is also a common interest among his friends. “I have been a fan of ‘Pokémon’ for a long time but now, I am watching ‘Demon Slayer’ (a revenge drama), and ‘Haikyu!!’ (here, a boy wants to become a volleyball player). I watch what my sister recommends,” says the 13-year-old.
If there is chatter about the Japanese animes during lunch breaks and in playgrounds, then Korean TV dramas aren’t far behind. “My friends find the Korean actors attractive and say the stories are so good that they can’t wait for the next episode,” says Nikitha V, a Class 9 student from Bengaluru.
However, K-dramas are not her jam. She watches Tamil TV shows like ‘Raja Rani’, and ‘Pandian Stores’. In the former, a woman wants to be an IAS officer but her mother-in-law is opposed to the idea. “I want to see how she will fight her way through to achieve her dream,” says the 14-year-old. In ‘Pandian Stores’, a joint family stands by each other no matter the nature of the dispute or the generation gap. In the age of nuclear families, she finds this dynamic fascinating.
Spandana R, another 14-year-old from Bengaluru, dotes on the friendship between Doraemon (a male robotic cat) and Nobita (a preteen boy), the highlight of the anime ‘Doraemon’. “Also, from the show, I learnt facts like that one can’t survive in space for more than 15 seconds without a spacesuit,” says the Class 9 student.
‘Bapu’ is another of her favourites. It promotes Gandhian values of living a truthful life, and keeping the surroundings clean. “It is more useful and relatable than superhero shows,” Spandana adds.