How Sony Television Fooled My Wife

Pretentious, that’s how it may sound but turns out it is plain truth. And I don’t watch TV, I mean who does nowadays. At least that’s what I thought. And then I met my wife.

Ok. Fact is also that there are as many TV channels as there are TV serials. Then there are those who actually watch these TV serials and watch them religiously. This is where my wife comes into picture.

Sony TV has been lucky in the past

Sony Television or SET or Sony Entertainment Television is just another TV channel or set of channels, rather more popular one to be honest. They have had their moments in the past, Kapil Sharma used to be with them before he made Comedy Nights with Kapil on Colors. CID is still growing strong and no one knows why. Their masterstroke is still Indian Premier League, even though that’s getting shadier and runs for a few weeks only.

Sony TV could have stayed lucky

Their bread and butter though would still be the TV serials which in spite of innumerable distractions may still end up making some good, regular and loyal viewership. My wife would be among the leaders there.  She vouches for some of the TV serials aired on Sony, well for sure vouched for till some hours ago until she was ‘fooled’, again; for the third time if I can count correctly and my memory stands by me.

Sony TV fooled my wife

It all started some time back with Love Marriage, Arranged Marriage. Amita ka Amit added fuel to the fire. And today Je Le Zara was the last nail in the coffin. Can’t make heads and tails out of it? Let me explain:

Strike 1, Love Marriage, Arranged Marriage

I don’t know how good or bad Love Marriage, Arranged Marriage TV serial was but my wife would never miss any episode. The story to me never seemed to go anywhere but she would enjoy it much. And then one day Sony TV took it off air. No questions asked. No answers given. My wife was fooled for the first time.

Strike 2, Amita ka Amit

Then came Amita ka Amit. What a serial that was! I mean did you ever see it? Anyhow, after a while no one could figure out where it was headed. From what looked like an interesting marriage of an interesting pair in the start, it wandered into a child being borne who could not be initially, to his kidnapping to.. wait, the story is besides the point. The point is, Amita ka Amit ended one day, unannounced. My wife was fooled by Sony TV for the 2nd time. Her faith though was not shaken yet. She did feel as if a hole had been created in her daily life though.

Strike 3, Je Le Zara

Good days seemed to be coming back with Je Le Zara. My wife was happy. We even stopped having dinner between 9:30pm and 10pm because she could not miss even a single episode and I could not stand watching it for even 30 seconds. Life looked good. The story never-ending (i.e. random), a rather good sign suggesting it could not end soon. And then there was today’s episode. Bam. The story ended and so did the serial. Oh no. My wife fooled again, the 3rd time, and this time it shook her faith. Fact is she lost her faith in Sony TV.

When once bitten is twice shy, what happens to thrice bitten?

Now that’s a million dollar and billion rupees question. When it’s so hard to have loyal viewers why would Sony TV take these risks? Sony TV has fooled my wife not once but thrice. She has made up her mind, next target is Colors TV. Sony TV and its serials are now her past. Colors TV and its serial are her future. What she’ll watch there is something only she knows.

Personally, as a silent viewer, quiet sufferer and prime victim of her projected anger, my message to Sony TV is “shame on you” and to Colors TV is “here she comes”.

House MD – an outstanding TV medical drama, to say the least

Time to call Dr House: goes the message on your TV screen as the vital stats are going down and a life is in a life-threatening danger. “How can you treat someone without meeting them?” “It’s easy, when you don’t give a crap about him.” And that’s Dr House for you. If you watch TV and have been paying attention, quite recently you would have seen a few TV ads of House MD or just House on STAR World, the hugely popular medical drama on US television.

First part points to a doctor who is supposed to be the only one who can bring someone back from the jaws of death – that creates the image of a doctor who would value human life to the utmost. Second part points to someone who clearly says he doesn’t care or to use the words “don’t give a crap” about his patients. That’s so ‘oxymoron’ kind of a scenario, don’t you think so? Then,

Who is Dr House?

Who is Dr House? For a series that looks like to be about hospitals, doctors, saving the patients and the like, strangely the protagonist gives an impression which is otherwise. Well, you may have seen many American medical dramas on TV like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, Scrubs or Indian ones like Sanjivani, Lifeline (Jeevan Rekha); in your mind you would have made an image of how TV medical dramas play out. They may have had different themes but in the end they converge at the similar points.

Then what’s so different about House MD, if at all. Well there is, and there is plenty. This series is unlike any medical drama on TV and stands out on its own against any other kind of TV soap operas too. It was highly recommended to me by some of my friends, and mind you 90% of highly recommended ‘referrals’ came from Doctors themselves. And to be frank I was not very sure, but once I started watching it I got hooked, flabbergasted, devoted and finally sad that it ended after 8 seasons.

Hugh Laurie as Dr House

Tempted as I am to not just talk about Dr House but reveal so many things, I am not going to do that. You must watch it and make your mind about what you think about it. (BTW, Dr Gregory House, that’s his complete name which is not used much, he is just ‘House’. I think in the series only Dr Cuddy’s mom questions why everyone calls him House and not Greg?)

But there are few things that I’ll talk about. Hugh Laurie as Dr House is exceptional. He is a genius Doctor whom everyone loves to hate and hates to love; everyone questions his approach, methods, treatments; everyone at some point in the series would hate, demean, leave him; but no one can deny his diagnosis in the end and mind you he sticks to what he believes in no matter what. And even when you disagree with him, you feel like agreeing with him at some level. A better word to describe him could be “maverick” but there is more to him than that too.

Weird as it may sound – the series undoubtedly primarily focuses on this character Dr House (and the excruciating pain he is in all the time), the Head of Diagnostics at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital or simply Princeton-Plainsboro but the overarching theme is solving medical cases. The lives of Dr House and others in the series are woven around that. And he himself doesn’t care about saving lives but solving the cases, as he says I solved the case. My work here is done.

Dr House, his team and other star cast

An eight season series which originally ran from 2004 to 2012 (comes on STAR World in India), House MD has certain team members and other characters that are central to the series. First 3 seasons have a fairly constant cast in terms of doctors, there is of course a new set of cast members in each episode since there is always a new patient, after that you again see a more or less fixed set of doctors for couple of more seasons and then season 8, that’s the last one, has major changes vis-à-vis seasons 1 to 7.

Dr Cuddy and Dr Wilson are the constant companions; Dr. Foreman, Dr Chase and Dr. Cameron form the core team from season 1 to 3, Dr. Taub, Dr. or only ‘Thirteen’, Dr. Kutner, Dr. Amber are the other key cast members in the subsequent seasons with Dr. Jessica and Dr. Park completing the list of key doctors in season 8. There a few non-doctors who also play important roles in the series. All of them make this an enjoyable series.

Dr House’s quotable quotes

In the entire series in addition to the strong plot, some unparalleled screen writing and unmatched for acting, there are plenty of dialogues in every episode which make the list of “quotable quotes”. Here are a few marvels by Dr House:

  • “Everybody lies.”
  • “Humanity is overrated.” 
  • “…there’s no I in ‘team’. There is a me, though, if you jumble it up.”
  • “…treating illnesses is why we became doctors, treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable.”
  • “Welcome to the end of the thought process.”
  • “If you talk to God you’re religious. If God talks to you, you’re psychotic.”
  • “Tests take time. Treatment’s quicker.”
  • “You can live with dignity, you can’t die with it.”

In fact to enjoy the series to its fullest, you have to be attentive enough and listen to the conversations. If you miss that, you miss the essence of it.

And the award (s) goes to Dr House, Hugh Laurie

The list of awards for the series House MD and to the actor Hugh Laurie is as impressive as the series itself. 2 Golden Globe wins and 3 nominations for Hugh (2006 to 11), 6 Primetime Emmy nominations and few wins too, Screen Actors Guild nominations and wins, and many other prestigious ones, the list seems endless. Hugh, directors, writers, guest actors, they all have done some amazing work and have been recognized with awards and laurels.

One of strangest recognitions, if I can call it so, is the fact that a doctor in Germany who apparently is a big fan of House MD medical series (like many doctors I know) solved a real life case after watching the series. (Click here to read about it). It’s kind of an award too, I guess.

Is House MD worth watching?

Well, if I were to ever make a list of top 10 must watch TV series, dramas and soap operas across genres and languages, House MD has already made the list and will stay there. I say it is fantastic, outstanding, extraordinary, awesome, and more. You have to watch it even if you end up hating and disliking. But you have to watch it, since “This is not a democracy.” 

I usually don’t include this in my blogs, but House runs on STAR World and I is telecast every weekday from Monday to Friday at 10 pm.

The Saas Bahu Soap Operas of America

Ok, that sounds ridiculous at the best and incredible at the worst. It can’t be what it sounds like, I get that but it still is funny as it is. I am a diehard fan of American police dramas and so many of them unfortunately or fortunately are the Saas Bahu type soap operas. Confused? Don’t agree? Read on who, what and why of the Saas Bahu Soap Operas of America.

Different and yet not

These American police dramas are different from each other and yet not so and still they are very popular. I wonder why I still like so many of them, and I am sure I am not alone. These are like the Saas Bahu soap operas, all claim to be different but are still so alike and yet are so very popular. The audience that loves them should be maybe really stupid – I mean you may like one of them but since they are so similar, why do you like all of them. And those who think their audience is stupid should also be stupid, I mean someone else likes them, OK, so what’s your problem.

And then there are folks like me, who like these police dramas and also wonder why people like these Saas Bahu type soap operas. So we are like doubly stupid. Anyhow, you must still be thinking that’s alright but which are these American police dramas, after all I could just be plain wrong.

And the honour list includes

Castle, The Mentalist could be leading the list with The Listener, Psych, Unforgettable and to some extent White Collar also joining towards the end. And mind you, I could include and talk about only the ones that I have watched and have some idea of. The list could have been longer and stronger had I got HD TV and HD DTH but I am not part of that group yet.

Let’s start with Castle: A team of female police detective and a crime writer (consultant) solving homicide together with a duo of detectives, ME and police Captain also being there. Then there is The Mentalist: This is a team of female CBI Agent and a, well, consultant who is a psychic/has highly developed observational skills, with a team of usual people there to support them. Followed by The Listener: A female Detective and a paramedic with the ability to read minds who works with her and a support team thereby. Closing in on them is Psych: A junior detective and a consultant with psychic abilities/extraordinary observational skills and a team too.

If you watch these police dramas, you would know the similarities are hard to miss. The female detective, the male consultant, the comedy, the romantic angles, and they all look similar, except they all are still very enjoyable. But this does smell like the “Saas Bahu Soap Operas of America” if you get what I mean.

And you also have Unforgettable and White Collar. Unforgettable: both leads are detectives, one male one female with the latter being the one blessed with the some extraordinarily detailed memory. White Collar: An ex con-man with more than ordinary skills as a forger and a thief and an agent, though both are male here. But the similarities that help them join others in the list of Saas Bahu Soap Operas of America are there and very strong too.

Getting listed doesn’t take the fun away

Now just because these are too similar and are part of the list of Saas Bahu Soap Operas of America, doesn’t take away from them the fun that these are to watch. I mean I am huge fan of most of these and never miss a chance to watch their episodes, even re-runs at times. In fact it’s quite amazing that in spite of these being not-too-different from one another they all are very popular, very successful and very enjoyable too. In fact I keep looking for more and more police dramas to watch and don’t mind the similarities as long as their scripts are awesome and they solve their cases with logic and in single episode.

What ails Savdhaan India? – A Single Episode Case Study

Savdhaan India on Life OK is not only a fairly popular show on TV, it is also one of the few shows I end up watching (even if in bits and parts) on a decently regular basis. And the overly analytical viewer that I am when it comes to movies, advertisements and shows which come on TV, it is but normal that I have been troubled by this particular show Savdhaan India on so many occasions.

Can’t control myself, or can I!

My deepest analytical urges have been invoked every time I have switched on or surfed or glanced through this show. And that had always got a lot to do with the average to below average acting, throwing all kinds of statistics with questionable sources (like leading news paper, popular NGO, etc.), bad sets, at times horrible editing and above all shabby direction.

(PS: I understand and accept I am no authority on any of the areas involved and responsible for making a scene, serial or movie. I am just an overly analytical viewer, and that’s the way I like it, period.)

The Single Episode Case Study 

And the episode that I watched today Savdhaan India –Mumbai Fights Back, well, that’s become a Case Study for me (most of the reasons for that are not the ones listed above though most of all that was part of the show today as well) and I thought let me put some time, energy and thinking into it, and write about it too. So here’s the outcome (not to bother you with too much information, I’ll focus on parts relevant for the Case Study):

About the story covered in episode: It takes place in 2005 (year is critical to the Case Study), it talks about a dance bar, a cricket (critical to Case Study) betting racket and police using technology, i.e, mobile.

What’s wrong or out of place in the episode: Now, coming straight to the point(s), following is what I think is weird, out of place, incorrect and generates kinds of emotions like – are you kidding me?

  • Ailment 1: The dancers in the dance bar in the year 2005 are dancing to the tunes of Bollywood’s recent 2013 hit song “Pinky” from the movie Zanjeer.

Dear Producer/Director/Writer and Editor too, what is this guys? Come on, do this much of research or at least, don’t get this much carried away, play a less popular/unknown song.

  • Ailment 2: To hide the scores shown on the TV screen in the cricket match the guys are watching and betting on in the show, they have superimposed a message where the actual score was coming (left hand top of screen). The message says “HDMI”.

HDMI in TVs in India in 2005, don’t you think that’s a little ahead of time?

  • Ailment 3: The very enthusiastic Police inspector and wanna-be-trying-real-hard-to-copy-Suniel-Shetty-Nana-Patekar-Ajay-Devgan-in-a-single-scene actor, uses technology, i.e., “Nokia E63” mobile hand set to click pictures of suspects in year 2005.

Guys, Nokia lunched E63 in India in 2008, not before that I guess. But I have mixed emotions here as I also feel like giving you credit as going by my experience of watching Savdhaan India, it could very well have been a touch screen Android phone.  

  • Could be ailments: There were a few other confusing things, but I am not sure about the facts and don’t want to list the same has ailments. However, would be still mentioning these for information sake and for hoping for you (dear reader) to help throw more light on these if you can:
  1. The Umpire in the cricket match (ODI) is wearing red shirt and black trousers. Not sure when that was introduced, was it in or before 2005?
  2. Mumbai police are using Chevrolet Tavera, were they actually using these in 2005?

Remarks:

Today’s episode of Savdhaan India –Mumbai Fights Back and the focus of my Case Study was another subtle and a very strong reminder at the same time that all is not well with this show. It’s still quite popular, but come on Dear Producer/Director/Writer/Editor of Savdhaan India, adding a little bit of what is needed for a good show would be nice, right? And Dear Life OK guys, what’s going on, you guys not really worried about sustaining these TRPs if not improving or Devon Ke Dev alone doing enough for you?

Reach out to me, in confidence..

Weird awards for weird people…

Everyone seems to get some kind of award for whatever work one does or considering that it’s practically impossible at least there is some kind of award that one can be nominated for or be eligible for.

Take for example the ‘n’ number of news channels, ‘more than n’ number of news anchors and ‘more than more than n’ number of awards that they can lay their hands on. They host I-don’t-know-who-watches-them debates during prime time on every news channel. Which is fine by me, I am sure they are doing a great job in terms of doing the general good and sharing the responsibility that our press/media takes upon so reluctantly, in true sense of the word.

Best part, they all seem to win, rather are nominated, or even better are eligible for ‘more than more than n’ number of awards, again a remarkably good thing. But a very important in fact apparently indispensable part of those debates/shows are the participants – whose opinions or lack of it – are what draw or at least seem to draw the audience (I am assuming lots of people watch these debates) to the show.

What about them? What about these innocent and deliberate participants? What about rewarding them for the effort they put in during the time they would love to have quiet dinner with their families (I am only assuming they would prefer that)? What about making sure that everyone gets their due? Why no one ever fights for their rights while they seem to be taking all the pains by participating for others rights? I think they deserve the awards too!

It is my humble opinion – no not opinion that’s what the participants in those debates only are entitled to, rather I think it would not be unjustified to have exclusive awards for the participants in those debates. It will not only recognize their efforts but also give our news channels a few more debatable issues.

To help the people who decide the award categories I think we can have some of the categories like;

  • “I-Only-Listen-To-What-I-Have-To-Say”,
  • “I-Am-The-Party-Spokesperson-Who-Expresses-Opinions-Which-Are-Entirely-My-Own”,
  • “I-Don’t-Know-Why-I-Am-Part-Of-The-Debate, I’d-Rather-Have-Dinner-With-My-Family”,
  • “I-Don’t-Care-About-The-Topic-Of-Debate, I-Have-My-Own-Agenda-To-Promote”, and the like.

I know these categories are just too few but I thought someone, someday, somewhere, somehow needs to make a start. So….