Category Archives: The Juice

Bollywood slayers on American TV #TheJuice #Listicle

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor The Juice.

There is no denying that after Priyanka Chopra had her ‘YAS QUEEN!’ moment starring as the ass-kicking lead of a primetime American TV series in Quantico, the floodgates finally and definitively opened for desi talent from the heart of ‘Bollywood’ to cross over into the homes – and hearts – of a global audience.

Yes, of course, Indian-origin talent from Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) and Indira Verma (Game of Thrones) to Aziz Ansari (Master of None) and Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) had already jostled their way through many struggles on to the front and center stage. But Quantico represents the first time that Indian talent from Indian cinema has been picked to be the lead of a major network series, paving the way for authentic desi flavor to take over the taste buds of American TV audiences.

Already, on the heels of Priyanka slaying it on everything from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner red carpet to the Oscar stage, Netflix has become the harbinger of more good news for Indian audiences worldwide, by announcing an original TV series set in India. A Hindi and English-language adaptation of acclaimed author Vikram Chandra’s bestselling novel, Sacred Games, the series will be produced by Phantom Films, the production company founded by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena.

It will be exciting to see which Indian actors make the cut in this already-buzzed about series, as a leading role would immediately put them on the world map. But even before we start rallying behind whoever’s announced, there are a bunch of desi actors from Bollywood who’ve been surreptitiously playing strong parts in ongoing American shows, with some even in parallel leads!

NIMRAT KAUR
The gorgeous Nimrat Kaur, who made her big screen leading-role debut with the beautifully-crafted The Lunchbox, has only been since in one Hindi film since, this year’s blockbuster hit, Airlift. But the reason for her unhurried Bollywood career is that she’s been busy kicking killing it with her strong supporting roles in popular American shows. She played a badass Pakistani spy in season 4 of the popular Homeland, and she’s just wrapped up a parallel lead role in season 2 of Manoj Night Shyamalan’s series, Wayward Pines! The American audiences can’t have enough of her, and neither can we.

TINA DESAI
Ex-model Tina Desai made her Bollywood debut with the suspect ‘Sahi Dhande Galat Dhande’ and followed it up with a couple of even more questionable films. It is then even more inspiring that she managed to break into international cinema with the sleeper hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, opposite Dev Patel. And while she’s only done the film’s sequel in the movies since, she’s been making quite a mark on TV. As one of the eight parallel leads of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, Sense8, Tina Desai has worked with the legendary Wachowski siblings – Lana and Lilly for two seasons now, with the second season scheduled to air sometime later this year.

RAHUL KHANNA
One of the very first international young Indian actors from India, Rahul Khanna, along with Rahul Bose, was one of the first few faces of crossover cinema. He dabbled in a few Bollywood films since, but after a brief lull, Khanna’s back in a big way with the Emmy-nominated series, The Americans. Playing a Pakistani agent in the period spy drama, Khanna’s arc was extended from an episode to an entire season after a fabulous performance that required him to show off not only his acting talent, but also his bottoms, in a graphic sex scene (alert: ladies!).

POORNA JAGANNATH
After starring opposite Aamir Khan in the cult Delhi Belly, Poorna Jagannathan was only seen in a brief cameo in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in 2013. But that’s because for the past three years, she’s been filming a crime drama series for premium cable channel, HBO. A part of the critical smash hit, The Night Of, was first shot with late actor James Gandolfini but after his untimely demise, Jon Turtletaub took his role and the series began work all over again. In the series that’s currently on air, Poorna plays the mother of a 20-something Pakistani boy, wrongly convicted of murder, and has received glowing reviews for her measured performance.

ARJUN MATHUR
Actor Arjun Mathur has been at the receiving end of much attention for his countless ads as well as for his MTV series, Bring on the Night. But the actor, who stole scenes in Luck By Chance, Barah Anna, My Name is Khan and the recent Angry Indian Goddesses, has added another ace up his sleeve with a supporting role in the PBS series, Indian Summers. The series also stars many veteran Indian actors like Lilette Dubey and Roshan Seth, but Arjun’s standout performance has been particularly spoken of by critics.


BOX: Where else to spot Indian actors on American TV

Anil Kapoor – After playing Omar Hassan, the President of ‘Kamistan’, Anil Kapoor made a Jhakaas appearance in the ongoing season of Family Guy in the episode titled ‘Road to India’

Purab Kohli and Anupam Kher – The charming Purab Kohli has a strong supporting role in Sense8 as the fiancé of Tina Desai’s character, while veteran Anupam Kher plays her father.

Sikandar Kher – News is that Anupam Kher’s step-son Sikandar Kher has been tapped into playing the negative lead on the second season of Sense8.

Sugandha Garg – The Jaane Tu Ya Jaana Na actress, who has been consistently starring in acclaimed crossover Indian movies, can be seen in a supporting role, along with Arjun Mathur, in Indian Summers.

Shenaz Treasury – Besides starring in around 50 episodes of the daytime soap opera, One Life to Live, the former MTV VJ and actress Shenaz Treasury can be seen as a recurring contributor on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

Freida Pinto – The first Indian actress to get leading roles in Hollywood, Freida Pinto has signed up opposite Idris Elba in a prestigious mini series Guerrilla, to be written, directed and produced by 12 Years a Slave writer, John Ridley.

Irrfan Khan – Yes, India’s most famous international export Irrfan Khan will be back again on TV after his breakout role in the HBO series, In Treament. Khan has signed up to star in an international mini-series on World War II.


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Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the August 2016 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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SCARE WARS: THE RISE OF INDIE HORROR #MOVIES #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in December 2015 for The Juice. An edited version of the piece can be found here: http://goo.gl/YEmZT3


There’s one thing common between the directors of the Spider-Man reboot (Jon Watts), Aquaman (James Wan), Doctor Strange (Scott Derrickson) and Star Wars: Rogue One (Gareth Edwards), some of the biggest upcoming summer films of the next few years: they started out with indie horror.

Watts debuted with gore-laden Clown, Edwards’s first film was a horror film titled Monsters, while Wan and Derrickson are scare-a-thon legends now, with Wan having helmed the Saw series, Insidious and Conjuring, and Derrickson having kickstarted the Sinister franchise as well as directing a bunch of other horror films like Deliver Us From Evil and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The four of them aren’t exceptions to a rule, in fact, they are the new rule – the offsprings of the ‘rise and rise of indie horror’ trend.

Directors with an indie horror background are now being picked to helm money-spinning, extravagant franchises because of their proven track record with low-budget, high-concept horror, even as new directors are readily filling those places with fresh and terrifying takes on a genre as old as the movies itself.

Take some of the biggest successes of the last few years, purely based on return of investment, and it is only original takes on horror that stand out – from home invasion thriller The Purge (cost $3 million, grossed $83 million) to supernatural horror Mama (cost $15 million, grossed $146 million) to haunted house The Conjuring (cost $20 million, grossed $318 million). There’s been no better time to experiment with unique, edgy horror, and no better time to be a horror movie fan.

The genre’s most successful producer, James Blum, whose production house Blumhouse Productions is behind everything from The Paranormal Activity to Insidious to The Purge, in a Nerdist.com interview reveals that indie horror has worked so well recently because as compared to old school tropes of VFX trickery, his films have been ‘grounded’ and ‘reel-feeling’. He’s got three main reasons on why indie horror is booming: “Horror is scarier without special effects, you don’t need movie stars in it and you need locations where you feel vulnerable, like your house or particularly, your bedroom. The more claustrophobic it is, the scarier it is.”

Blum’s methodology is just that simple: smart, inexpensive filmmaking, with legitimate ‘filmmakers’. That’s also why indie horror has been moving away from werewolves, vampires and zombies or slasher, splatter and body horror, and has recently gifted us arthouse horror, helmed by auteur directors of the future, with the focus just as much on nuances, details and superior filmmaking, as it has been on thrills. These are the very same directors who are now getting picked up to showcase their artistry on the big screen.

Take the example of last year’s most buzzed about indie horror, ‘It Follows’. Sitting at a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 96% ‘Fresh’ (contrast it with The Shining, that’s at 91%!), it was counted among several critics’ year end list of 2014’s Best Films. In an interview with Indiewire.com, RADiUS-TWC CEO Tom Quinn reveals how director David Robert Mitchell – who is Hollywood hot property now – had put together a book of visual references and had a strong sense of style, character and place. Quinn decided to produce the film because it’s a horror film that’s “character driven” and “has a real director’s point of view, which is so rare.”

Australian writer-director’s Jennifer Kent is a similar story. Her strong storytelling in last year’s The Babadook, won over Hollywood to the extent that she was in the running to direct DC Entertainment’s ‘Wonder Woman’. And then there’s this year’s The Witch. One of the first indie horror films to have got its director (Robert Eggers) a Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Direction in the Dramatic category, The Witch, scheduled for release in 2016, has had distributors lining up to bask in its reflected glory, for the spooks its offers as well as the meticulousness with which director Eggers created 1630s’ New England, where the film is set.

This trend has now resulted in several genre movie fests coming up all across the world, with Texas’ Fantastic Fest, being a horror movie fan favourite. There’s also Canada’s ‘Toronto After Dark Film Festival, UK’s ‘Fright Fest’ and LA’s ‘Screamfest’. India also jumped into the mix with the Mumbai Film Festival announcing an ‘After Dark’ section in this year’s edition, which will screen films post 11 pm and is being curated by Jongsuk Thomas Nam, a veteran curator of genre films.

With Anurag Kashyap’s Phantom Films having made a deal with Blumhouse Productions last year for a multi-year and multi-film deal, exciting times are ahead for Indian horror film buffs as well, even as they continue lapping up international indie horror films each month. As horror movie specialist Raven Banner Entertainment’s James Fler puts it in an Indiewire conversation, “What’s funny in the US might not be funny in Asia — but scary is scary everywhere.”

 

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Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the December 2015 issue. An edited version can be found here: http://www.jabong.com/juicestyle/magazine/film-indie-horror/
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

THE ORIGIN OF BOLLYWOOD SOUTH PARK #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in November 2014 for The Juice.
Like all things, Bollywood South Park started quite arbitrarily. Sagar Taneja used to work in a digital media company in Mumbai and was handling the digital strategy of Shahrukh Khan’s Don 2. When asked to come up with a “different” idea to promote the film, he thought for a day and then went on to create a South Park avatar of SRK’s character! “I’m a huge fan of South Park,” says Sagar. “My inspiration was avatars of famous celebrities like Russell Crowe, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise that have featured in South Park episodes, because I found them so brilliant.”

The SRK avatar was received well by the movie’s fans and Excel Entertainment. Some of the staff of Excel even changed their profile picture to the avatar.  That’s when Sagar knew that he may have something special.

It wasn’t until Dhoom 3 released that Sagar tried this again; and the reason was quite similar to why he made the first one. “I’m also a big fan of Aamir Khan!” he chuckles. “I realised that I really enjoy doing this, so I made avatars for Aamir’s characters in Fanaa and Rang De Basanti too. Since the response from friends was so great, I started making avatars of iconic characters from cult Bollywood films, like Crime Master Gogo from Andaz Apna Apna and Gabbar Singh from Sholay.

Sagar makes avatars of movies where the characters have an interesting look; it’s his way of paying tribute to distinct looks or iconic characters of Bollywood. It typically takes Sagar a day’s work to make the perfect avatar, because, he says, “I need to get all the smallest details right too.

“My approach to the avatars is that I don’t want them to be just cartoonish verions of the characters. I try to make the avatars as close to the characters as possible, else they’d just be another cartoon and that really wouldn’t be cool.”

For example, in the Khalnayak avatar, Sagar ensured that he got Sanjay Dutt’s blazer perfect. It had stripes on the left and checks on the right, polka dots on the tie and there was a heart on the collar.

Sagar’s only just started taking his hobby seriously by starting a Facebook page for the avatars. With over 500 likes in a week already, Bollywood South Park has begun to flirt with virality. The next step? If there is enough demand, possibly do a couple of short animated videos of the same, every once a while, because “that would be the best tribute to Trey Parker and Matt Stone possible”

Check out all of Sagar’s Bollywood South Park avatars on www.facebook.com/BollywoodSouthPark and www.twitter.com/_sagart and www.instagram.com/BollywoodSouthPark

 

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Liked/disliked the piece? Think there are more great shows that I’ve not covered? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the November 2014 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

INTERVIEW: NOUREEN DEWULF #QNA #ANGERMANAGEMENT #THEJUICE

Noureen Dewulf interviewed by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) over Skype for The Juice for the February 2015 issue.

American-Indian actress and one of Maxim’s 100 Most Desirable Women on the Planet, Noureen Dewulf, talks about working opposite Charlie Sheen, breaking Hollywood stereotypes and Bollywood plans.

Congratulations on the pregnancy! Has it been tough to juggle the pregnancy along with the last few episode of Anger Management?
Thank you so much! You know, I think you have to find a balance for yourself as a human being so it’s really not been that tough. I really want to be one of those women who has it, all you know. It’s 2014, so I don’t want to give up my acting career because I want a family and I certainly don’t want to give up on having a family just because I am a successful actor. I want everything and I know that I can do everything – I’ve always found a way of making things work. Maybe I’m naïve, but that’s my dream (chuckes).

How do you look back on possibly the biggest gig of your life, Anger Management, as it comes to an end?
I think I’m the same actress but a lot more people know who I am. A lot of people have gotten a chance to see what I’m really good at – being funny. I’ve been working for many years but this was really my first breakout hit. I auditioned against some well-known blonde actresses for Lacey, and I’m proud that I got this on the strength of my abilities as a comedic actress and not because of my ethnicity. So I really hope that it sets me up for something even greater in the future.

It’s amazing how you’ve had a career where your roles have had very little to do with your ethnicity or the colour of your skin. How did you manage that?
I had taken a decision that I’d rather not work for a while than take on stereotypical roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing Indian characters. That’s who I am and I’m so proud of my Indian heritage. But I wanted to show the world that somebody can be Indian by birth but all of her characters don’t have to consistently talk about her race. In the beginning it was tough, people would be like, ‘Why does she think she can be ethnic and not play ethnic roles’ (laughs). But I think if you develop a confidence in yourself and your abilities, and work hard and are a good performer, the same people go, ‘Why should be stop her!’

There’s also this thing in Hollywood where they try to categorise you as the ‘hot actress’.
(Laughs) Yeah, there’ve been times where I’ve had to downplay that a lot but I think, sometimes, it helps a little bit so I’m happy to use that as well. I am lucky to be seen in that way but I do try and do all sorts of different roles – I remember, in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, they covered me from head to toe because why would Matthew McConaughey’s character have this assistant around the whole time and not be dating her!

You’ve worked with some crazy A-list talent like Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Jennifer Lopez, Charlie Sheen…
I remember, on my first day of working with him, I was like, ‘Wow! Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen!’ He’s the king of the sitcoms, a Hollywood legend! I really do like him a lot as a person and I continue to be star struck by him. He’s so smart and honest, and he’s a standup guy. I don’t think a lot of people realise how nice and respectful he is. He’s a friend of my husband and mine now, we have dinner at each others’ houses. Yeah, I never thought I’d be telling the world that I’m friends with Charlie sheen but here I am (laughs).

So what have you picked up from these phenomenally talented actors along the way?
I’ve always been pleasantly surprised when I meet some of these bigger stars because they are so nice. I’ve definitely picked that up from them: the fact that they are so, so famous and yet are so kind and down to earth. You can’t live in a bubble because to be a good actor, you have to have life experiences. With McConaughey, particularly, I learnt the value of being uniquely focused, even when you are doing a comedy. From all the great comedic actors I’ve worked with, I realised that to make an audience laugh, you have to be willing to make a total fool out of yourself (laughs).

Any plans of working in Bollywood?
It’s one of my dreams! I’ve grown up watching Bollywood. The first cinematic experience I had was being in love with Hema Malini and some of these legends that my parents loved too, when we watched these movies together. I’ve gotten scripts that have been quite cool but it’s been tough to commit because Bollywood schedules are really lax (laughs). But I love India, I love Indian food, I love Indian spices, and I have a very deep connection with being Indian. Growing up, the question I was asked every day was, ‘Where are you from’, so you really identify with the fact that you are an Indian. I can’t wait to work in Bollywood.

Noureen Dewulf’s Style Files (Box)

Sense of style: Easy going, sexy and chic
Fashion must-have: Pointy black high heels and a fabulous purse
Fashion must-do: Eyeliner every day, good hair every day
Comfort dress: Jeans and a tank top
Something she’ll never wear: A mumu
Favourite shopping destination: Paris
Favourite designer: Loving all the Australian designers right now
Best style advice she has received: Never look like you tried to hard… A dress can be low cut or short but never both.
One Indian style statement she loves: Bangles with everything


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
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Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the February 2015 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MOVE OVER, TELEVISION. YOUTUBE’S HERE! #TV #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in November 2015 for The Juice. An edited version of the piece can be found here: http://goo.gl/VnU3Xk


The story of the birth of The Viral Fever (TVF), one of India’s only two independently owned YouTube channels with over a million subscribers, is stuff of legend amongst content creators today. When TVF’s founder and CEO, Arunabh Kumar’s, original TV series pitch to MTV India went south, Kumar put out a spoof on YouTube, called ‘Rowdies’, a piss take on MTV’s biggest show, Roadies, that went on to amass 3.5 million views (and counting).

That was three years ago, and YouTube in India was used primarily by broadcast and film studios to put out trailers, songs and the odd TV content. When ‘Rowdies’ went viral, it gave birth to a whole new medium of pop culture in India –  YouTube. As the video content-streaming site celebrates its 10th year anniversary, it’s amassed 60 million unique subscribers in India (as per comScore), and is today, arguably, the prime source of entertainment consumption amongst the youth in India.

In an Interview with Forbes Magazine in March, Head of Content & Operations of YouTube India, Satyanarayan Raghavan said that within the last two years, India’s climbed up to be in the top five content countries for YouTube globally. And a whole lot of it has to do with original content creators like TVF and All India Bakchod (AIB), as much as it has to do with youth channels like MTV India and Channel [V] struggling to stay relevant with tried-and-tested, ‘safe’ content.

Where the internet wins over TV, and even movies, is that there is no fear of censorship on it. Content creators can write biting satire and push boundaries in terms of genres, ideas, formats and even lingo (All India ‘Bakchod’ and Bollywood ‘Gandu’ are two of the most popular YouTube channels). So it’s not a surprise that the list of the top 10 videos on YouTube India in 2014 included ‘Bollywood Aam Aadmi Party’, a TVF satire on politics, ‘Ali Bhatt – Genius of the Year’, an AIB satire on Bollywood. These are themes that you’d be surprised to see being made fun of by archaic broadcast networks.

What has also certainly helped is the rise of content-sharing websites like Buzzfeed and Scoopwhoop, that make discoverability of good and ‘viral’ content much easier. Today, brands are grappling to be associated with AIB, TVF and other comedy groups like SnG Comedy and EIC, as well as individual talent like Kanan Gill and Aditi Mittal. eCommerce portal SnapDeal tied up with AIB for an undisclosed amount, while rumour has it that online real estate site CommonFloor paid almost a Crore to TVF for its original fiction series, Permanent Roommates, which has amassed around 7.5 million views over 5 episodes.

If the sold-out YouTube fan fest this year that saw thousands of screaming teenage fans go nuts over YouTube stars like Gill and Indo-Canadian Superwoman, is anything to go by, edgy comedy has broken the Indian internet and it may just be too late for youth TV to play catch up.

Five Must-Watch YouTube Series in India so far (Click to watch)
1. Baked (ScoopWhoop)
2. Bang Bajaa Baaraat (Y-Films)
3. Man’s World (Y-Films)
4. Permanent Roommates (TVF)
5. Pitchers (TVF)

Disclaimer: I’m the Associate Producer of the Y-Films series, Man’s World and Bang Baaja Baaraat and hence, they are not mentioned in the piece (conflict of interest!)


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Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
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Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the November 2015 issue. An edited version of the story can be found here: http://www.jabong.com/juicestyle/magazine/web-series/
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MARVEL VS DC: SUPERHERO SMACKDOWN! #TV #COLUMN #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in December 2014 for The Juice.

There’s a storm coming, superhero fans. While the ongoing battle between the two top comic book houses, Marvel and DC, was on full swing over the past few years on the big screen, starting October, things got way more intense.

The Beginning
To do a quick recap, it all began when Kevin Feige launched an independent movie studio, Marvel Studios, and put into motion plans to conquer the world of cinema by unleashing on to the world lesser known Marvel superheroes through their own individual movies and a shared Marvel Universe, starting with Iron Man, and leading up to this thing you may have heard of before, The Avengers.

Many billions of dollars and a buyout by Disney later, DC woke up to the potential of a shared universe too and struck a partnership with Warner Bros to create a DC Universe in the same way. The first movie as part of the universe was 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, will begin DC’s slow but steady march towards The Justice League featuring Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and more.

While both companies now have a total of over 30 movies planned up to 2020 and things are on autopilot in films, the focus has now shifted to TV. DC was the first to capitalise things here with 2012’s Arrow. The Flash, Gotham and Constantine launched in October this year, and although apart from Arrow and The Flash they don’t share the same universe, that’s four DC shows as opposed to one of Marvel, Agents of SHIELD, launched last year. But Marvel is trying now to replicate the success of The Avengers on Netflix, and it has lined up four individual series of superheroes like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, leading up to a miniseries team up called The Defenders, so s**t’s just got real, folks.

Why So Obsessed?
Paul Blackthorne, who stars as Detective Quentin Lance in the DC Comics’ hit Arrow that airs on Star World in India, says the reason such shows or movies work is because there is “such a deep wealth to go to in terms of mythology.” “There’s so much going on in between the characters even in scenes where nothing is said,” Blackthorne says. “Because of the iconic mythology to them, there’s a lot of emphasis on the characters and on the development of the characters. You see the comic book context but within that there are absolutely solid characters and great storytelling too, and if you’ve ever been to the writers room, it’s like kids in a candy store down there! That’s why this genre is so successful.”

And if you ask the fans, they just can’t seem to have enough of this battle between giants DC and Marvel, where the ultimate winners are the fans themselves. Superhero film fanatic Preeth S Kumar, who’s doing a PG Diploma in Film Art in USA, believes Marvel has the edge in this war. “Marvel has clearly stolen the march on launching and setting up the comic superhero cinematic universe, and they are constantly getting better at it as was seen with Guardians of the Galaxy,” says Preeth. “DC, in the meanwhile, still seems to be testing the waters and tinkering with their properties, although as a filmbuff, I have enjoyed DC’s superheroes on the big screen more.”

Comic Con India regular and comics enthusiast Utsav Chakravarty, whose views on the superhero genre are well documented through his online moniker Satan Bhagat, also concedes that while DC has the leg up with its TV universe, every Marvel releases are their fans’ dream come true.  “Marvel isn’t ‘ashamed’ to be associated with its smaller characters or TV as a medium,” he says. “Marvel’s entire TV and movie universe is interconnected (can you imagine the cameos!) whereas all of DC’s properties are in different universes and don’t even acknowledge each other. By the time DC cuts through the hubris, Marvel Studios will no longer a superhero collective, it will be a superhero conglomerate”


Box Piece:
Here are the top 4 new comic book hero releases to look out for:

Daredevil (Marvel): Because it is Netflix’s foray into the superhero genre and Netflix has a history of going ALL OUT. And because it is developed by Joss Whedon associate Drew Godard.

Agent Carter (Marvel): Because this is the first major Marvel movie lead character to get its own TV series. And because it stars Hayley Atwell, who is reprising her role from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Shazam (DC): Because it stars Dwayne Johnson as Shazam’s arch-nemesis Black Adams, and this is possibly the most positively buzzed about casting in the superhero universe since Robert Downey Jr was cast as Iron Man.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Because it will lay the groundwork for the Justice League movie. Because Ben Affleck stars as Batman. Because it stars a host of other superheroes and we don’t even know who yet.

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Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the December 2014 issue.
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THE GOOD, THE FAD AND THE UGLY OF FALL TV 2015 #TV #COLUMN #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in September 2015 for The Juice. An edited version of the piece can be found here: http://goo.gl/i4Utf8


The 30 upcoming new shows that you need to know about (and some, you really don’t)

By the time this issue is out, the greatest mystery in True Detective would finally be revealed: that of the missing plot. So we’d either find out if it was an all-out True Disaster or just a mild True Disappointment (because the time for it to be Truly Dazzling is long gone).

But even with the most buzzed show of the year turning out to be a True Dud (we can’t control ourselves!), it’s still been a good year for television already, with new shows like Agent Carter, Better Call Saul, Daredevil, Fortitude, Mr. Robot, Sense8, Togetherness, and Wayward Pines, among others, proving to be stellar critical successes… and it’s not even fall yet.

And when fall TV season – where networks unveil a blitzkrieg of new programming – finally does arrive September-end, there will be over 30 new shows to sample, and just like in Game of Thrones, they will either win or die.

Since TV-viewing is a sacred and intensely personal activity and we don’t want you to choose the wrong shows and live to regret it, we’ve sorted your to-watch list for the rest of the year. So here’s a handy primer of the good (fresh, unique, original shows), the fad (shows that builds on or starts a trend and can go either way) and the ugly (lazy shows that will be cancelled before you ask ‘Why?’) of upcoming TV shows you need to know about, and some, you really don’t.

THE GOOD

  1. Angel from Hell (Nov. 5): Anything featuring Jane Lynch in supporting roles is worth watching, so a series with her in the lead will probably be awesome too. In Angel from Hell, Lynch stars as a woman’s borderline crazy ‘guardian angel’. Lynch and crazy sounds just about right.
  2. Ash Vs The Evil Dead (Oct. 31): Big laughs. Beautiful Gore. Creator Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell. The Evil Dead series is brought to TV in its original glory by the same team, and WE. CAN’T. WAIT.
  3. Blindspot (Sep. 21): A slick trailer promising an action thriller starring filmstars, Jaimie ‘Sif’ Alexander (Thor) as a mysterious naked, tattooed woman with no memory and Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) as an FBI agent trying to find out why, but on TV!
  4. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Oct. 19): A musical romcom about a ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’ by the director of (500) Days of Summer, Marc Webb, and the writer of 27 Dresses and Devil Wears Prada, Aline Brosh McKenna. This could be the rom-com of the year.
  5. Colony: Alert: Lost’s Josh ‘Sawyer’ Holloway is back! In a show by Lost co-creator, Carlton Cuse! The show is about a family trying to survive in a colony set in future LA but does that even matter? #SawyerForever
  6. Grandfathered (Sep. 21): Every two years, John Stamos (Full House’s Uncle Jesse), is back with a new show and that old school charm, only to be cancelled. This show could be different: he still plays an eligible bachelor, but this time, finds out he’s got a granddaughter.
  7. Into The Badlands (Nov. 15): The producers of Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained and the writers of Spider-Man 2 and Lethal Weapon 4 bring a martial arts action series about ‘the badlands’ where ‘there is no God’. It had us at ‘Pulp’.
  8. Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Nov. 20): Easily the most awaited show of the rest of the year. After the fantastic Daredevil, Jessica Jones is the second Netflix-Marvel superhero series. Starring Krysten Ritter, it promises to be all kinds of badass.
  9. Master of None (Nov. 6): Stand up sensation Aziz Ansari gets his own fiction show about the life of a 30-year-old New Yorker, Dev, who constantly fails at navigating life. This should be equal parts hilarious and equal parts genius.
  10. Moonbeam City (Sep. 16): The voices of – wait for it – Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Will Forte and Kate Mara come together in an animated series parodying ‘80s cop shows. Yippee-Ki-Yay!
  11. Narcos (Aug. 28): Bonafide legend, Pedro Pascal, who lived and died as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, is back in a crime drama about drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, created by the Brazilian director behind the Elite Squad series, Jose Padilha.
  12. Quantico (Sep. 27): Priyanka Chopra is the lead in an American TV show! Yes, the trailer of the show about a group of young FBI agents, wasn’t sparkling, but it’s got good buzz, and stars our own, so we’ll be giving it a legit chance.
  13. The Bastard Executioner (Sep. 15): Kurt Stutter, the creator of The Shield and Sons of Anarchy, is back on FX, this time with a series about a, well, ‘bastard executioner, set in 14th century England, and starring True Blood’s Stephen Moyer in lead. This has us salivating already.
  14. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Sep. 28): Comedian Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show for 16 years and made it cult. As Stewart exits this year, all eyes are on 31-year-old South African comedian, Trevor Noah, who will take up his mantle.
  15. The Grinder (Sep. 29): Rob Lowe starred in three TV pilots in 2015, and all three got picked up. He’s been replaced in one, Moonbeam City has his voice, but The Grinder is the show to watch out for. A legal drama co-starring another ‘80s star, Fred Savage (Kevin from The Wonder Years), this is a surefire hit.

THE FAD

  1. Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (Sep. 15): A variety show that probably came out of the question, ‘Can we make a show where everything Neil Patrick Harris does separately, he will do all at once?’ This one should be a crowd pleaser.
  2. Dr. Ken (Oct. 2): Ken Jeong or Mr. Chow of The Hangover series, gets his own sitcom, where he plays… a physician. Another one in an assembly line of dysfunctional family sitcoms, this comes equipped with a laugh track and may just need it.
  3. Heroes Reborn (Sep. 24): When it first launched, Heroes was a one of its kind show, with heavy VFX and lots of superpowers, but today, there are superheroes being born everywhere. Jack Coleman, Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy return, and Zachary ‘Chuck’ Levi (not Quinto) star. Like the heroes at its helm, can the show survive?
  4. Life in Pieces (Nov. 5): A show about a large family where every episode tackles stories of the sub-families. Yes, this is exactly like Modern Family, but with a twist: everyone is white and straight. The only thing unique here is an interesting cast led by Colin Hanks.
  5. Limitless (Sep. 22): The slickest looking trailer of all upcoming shows is the TV adaptation of the 2011 Bradley Cooper movie, with Cooper guest starring and exec. producing too. As long as the show doesn’t fall into the trap of a procedural, this could be huge.
  6. Minority Report (Sep. 21): Another adaptation of another sci-fi action thriller, with Steven Spielberg is exec. producing and Godzilla writer Max Borenstein is developing, there is cause to be excited. The procedural trap looms large again.
  7. Scream Queens (Sep. 22): Full marks to Ryan Murphy for the sheer genius that is the concept of the show. Murphy, the creator of hits Glee and American Horror Story, has mashed up the two as Scream Queens, a teen horror comedy. Starring a *very* impressive cast in Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande and more, this is a certain smash hit.
  8. Supergirl (Oct. 26): Two men are at the center of the DC Comics’ TV universe: Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, the duo behind Arrow, Flash and now, Supergirl. The trailer of the show was mocked because a Saturday Night Sketch had previously predicted a female superhero film/series to be a chick flick, but a leaked first episode proves it’s not all kryptonite yet.
  9. The Muppets (Sep. 22): 17 years after they last appeared on TV, The Muppets are back with The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady behind it. The two hit Muppet movies over the last few years definitely helped too, and the show format – a mockumentary – promises old fun in the perfect new way.
  10. The Player (Sep. 24): The producers of The Blacklist bring another crime thriller with another former movie star (Wesley Snipes) as a smart and powerful antagonist stopping crimes every episode. Another potential hit? Maybe.

THE UGLY

  1. Chicago Med (Sep. 30) – A spinoff of Chicago Fire, this is another show about a group of doctors trying to save the day, but in Chicago.
  2. Code Black (Sep. 30) – An adaptation of a documentary, this is another show about a group of doctors trying to save the day, but in Los Angeles.
  3. Rosewood ­(Sep. 23)­– An original show, this is a show about a group of law enforcement officers trying to save the day, by collaborating with a genius doctor.
  4. Truth be Told ­(Oct. 16) – From DJ Nash, the writer behind Traffic Light, Bent, Up All Night, Guys with Kids and Growing Up Fischer – all shows that were cancelled in one season, comes a show about two married couples that will probably suffer the same fate.
  5. The Carmichael Show (Aug. 5) – Last year, a failed sitcom, Mulaney, fictionalized the life of stand-up comic John Mulaney. This year, a sitcom, The Carmichael Show, fictionalizes the life of stand-up comic Jerrod Carmichael. Doomed to fail?

BONUS: Must-Watch Returning Shows

Most of the new shows launch September-end, so here are fantastic one-season old shows to catch up on as they return with fresh programming:

  1. Empire – Hip Hop ‘gangsta’ family drama (Sep 23).
  2. Fargo – Anthology crime drama (Oct 12).
  3. Jane The Virgin – Spanish telenovela romcom satire (Oct 19).
  4. Gotham – Batman prequel crime drama (Sep 21).
  5. Manhattan – Atomic bomb creation period drama (Oct 13).
  6. The Affair – Romantic mystery drama (Oct 4).
  7. The Flash – Origin story of DC Comic’s The Flash (Oct 6).
  8. The Last Man on Earth – End of the world apocalypse comedy (Sep 27).
  9. The Leftovers – Lost creator’s mystery drama (Oct 4).
  10. You’re The Worst – Anti romcom comedy (Sep 9).

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Liked/disliked the piece? Think there are more shows like Entourage that I’ve not covered? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the August 2015 issue.
Link: http://www.jabong.com/magazine/#mybook/54
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.