Two decades ago, when never-ending soap sagas didn't dictate TRPs, episodics were the flavour. Ek Kahani, Katha Sagar, Vikram Aur Betaa, Mano Ya Na Mano, Aahat et al, had fresh storylines week after week and appealed to a large chunk of the audience.
The tele-viewing cycle seems to have repeated itself, as once again episodics are the flavour on prime time slots. Ever since CID
and Crime Patrol
started giving the required TRPs and found themselves in the top slot of the viewership charts, it was increasingly evident that the audience wanted something different from the never-ending melodrama and predictable storylines that daily soaps offered them evening, night and late night.
, which turned a year old recently, primarily meant as a weekend show and an experiment for the channel, surprised everyone by notching decent TRPs riding on the star power of Ronit Roy
who single-handedly has given the show a place of its own in the top 20 shows on general entertainment
channels (GECs) for the last few weeks. Star Plus' ambitious project, the episodic, Teri Meri Love Stories, an hour and half long telefilm (aired every Saturday-Sunday at 9 pm in a bid to redefine weekend viewership patterns) with a heavy duty star cast, comprising the likes of Arjun Bijlani, Karan Singh Grover, Iqbal Khan, Karan Kundra, Shilpa Anand, Mahi Vij, Avinash Sachdev, Karan Wahi, shot in picturesque locales, with the rains in the background (the only common factor in all the stories), a lilting new title track for each film, might not have started off on a great TRP high (the TRP hovers between 0.7-1.7), but crisper editing, more compact storyline (less air time, which means the audiences' interest doesn't waver) might do the trick and get more eyeballs.
Lakhon Mein Ek
, airing on Star Plus, Sundays, 11 am, is once again based on real life stories about people who've made a difference to lives of others and are heroes/heroines in reality too. While the TRPs aren't exactly stuff the channel would get excited about, but it's a show with a lot of heart
and one that's taken on the mighty epic Ramayan being telecast at the same time on another channel! Arjun
, another weekend offering (Saturday-Sunday, 8 pm) from Star Plus and 4Lions Films is a taut crime thriller with reality TV star Shaleen Malhotra as the unsmiling, toughie cop and his bunch of bumbling yet energetic sleuths, that's giving the channel reason to smile on weekends with TRPs of around 1.7.
Life Ok also has its share of episodics in Savdhan India
every night at 11, a series of crime stories based on real police files, with the crime thriller Hum Ne Li Shapath
, a bi-weekly series which now has roped in Milind Gunaji in a stellar role.
Zee TV's Fear Files, a weekend horror episodic might have begun on shaky grounds and not so impressive TRPs but, has since managed to find its numbers and is among the top 20 shows on general entertainment channels(GEC).
Channel V's youth crime show, Gumraah -End of Innocence
, anchored by Karan Kundra at his cryptic best is already in its second season with a grittier set of stories.
While the episodic shows are yet to create a TRP frenzy, they are in their own way making channels/production houses take a closer and a serious look at programming on weekends. And who knows with time, episodics might even find favour on prime time bands during week nights and redefine viewership patterns in the long run.