Monday, November 12, 2007

The pathetic state of Indian television

What the hell is going on? The news channels are all the same - their reporting is bad, their language skills are poor, the presentation is cheap - for the love of god, do not show stand up comedy on a news channel! Or a live coverage of some football game which no one wants to see! (this was on NDTV) And why EVERY story that is new is branded as ' breaking news'? That term had some weight a couple of years (or more) back. India wins an ODI and that’s breaking news? Who the fuck cares when they are clearly playing too much cricket? These news channels have a lot to learn from BBC and CNN.

I don't even want to talk about the general entertainment channels. They treat the viewers like a bunch of retards, producing serials that are so slow that snails must be making love faster. The most irritating thing is the slow motion shots which are supposed to emphasize some point in the story but leave me with this furious agony and a burning desire to blow up the TV set. Characters often talk with themselves to provide vital clues to the concerned viewer. What is this, a freak show for kinder-gardeners? These people should move their lazy asses and watch a bit of 24, a bit of The X Files, even some Friends, a little Scrubs and a lot of The Sopranos. Oh yes they should! Might learn a few things.

Oh, and what about the reality TV? It has gotten mixed up with music shows! So here are Bollywood's great (and some so-called great) music directors and singers, judging teenagers and pre-teen singers, and getting pretty edgy in the process! It's so nauseous to watch. What ever happened to the clear cut evaluation? Why the hell do they tend to put unnecessary drama when it is so clear that it's a bloody set up?

I remember the good old days when Star TV was first introduced in India. No longer did I have to watch the boring DD1 serials, which by the way still had some of the best shows on TV. Cable TV gave a choice to the intelligent viewer, it was liberating. But with the takeover of Star Plus by saas - bahus, things have changed. Star World is too cosmo. It failed to have the same edge which was so much there in the original Star Plus.

Zee TV lost it by reacting to the other entrants and not concentrating on its own strengths. Sony had very good shows initially (Mahayagya (1997) for example). But hey, that was about a decade ago!

Why is this happening? Why can't they make shows which have some intellectual offering? It doesn't necessarily has to do with the story...give us some good direction, some fine acting, realistic sets (outdoor shots are almost rare, and those that they show are worse than marriage videos) , hell, even better make up! Show me women who wear about 5 kg of Jewellery and 5 layers of makeup when they are at home, and I'll put an extra 'H' in my name!

The movie channels are falling in their grace as well. Star Movies was once the best channel for Hollywood movies. It still is, but not with its earlier excitement – the content is not improving, new movies are not all that great. HBO never truly was a great channel. This is one channel that believes that Indian viewers will watch anything that has been filmed and made into a movie! Do we really enjoy Vampire Bats, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, The Flintstones (oh yes, but on Cartoon Network ONLY) and other such boredom balloons that are oft repeated? I'm really happy that Sony Pix and Zee Studio have entered the ring, so in this Diwali vacations I got to enjoy The silence of The Lambs, Brokeback Mountain, Thief, O Brother , Where Art Thou?, Out Of Sight and many other good ones.

I could go on about the blaring negatives of the television offerings. I just hope that at some point, the better exceeds the worse, and the worse finally fades out...but that's just wishful dreaming I guess.