There was a time when playing board games with friends and family was a common, infact the only, source of entertainment. Television, as a medium, wasn't as popular. But in no course of time, it came, saw and conquered.
However, a variety of shows were made in India, which were a breakthrough in their own regard, but never managed to take the brand of television where it was supposed to be. The point of argument being that the entertainment pattern, all over India today, needs a rehaul.
Globally, television has taken a whole new shape. Content is made available to the entire world, Indian audiences included. Only a decade ago, a few names like Friends, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and a few others featured on the list of English television consumed by only a certain section of the targeted audience. Today a major section of India's populace has started consuming foreign content.
The average Indian age being 27 today, has helped many accept foreign content in various forms and genres. The game changer, though, has been the ever-growing social media. At one point one tried to presume what was worth the watch, however, now with discussions and debates out in the open, that is not a question bothering most. Like an old saying, 'content is king', which happens to be the truth in today's time.
Keeping that in mind shows like the Game of Thrones and House of Cards, along with many others such as Breaking Bad and Peaky Little Blinders have manage to score high on popularity amongst all sorts of audiences. Statistics state that on an average there are at least a billion odd people discussing the possibilities of Game of Thrones and the characters within, on a regular basis.
There have also been cases where fans have began their version of fan theories on possible predictions and plot lines of characters, which has been earning them a living ever since the first season began some six years ago.
As unpredictable as the show is, the hype around it is solely because of the nature of brutality and uncertainty that the audiences have. To study the success of the same, a few common practices on this show, particularly killing the protagonist of the season, has worked wonders. Before we move forward, lets announce the obligatory spoiler alert.
Season one of the show was all about Sean Bean also known as Eddard Stark. No one in their wildest dreams would have predicted that his stay on the show would only last for nine episodes. Lord stark still exists in the scheme of things but only serves as a memory. That shock was followed by the red wedding, battle at the wall and Tyrian's trial by combat. One shock after the other almost settled the viewers into accepting how the show works.
However, the content ensured the promotion-less marketing of the show. People all over the world across social media lost it as they went crazy predicting futures of characters and probable story line. Many even lost friends one after the other on account of being the one popularly known as the 'spoiler'. All said and done the content and treatment has done wonders to the show as it today stands as the most viewed show in the history of world television. Only if history books were as interesting; the kids of yesterday would never forget the names of characters they had to write for examinations.
However, as much as people would wish the show never ends, the show makers have already hinted at their fatigue towards continuing. The hint though not deliberate but quite evidently comes out. Season 5 ended on a cliff hanger with one of the central characters, Jon Snow stabbed in mutiny by his own men. The moment in itself created a huge cry worldwide on the fate of Jon. As many suggested he was alive, many contemplated his death.
The most common fan theory that started getting attention then was Melissandre resurrecting Jon. For the honest fans of the show, that was what everyone prayed for, however whoever loved the show wanted to be shocked all over again. The opening of season 6 though revealed that Jon was indeed resurrected by the red woman killing all expectations of shock and the reputation that the brand has built over the glorious six years across six seasons. As disappointed as fans are, the show won't stop for that minute hiccup.
Similar on the lines of Game of Thrones stands another show building popularity by the day. House of Cards which is 4 seasons down is almost like a rendezvous of Kevin Spacey's glorious career in the past. Spacey has created an icon amongst the people going by the name of Frank J Underwood.
If psychologists were to be believed, the character has had a major hand in the transformation of many ambitious individuals worldwide. A psychiatrist, Edmen Hole for the UK was quoted saying, "With the character, one relates to an extent where evil can be justified to even the wisest pope". Ace film maker David Fincher, who is also the executive Producer of House of Cards, has been trying to create similar impact with his films over the past but finally seems to have gotten his formula right.
Shows like these have now become the pulse of life. On one hand, President Barrack Obama had started a speech quoting his fictional counterpart, Frank J Underwood. On the other hand, Richard
A Luthman, a lawyer in New York, found himself in thick soup with the legal system during the hearing of an ongoing hearing.
On realising his potential loss and a probable booking, Luthman, in all seriousness quoted
Tyrian Lannister from the Game of Thrones, demanding for a trial by combat. Now how the court or the judge may have reacted is only for our imagination to figure out.
Television, at its best
* Breaking Bad's final episode attracted 10.3 million viewers worldwide in its first airing and ranked third of all cable series finales. The craze surrounding all of its seasons is not confined to television screens only. Initially, the show couldn't sustain the hype that surrounded the premiere, but the interest grew stronger with the following episodes. Being one of the high rated shows in India with a lot of fandom from around the country, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan too wanted to remake Breaking Bad as a Hindi movie.
* House of Cards has attracted about 8.9 million viewers after its initial release. Despite House of Cards' low comparative figure for Season 3, the series' popularity is still unquestionably high with about 2.6 million people watching its third season. The series has fetched Golden Globes trophies for both Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey, for their respective roles. In India however, the show can't be seen legally, Indians have been watching the popular series on demand through unauthorised channels.
* Friends, post 20 years after it first appeared on TV, is still the quintessential show about being 20 or so. It may lack smart phones and drug-fuelled clubbing, but perhaps that's why it holds up. It ranked among the world's most watched television shows from the late 1980s until the mid-2000's, as they were broadcast in and out of the US to almost one billion viewers. In India, Friends was pretty much their first exposure to the American culture and the American way of life, which the Indian audience loved.