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MTV’s Bring on the Night and the state of youth programming

MTV’s Bring on the Night and the state of youth programming

No TV for young people. Indian television is still stuck in some regressive daily soap infested twilight zone. The youth channels you can count on the fingers of one hand. Good youth channels of course, you can count on the fingers of the hand of that homeless guy whose arms end in a stump. Stilted dialogue and terrible concepts are all we get, packaged into reality shows of the Roadies and Splitsvilla variety or into the unbelievable high school drama like Suvreen Gagal.

Television channels targeting the youth have absolutely no idea what we watch or want to watch. The guys at the helm are clueless old cronies who get offended by everything and the content is filtered through the tight strainer of the standards and practices department. The uninspired television content that we get on Channel V, MTV or Bindass makes me wonder what these channels think of this 20 something generation. Do they think I don’t know they’ve ripped off this particular adventure task sequence from Survivor Australia? Do they honestly believe that this joke is still funny? Yes, Roadies gets their TRPs and dammit yes, putting skimpily clad dancing women on air for 20 minutes in a 30 minute show entails viewing. But this means that I’m not part of the target audience during the concept forming process and not only does this piss me off, it also means it’s where the circle begins. The shame circle of bad TV begins at “That’s too smart for the Haryana audience.” Write that down. It’s true.

As a 23 year-old avid television watcher, I don’t want to watch a show where people don’t talk like me, aren’t funny or where the word ‘shit’ has to be beeped out and replaced with an inoffensive word in the subtitles. I don’t want to watch a watered-down anything with beeps followed by beeps. So, I turn to the internet for my television needs. If an Indian channel were to create a good show I wouldn’t watch it. So, the TRPs would fall and any endeavor to make good television is thwarted right there.

MTV’s Bring on the Night is a show I have been recommending to absolutely everybody I meet. Watch the uncensored trailer! Wait, I’ll buffer it and show it to you! Look, it’s funny and they talk like us!

Sigh. But they can’t. You can’t have people say bhosadike and madarchod on Indian TV. So, I watch the uncensored episode online. And before I go any further, let me just gush over how incredibly superb Bring on the Night is. The first scene where Devang and Patrick talk about superheroes had me in splits. With great pace and story building, cinematography that reminds me of Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan and Ankur Tiwari, Dualist Inquiry and others making appearances in the background score, BOTN is making me very excited.  It is directed by the super cool Vishwesh (of Scribe and The Dewarists), written by the incredibly funny Tanmay Bhat, Ashish Shakya and Rohan Joshi, and the plot revolves around four guys who transform a run down old building into an after hours party place.

Is this the dawn of a new day? Is reality television in India reaching its end? Dancing, singing, living in a house and making an ass of yourself and conducting loyalty tests on your boyfriends and girlfriends…Maybe we have milked it for all its worth and maybe, just maybe, its time to put that cow to sleep. In 5 years, or maybe a decade, maybe good fiction will have taken over, pushed the boundaries of what defines entertainment. Maybe we’ll grow up and not be pussies about words like sex and fuck. That’s when I’ll be watching TV made for me.

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5 responses »

  1. Good read 🙂

    Bring on the Night seems like a show worth watching, and I do plan on following it. However, I respect the fact that certain things have to be censored on Prime Time television, and if they want to keep the slot, then they’re going to have to follow the rules. If I had a child I wouldn’t want him/her watching a show with such language either.

    Props to everyone involved for daring to take this step. I hope they get the numbers on television (although it’s unlikely) so that this isn’t a one off. And even if they don’t, I hope the internet is powerful enough to keep shows like this going.

    Maybe it’s time to change the model. Maybe it’s time to realize that Indian television isn’t going to cater to us, but with the internet – there’s hope.

    Reply
  2. Hey! As much as I DESPISE the television we are subjected to and although I make these shows I would never watch them, but I will tell you a small knowledge bit of TRPS and Marketing. Shows like Bring it on are not made keeping TRPs in mind, they are AFPs, meaning shows which are made only for the sponsor which is Eristoff in this case, OR Dewarists which are brand building show or Coke Studio. Most of these shows are about brand building and not TRPs , so it doesn’t matter what your Haryana audience thinks, but a show like Roadies( which I hate) is made only and wholely to make TRPS and run the channel, which is where the Haryana audience become our target group.

    that’s why this stark difference in a channel like MTV which makes Splitsvilla as well as Bring on the Night

    Reply
  3. U r rght dude. Bt blv me it ll take hell of time to indian tv executives to mature. I m a young producer. It has been a year i m trying to get on trier nerve to make smthng tht wud rspct our intellect. Bt since executives hav no idea of creation. They make thier decisions on survey. Thts alwz fuckd up n lame. Look at d contents of v channel. They alwz hav to have female protagonist. Coz they blv tv is female’s mediam. They ll offer 3 times more fr making a saas bahu soap. Coz they undrstnd only tht formate. Guess wht, they wnt n hav 100% control over d creative output.
    So wait long. Evn shows like prison break will take 3 to 4 years to reach, coz they target males. N wishing fr smthng like dexter or pulp fiction is sin.

    Reply
  4. Oh man, my sister just recommended me BOTN and I googled it, which got me here. This post makes for an incredible read, simply because it feels like someone got inside my mind and put exact words to what I’ve been thinking off late about the state of youth programming in India. The saddest part is that indian youth has an average iq which is far superior than our western counterparts and have every right to be served quality entertainment on tv. The sheer sense of awesomeness that I felt when I started following ‘The Dewarists’ has been unparalleled, and. I am really looking forward to BOTN. And you hit the nail right on its head by the ‘they don’t talk like us’ bit. It almost feels like that the gods of indian television exist in a parallel universe of sorts where they have such skewed impressions of how we exist. The bottom line is that indian tv doesn’t give a rat’s ass about aesthetics, and no matter how great a content you have (even that isn’t the case here), you can never make a winning show without paying attention to detail and sorting out the aesthetics to appeal to your audience. Look at the Dewarists, that’s a show which should be a role model for how to get the aesthetics right. Comedy Central’s programming and aesthetics are spot on as well, but that’s the with them round the world, so its just a case of replicating global best practices in the Indian market. The only way to sort out the aesthetics and content issues is to throw these old hags who run these channels out of their comfy offices and get them face to face with the ground reality. I think that there are a lot of us out there who want good entertainment to be served to us by simply switching on our TV sets, instead of queuing up torrents from thepiratebay. The potential is huge and its only a matter of time that someone taps into this. Probably its high time that we get our own hands dirty and start off a TV channel of our own. That’s a feeling I get every single time I switch on my TV and there is no sports on, no good movie on air and I have to browse the endless labyrinth of crap being served. Another shocking aspect about the youth programming on air on these channels like mtv, channel V et al are the horrible acting skills of the actors. They are so bad, and it baffles me that how do they keep doing it over and over again on national television. Don’t they have friends who are honest enough to give it to them on their faces that ‘Dude, you suck at acting, go find another job’. All of them are unfailingly pretentious and have horrible english accents. The women are laden with sickening makeup and are downright repulsive. I always get a feeling that probably all these actors friends and family of these old dudes who call the shots at these channels. I wish the reset button on my set top box could also reset all that’s wrong with Indian TV and we start getting awesome TV overnight!!

    Reply

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