Category Archives: TV (International) ALL

THE AWESOME TV SHOW EP 4: Emmy noms roundup + 20 Shows to watch #FILMCOMPANION

Note: This video was written & hosted by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Film Companion. Check it out on YouTube here: https://goo.gl/SEfkY9

From June 2016, I have been hosting a YouTube Show called The Awesome TV Show for Anupama Chopra’s YouTube Channel, Film Companion. In the fortnightly show (mostly), I recommend awesome television shows to watch, recap and review new episodes of some of the best ones and gives loads of lists on what to watch and where.

EPISODE 4
In Episode 4,  I dissect the hits and misses of the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. I break down the long list of front-runners into the good (The Americans is finally nominated!), the bad (Jessica Jones snubbed) and the ugly (No Narcos!)


NOTE: Watch the playlist of ALL episodes of The Awesome TV Show so far here: https://goo.gl/t59b7b


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Note: This video first appeared on the Film Companion YouTube channel on July 20, 2016.
Link: https://goo.gl/SEfkY9
Picture courtesy: Film Companion. 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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THE AWESOME TV SHOW EP 2: GoT Battle of the Bastards + 5 Great Shows #FILMCOMPANION

Note: This video was written & hosted by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Film Companion. Check it out on YouTube here: https://goo.gl/CIR3kc

From June 2016, I have been hosting a YouTube Show called The Awesome TV Show for Anupama Chopra’s YouTube Channel, Film Companion. In the fortnightly show (mostly), I recommend awesome television shows to watch, recap and review new episodes of some of the best ones and gives loads of lists on what to watch and where.

EPISODE 2
In Episode 2,  I recommend 5 more great shows of 2016 and recap the Game of Thrones episode, ‘Battle of the Bastards’.


NOTE: Watch the playlist of ALL episodes of The Awesome TV Show so far here: https://goo.gl/t59b7b


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,

on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the video? Leave your comments below!
Note: This video first appeared on the Film Companion YouTube channel on June 22, 2016.
Link: https://goo.gl/CIR3kc
Picture courtesy: Film Companion. 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.

MOST AWAITED ENTERTAINMENT OF THE SUMMER 2016 #MOVIES #TV #HT48HOURS

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor HT 48 HOURS.

MOVIES

This past weekend, Hollywood’s much-awaited ‘summer season’, a magical time when tentpole movies obliterate the box office, dawned on fans worldwide, as easily the most anticipated film of the year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (crash) landed in theaters. It may well be that in the battle between two of the biggest comic superheroes of all time, it is the audience that lost. But there is good news in that the next three months have some epic entertainment lined up for movie buffs, and the wounds inflicted by Zack Snyder and gang will get several chances to heal. Here’s a look at the five most awaited event films of the next quarter:

The Jungle Book (April 15) – Jon Favreau serves us nostalgia on a platter with a live action version of the classic cartoon from all our childhoods. With an all-star cast starring the voices of Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa and Idris Elba as Shere Khan, this is an unmissable ride back in time.

Captain America: Civil War (May 5) – The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) Batman/Superman battle may’ve turned out a damp squib, but all eyes are on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) fight between its own superheroes, Iron Man and Captain America. This one is bigger and badder as it’s a ‘war’ between two factions, with Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and others on the Cap’s side and Black Widow, Ant-Man and more on Tony Stark’s. With the all new Spider-Man joining the fun, trusted directors Anthony and Joe Russo may have a winner on their hands.

X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27) – If Warner Bros brought a battle and Disney’s bringing war, Fox has an entire apocalypse on its hands with X-Men’s latest multi-starrer juggernaut. Familiar mutants Professor X (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) come together with fresh blood in young Jean Grey, Cyclops and more to fight the ‘immortal and invincible’ Apocalypse (Oscar Issacs), who’s helped, but obviously, by Magneto (Michael Fassbender). If trailers are anything to go by, this one’s sure to rain fire at the box office.

Warcraft (June 10) – June will bring to screens another fantasy epic but this time the universe isn’t out of a comic book but based on the exceedingly popular video game series of the same name, Warcraft. Humans will battle orcs in this battle of two worlds set in the middle ages. Vikings’ star Travis Fimmel and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes antagonist Toby Kebbell star but the most exciting talent in the film is director Duncan Jones, who has proved his sci-fi mettle twice with the brilliant Moon and Source Code.

Finding Dory (June 17) – Thirteen years after endearing itself to all and sundry, Pixar follows up one of the most loved animation films of all time, Finding Nemo, with what promises to be an even more heartwarming sequel, Finding Dory. The movie centers on the amnesiac Dory (Ellen Degenres) as she set sets out to find her family, accompanied this time by Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) in what should be the beautiful, big family adventure tale of the year.

Honourable mentions go out to two un-blockbusters that may have you talking long after summer’s over. There’s Everybody Wants Some (releasing March 30), Richard Linklater’s ‘spiritual sequel’ to his cult hit Dazed and Confused that expectedly opened to raving reviews at the SxSw Festival in early March.  And then there’s Iron Man 3 director Shane Black’s return to the noir comedy genre he pretty much invented with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, with a droolworthy cast to boot in The Nice Guys (releasing May 20) starring Russel Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Matt Bomer.


TELEVISION

American television has always worked hand-in-glove with Hollywood to ensure that it reserves its best content for the fall, so it’s both at a safe distance to and from the big bad summer season. But these rules were never of any consequence to HBO that prides itself in being the Home Box Office, and over the last couple of years, it has been joined by streaming media like Netflix and Amazon that are best known for creating their own rules. So some quality entertainment’s lined up in the next quarter on our screens from both these worlds:

Game of Thrones (Star World Premiere, April 26) – Is Jon Snow dead? Is Jon Snow Alive? Is Jon Snow Ghost? Is Jon Snow a ghost? Is Jon Snow a White Walker? These questions and many more, like the meaning of the cryptic teaser trailer where the faces of the dead and the not-so-much creepily come together in one foreshadow-y image, will finally be answered when the world’s most talked and downloaded show premieres in April.

Silicon Valley (Star World Premiere, April 27) – If you thought war was only a feat that the brave and able bodied took part in, the funniest geeks on television are all set to prove you wrong in the third season of the aptly-titled silicon valley comedy.  Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) along with his squad of awkwards will take on the suits who fired him from the CEO position of his own start-up. Cue ROFLMAO humour.

The Americans (Star World Premiere, April) – If you don’t know why this show is featured on the top five most-awaited shows of the next three months, then you’ve missed out watching one of the top five shows of the last three years. A spy show set during the cold war in America  is easily – and consistently – one of the best written TV dramas, also starring one of our own, Rahul Khanna. If you need more reasons to watch it, google Indo-Russian actress, Annet Mahendru. You’re welcome.

Marseille (Netflix, May 5) – The one freshman show to look forward to in the coming quarter is, but obviously, a Netflix Show. After showing the world what it can do with a foreign-language series in last year’s outstanding Narcos, an achievement in original programming, Netflix debuts an original French-language series, Marseille, a political thriller about power and corruption in France, starring French superstar Gerard Depardieu. A French House of Cards? You can bet on it.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix, June 17) – The Emmy Awards may not have been able to decide whether Orange is the New Black should be awarded as the Best Drama or the Best Comedy over the last few years, but that only proves that no matter which way you categorise it, multi-award winning Orange is the New Black is a must-watch. The series that, along with House of Cards, first showed the world that Netflix ‘TV’ is here to stay, is back for its fourth season, and continues to promise badass entertainment.

As English-language channels in India haven’t announced its programming beyond April, it can’t be said whether some of May and June’s international premieres will screen in India, but two shows are worth keeping an eye out for. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe of Jerry Maguire fame is making his TV debut with Roadies (premiering June 26), starring Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino and many others in a show about a touring rock band’s rock-crew that may redeem the term ‘Roadies’ for Indian audiences. And then, of course, there’s season two of Manoj N. Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines (premiering May 25) anthology, season one of which was the most success Shyamalan has seen in over a decade, and this one stars our very own Nimrat Kaur!

 

Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
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Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared in HT 48 Hours in April 2016.
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 Rise of the Prestige Documentary #TV #MANSWORLD #COLUMN

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Man’s World.

You could say it was after true crime series The Jinx in January 2015 or the Serial podcast in October, 2014, or with the satirical Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in April 2014, but no matter at what exact point of time you got sucked into the world of narrative non-fiction, there’s a good chance that there is, at this point, at least one piece of immersionist style documentary filmmaking that you are wholly obsessed with.

There’s been something for everyone in the age of ‘Peak TV’, over the past few years, with the most unusual channels or platforms making a foray into fiction, so as to not be left behind in the moment in pop culture, where nothing says prestige than making a TV series. Everyone from gaming platform Playstation to e-commerce site Amazon to tech giant Apple to the History Channel has put their fingers into ever-expanding pie and so it was only a matter of time where someone decided that it was time to move beyond fiction, into other realms of storytelling.

Not surprisingly, it was HBO again that was the harbinger of change, giving audiences, yet again, a taste of something they never knew they wanted. HBO had been producing or broadcasting documentary features for a good many years, with a focus on news-making content. But it was in April 2013 that they changed the game for TV for the second time since The Sopranos ushered in the era of golden TV in 1999.

In April 2013, HBO launched Vice, a documentary TV series that brought new media entrepreneur Shane Smith’s VICE magazine and digital news channel to TV. Produced by Bill Maher with Fareed Zakaria as Consultant, the series captured public and media attention alike, through the finale of its very first season – when it sent one of its journalists to document a basketball game with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It was the first time any American TV show got access to Jong-Un, a man most famous for basically wanting America destroyed.

HBO again led from the front in 2014, when it launched a weekly news comedy show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, with a one-of-its-kind format that focused not only on satire about the week’s political or cultural absurdities, but also on one 10-15 minutes long main story that the show’s producers believe must be talked about. That story is essentially a satirical documentary-meets-rant about a hot topic of the week or the month, or even a long-standing problem, and from net neutrality to tax-exempted religious organizations to the American prison system, Oliver has taken on each with a cheeky grin.

But the narrative non-fiction storytelling device exploded into the collective conscience when Sarah Koenig’s began a weekly podcast, Serial, later that year, documenting the true crime story of the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee by her then teenage ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, who was convinced and has been in prison ever since. As Koenig unraveled the case each week, interviewing the witnesses, the prosecutors, the family and friends of both, as well as Syed himself, she opened up a Pandora’s box that revealed a life-size hole in the prosecution of Syed and a legitimate doubt on whether he had committed the murder at all. The show has since been download a whopping 80 million times and the case has since, reopened.

Two more true crime serialized documentaries have since cause worldwide sensation. HBO’s The Jinx became watercooler conversation when the accused serial murderer it followed, Robert Durst, confessed to the crime on camera. After Netflix’s Making a Murderer was premiered last December, a petition of 128,000 signatures to free murder accused Steven Avery, was sent to President Barrack Obama. Amazon has now entered, what is being called the ‘prestige documentary’ business, by premiering The New Yorker Presents, a weekly series that will bring to life some of The New Yorker’s most acclaimed stories (both fiction and non-fiction).

The success of the immersive non-fiction narrative has led to many other documentaries being developed across TV and streaming media (but obviously), even as season 2 of Serial, season 3 of Last Week Tonight and Season 4 of Vice are on air currently. With VICE taking this success a step further and launching a 24-hours documentary channel in partnership with A+E Networks called ‘Viceland’, and additionally tying up with HBO for a weekly primetime news show, you only need to choose your poison now, but there’s enough of it to go around for everyone.

6 Unscripted Series to Follow Immediately:

VICE (HBO) – Multi-season documentary series covering one or two political, economic or cultural news topic in each episode, in gonzo style on-ground journalism.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – Multi-season news comedy show featuring a main story in each episode that often puts center stage a systematic American problem.

Serial (Free Podcast) – Twelve-part true crime series following the case of convicted murderer Adnan Syed trying to determine if he indeed did the crime.

The Jinx (HBO) – Six-part true crime series following the case against accused serial murderer Robert Durst, with a sensational twist.

Making a Murderer (Netflix) – Ten-part true crime series following the allegedly wrongful conviction of accused murderer Steven Avery.

The New Yorker Presents (Amazon) – A recently premiered video magazine bringing to life some of the most talked about and acclaimed stories of The New Yorker.

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? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared in Man’s World in the March 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.

2015 TV ROUNDUP: WILL INTERNET BE THE NEW TV? #SCHOLASTICYEARBOOK

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Scholastic Yearbook 2015. The book can be bought here: https://goo.gl/JX06qa

At the fag end of September 2015, the top rated shows on Indian television were: Saath Nibhana Saathiya, Ye Hai Mohabbatein and Diya aur Baati (Star Plus), Sasural Simar Ka, Swaragini and Udaan (Colors TV), Kumkum Bhagya and Jamai Raja (Zee TV), and Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (Sab TV). Sound familiar?

Yes, if 2014 shows like Abhinay Deo’s 24, Anurag Kashyap’s Yudh and Vipul Shah’s Pukaar were hinting towards exciting times ahead for Indian television, 2015 showed that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Indian television circled back to the same old formula of women-led soap operas, even as international television seemed to be at a watershed moment in its history.

Because September 2015 was also the month American TV honoured the very best in television at its flagship Primetime Emmy Awards. And for the first time in the history of its 67 years, the biggest winners were cable and streaming TV, instead of good old network television. Cable network HBO swept the awards with a grand total of 43 Emmys, whereas streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon also took home a few big ones.

To give some context: this would be like YouTube comedy groups AIB and TVF or the newly launched digital platform Hotstar.com taking home the biggest awards over Star Plus, Colors and Zee TV at an Indian Television Awards night!

And for all you know, in the next couple of years, that may just happen. Because if there was one major development in Indian television in 2015, it was the prospect of internet being the new TV. With the rise of internet collectives like The Viral Fever, whose original fiction series Pitchers, has over 1.5 million views on each of its six episodes, and the launch of streaming mobile and digital platforms like hotstar, which has both announced huge plans for original content, ‘television’ viewing may be all set to change. In fact, HotStar’s first series is a best of both worlds, with comedy group All India Bakchod teaming up with them for a news-based series.

Both TV and film studios are also joining the race to be the next ‘Netflix’ – and there are plans for the original Netflix to come to India too – so we’re up for some fun times ahead. ErosNow, the streaming platform from Eros International, has announced three big-budget TV series, with filmmakers like Rohan Sippy and actors like Bipasha Basu associated with them.  Yash Raj Films, on the other hand, has already launched its first original series, Man’s World, through its youth division, Y Films, while Balaji Telefilms, not to be left behind, has promised ‘edgy’ content too, to exploit the fact that there’s no censorship on the internet.

By next year, it is all too likely that television may want to change its programming to keep up with all the exciting things happening on the digital front, but at the moment, just like the audiences, television network heads prefer to wait and watch.

Five Indian Television Highlights:

One more English channel – There has never been a better to time to be a fan of English-language entertainment in India. There are already about 10 channels providing the same in India, Star World being the biggest, but Viacom18 has extended its Colors’ brand to start yet another GEC, Colors Infinity. With Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt curating the programming, and original English-language shows lined up, it remains to be seen whether it or not it will be a gamechanger.

Two Food Channels – If the popularity of Masterchef India, Junior Masterchef India, Farah Ki Dawat, Sanjeev Kapoor, and food in general, it was only time before more channels dedicated to food popped up. Food Food has already been doing well, and now, with Living Foodz entering the segment with English and Hindi language shows, it looks like too many cooks aren’t spoiling any broths at the moment.

Three Sports Leagues – The Indian Premiere League may be guilty on many counts, like Lalit Modi and reducing the ‘gentleman’s game’ to Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am entertainment, but it’s certainly done great wonders for other sports in the country. The idea of ‘Sports Leagues’ has caught on and how, proven by the smashing, celebrity-driven seasons of The Pro Kabaddi League, The Indian Super League, and the Indian Badminton League.

Four New and Improved Reality Shows – Dance, Music, Comedy and Adventure based reality shows are proven hits in India. This year too, a new entrant in each genre – Dance Plus in Dance, The Voice in Music, Comedy Nights Bachao in Comedy and the upcoming ‘I Can Do That in Adventure – has upped the excitement about each.

Five Fresh Ideas That Made An Impact – The official remake of Everybody Loves Raymond, Sumit Sambhal Lega, was appreciated for re-versioning Indian sitcoms; Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’s fresh treatment of the show made it a big success, Reporters, was a novel idea that got a lot of love, Stories by Rabindranath Tagore was a stimulating piece of work by Anurag Basu, and TVF’s Pitchers was the first big internet series that proved that the audiences are ready for many more fresh ideas.

Five International Television Highlights:

One Indian star on an American TV show: At the time of publishing, Priyanka Chopra-starrer American TV show Quantico had just opened – to glowing reviews – but it was left to be seen how it would do ratings-wise. But if there’s anything that months of outstanding promotions with Chopra’s face plastered across billboards in New York and LA proved, it’s that American TV probably has its first big Bollywood star.

Two super hit network shows:  Empire and How to Get Away with Murder, as two shows that wore their diversity (behind the scenes and in front of the camera) on their sleeves, proved to critics that network TV isn’t going to go away anytime soon, but the trick is fresh voices, diverse faces, and dramatic content.

Three ends of eras – David Letterman retired from The Late Show after 22 years, Jon Stewart moved on from The Daily Show after 19 years and Mad Men ended after 8 years. American pop culture as a whole will never be the same again after 2015.

Four superheroes on the small screen – The big war between Marvel and DC comics spilled from the big screen to the small, with both DC Entertainment and Marvel Studios making a push to take over the television landscape. While DC’s big wins came through The Flash and Gotham, Marvel’s Daredevil and Agent Carter proved that the TV crown is still up for the taking.

Five shows to prove Netflix is here to stay – With the debut seasons of three big-budget and big-casted shows with big ambitions, Narcos, Sense8 and Bloodline, and two ace follow up seasons of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix has proved this year that it wasn’t only on HBO’s trail… it may just have surpassed it.


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,

on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This piece first appeared in The Scholastic Yearbook 2015.
Link: http://www.amazon.in/Scholastic-Yearbook-2015-No/dp/9351036588?ie=UTF8&keywords=scholastic%20yearbook%202015&qid=1477772519&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
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 75 Most Awaited TV Series of 2016

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Huffington Post. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/Eol0aX
2015 gave us the peak of what is being called ‘Peak TV’ with more great TV shows to watch than we could ever find time to, with streaming media like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu jumping into the mix that was already being dominated by cable TV channels like HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX and Starz (even as network TV struggled to make an impact). Even Indian creators (like TVF) and studios (like Y-Films) jumped on to the series bandwagon and gave us some fun shows to watch on the internet – and for free!

But the greatest thing about 2016 is that not only are we going to get more great *new* shows from all the above platforms, but we’ll also get more exciting new seasons of returning shows that blew our minds in 2015. Except for Fargo and Master of None (my favourite Drama and Comedy each in 2015), most of last year’s exciting shows are coming back so this may just turn out to be the greatest TV year EVER.

So here’s the ultimate guide to the 75 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016 (Fiction). If you agree/disagree with the list or the order of the list or still think there are shows I missed out (although there are some that have been left out on purpose) do give a shout out in the comments. In any case, I’d love to know what your order is. Check ’em out:

THE 30 MOST AWAITED NEW SERIES OF 2016

  1. ROADIES: Because Cameron Crowe is writing and directing this TV series for Showtime and it is produced by JJ Abrams and it stars Luke Wilson and IT NEEDS TO RELEASE ALREADY.
  2. THE UNTITLED WOODY ALLEN SERIES: Because obviously.
  3. VINYL: Because HBO has got Martin Scorsese and Terrence Winter together to make a show about sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
  4. THE NIGHT MANAGER: Because TOM HIDDLESTON and HUGH LAURIE are coming together in a spy series adapted from a John Le Carre novel… I repeat, TOM HIDDLESTON AND HUGH LAURIE!
  5. LOVE: Because Judd Apatow is getting back to his TV roots with this show about modern love on Netflix and it’s going to be amazing.
  6. LEGION: Because the creator of Fargo, Noah Hawley, has been tapped into for creating an X-Men side-quel so this is obviously going to be better than any other superhero TV series out there.
  7. THE GET DOWN: Because Baz Luhrmann is making a Netflix musical show about rap in the Bronx in the ‘70s!
  8. AMERICAN GODS: Because Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller has come on board to adapt this fan favourite Neil Gaiman novel for Starz and it promises to be epic.
  9. PREACHER: Because Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have adapted this badass comic book and one can only hope it’s not anything like The Green Hornet because it stars Dominic Cooper.
  10. TABOO: Because Tom Hardy is starring in and producing this drama series set in the 1800s and it is being made by his frequent collaborator Steven Knight (who directed him in Locke).
  11. THE DEUCE: Because David Simon, of The Wire fame, is making a drama about the porn industry in the ‘70s starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco so get ready for some Boogie Nights.
  12. WESTWORLD: Because it’s an HBO show created by Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams and has a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood!
  13. BASKETS: Because Louis CK is producing a show that stars Zach Galifianakis.
  14. ATLANTA: Because Donald Glover is coming back with a comedy after Community about the rap scene.
  15. LUKE CAGE: Because after Dardevil and especially Jessica Jones, just really cannot wait for this.
  16. LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: Because before The Defenders come together for Netflix, a superhero-ish team up’s happening over at DC with Arrow and The Flash heroes and villians including Firestorm, The Atom, White Canary, Heat Wave, Captain Cold and more joining hands!
  17. 11/22/63: Because JJ Abrams is producing this Stephen King adaptation about an alternate history plot where James Franco goes back to prevent the assassination of JFK!
  18. SON OF ZORN: Because Phil Lord and Chris Miller are back at Fox again after The Last Man on Earth with a new live action/animated hybrid comedy starring Jason Sudeikis.
  19. AMERICAN CRIME STORY: Because it’s about the OJ Simpson trial and Cuba Gooding Jr plays OJ and John Travolta plays Robert Shapiro and DAVID SCHWIMMER plays Robert Kardashian!!
  20. FULLER HOUSE: Because nostalgia.
  21. LUCKY MAN: Because Stan Lee has created this Brit superhero TV series and it stars James Nesbitt as a man who can control ‘luck’.
  22. BILLIONS: Because if Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are coming together for a Showtime series, you know it’s going to be brilliant.
  23. ANGIE TRIBECA: Because Steve Carell has created and is producing this cop comedy and it stars Rashida Jones, who is back on TV again after Parks and Recreations.
  24. STRANGER THINGS: Because Winona Ryder is making a comeback with a Twin Peak-esque psychological thriller for Neflix.
  25. SCHOOL OF ROCK: Because even though it’s for Nicklodean, Richard Linklater has created it so I’m going to watch it.
  26. INSECURE: Because the star of the blockbuster internet series, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae, has created this for HBO, so Lena Dunham better expect competition.
  27. THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE: Because Steven Soderbergh has shown that he can create the heck out of a TV series with The Knick and he’s adapting his own movie here so it promises to be super.
  28. THE YOUNG POPE: Because Paolo Sorrentino is making a TV series (!) and it stars Jude Law and it has something to do with ‘Youth’.
  29. CLASS: Because Doctor Who is getting a YA spin off and Steven Moffat is return as producer!
  30. EMERALD CITY: Because Tarsem Singh is directing a NBC series that promises to give a dark twist to the world of ‘Wizard of Oz’ and no one could have thought of all those words in the same sentence.

 

 

THE 25 MOST AWAITED RETURNING DRAMA SERIES OF 2016

  1. NARCOS: Because there has never been any other show with such scale and ambition attempted so far, and the makers of Narcos pulled it off in Season One like only the cartels could!
  2. ROBOT: Because with this show, which won the Best TV Drama at the recent Golden Globe Awards, creators Sam Esmail gave us the ultimate f**k you to this generation’s obsession with technology, in a twisted, warped, incredibly gripping way.
  3. THE AMERICANS: Because as the most consistently outstanding and most criminally underrated TV show of the last three years, the cold war spy drama is a cable TV classic that should not be missed.
  4. GAME OF THRONES: Because somehow, every year, the show manages to raise the stakes and manages to beat every expectation the millions of fans have around the world.
  5. MANHATTAN: Because as the second most criminally underrated show of the last couple of years, Manhattan is just as consistent in being brilliant as The Americans is, and is about an even more intriguing plotline: the making of the atomic bomb.
  6. BETTER CALL SAUL: Because not only did the Breaking Bad showrunners get back Saul Goodman in this spinoff, they also got back Mike Ehrmantaut and that gave us 2015’s most inimitable friendship.
  7. AGENT CARTER: Because where Marvel’s other TV shows are tonally reminiscent to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Agent Carter has been a refreshingly sassy hero, who is, for once, a heroine.
  8. THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE: Because the alternate history world that the show resides in paints a truly compelling – and frightening – picture of how our lives could have been had WWII been lost.
  9. SENSE8: Because with Sense8, the Wachowski siblings pulled off the world’s first truly global TV series, spanning four continents, trying to address the question of ‘identity’ across each.
  10. FORTITUDE: Because as Christopher Nolan had shown us with Insomnia, there is no better way to do a psychological thriller than to set it in the cold, dark, isolated Scandinavian setting.
  11. FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: Because the show’s season one proved there is more to fear when the world is on the verge of losing (to zombies) than when it’s already lost.
  12. MARCO POLO: Because it is one of Netflix’s most vivid, visually arresting, epic and criminally underrated shows, rivaling Game of Thrones in scope and spirit both.
  13. DAREDEVIL: Because the show gave us Marvel’s first thumping TV win and laid the foundation for the gritty Hell’s Kitchen setting that’s more DC than Marvel.
  14. HUMANS: Because just like Black Mirror predicted, even in the future it’s not robots we need to be afraid of, but humans.
  15. THE FLASH: Because neither Marvel nor DC have managed to make a superhero show that’s as much fun as this is – this show is what ‘comic’ books had intended their adaptations to be.
  16. SUITS: Because even in its fifth season, Suits managed to be just as exciting and entertaining as its initial run… and perhaps making Harvey Specter more human could be the arc to watch out for.
  17. BATES MOTEL: Because before there was Wayward Pines, there was – and is – Bates Motel, the origin story of Pyscho’s Norman Bates, which is just as creepy, atmospheric and unpredictable in tone and as good in writing.
  18. THE LEFTOVERS: Because no one writes about life and loss like Lost writer, Damon Lindelof.
  19. THE KNICK: Because if TV is an art, no one can paint it like Steven Soderbergh can and that’s the most compelling reason to watch this show.
  20. THE LAST KINGDOM: Because while the ‘UK’s sprawling series about Brits vs Nordics may not be its answer to Game of Thrones, it was still immensely watchable TV all the same in its season one.
  21. TRANSPARENT: Because Jeffrey Tambor.
  22. WAYWARD PINES: Because this is the first thing after The Sixth Sense that Manoj N. Shyamalan produced where he actually gave answers, which happened to be creepier than the question.
  23. DEUTSCHLAND 83: Because German citizens got the short end of the stick at the end of WWII and this cold war spy coming of age took us into their world that we never knew of.
  24. BLOODLINE: Because Ben Mendhelson is this generation’s most watchable character actor.
  25. EMPIRE: Because besides the heavy hitters in its cast, this show has had more plot in every episode of its two seasons than Mad Men had over 8 seasons… it’s a true network achievement!

 

 

THE 15 MOST AWAITED RETURNING COMEDY SERIES OF 2016

  1. MOZART IN THE JUNGLE: Because in this Golden Globe-winning comedy, Jason Schwartzmann and Roman Coppola have cast Gael Garcia Bernal and indie sensation Lola Kirke to make an ode to New York through the world of symphony orchestras.
  2. CASUAL: Because Jason Reitman is the only director today whose understanding and critique of modern love is just as sharp as Aziz Ansari’s in Master of None (which is yet to be renewed for season 2, unfortunately).
  3. RED OAKS: Because David Gordon Green has recreated the world of John Hughes through this teenage coming-of-age in the ‘80s throwback show.
  4. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH: Because Will Forte has teamed up with Chris Miller and Philip Lord (of 21 and 22 Jump Street Fame) for a post-apocalyptic comedy so how could it not be gold?
  5. CATASTROPHE: Because though season two proved to be a dampener, there is enough to like in the adult romantic comedy for couples who don’t look like Brangelina.
  6. TOGETHERNESS: Because just like all things by Duplass Brothers, this indie dysfunctional family comedy is also lovely as it’s about everything and nothing.
  7. BALLERS: Because it is from the guys behind Entourage and it looks, feels, walks and talks like Entourage but in sports and it stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
  8. SILICON VALLEY: Because if the Big Bang Theory made geeks cool, Silicon Valley made the nerds hot… property.
  9. MARRIED: Because in its second season, the comedy showed that you don’t necessarily need to be adults to be married, or at all, really.
  10. YOU’RE THE WORST: Because in its season two, handling a tricky topic like depression in such a superlative manner proved that the best laughs come from the darkest situations.
  11. VEEP: Because there are more memorable one-lines in Veep than there are comedy shows on TV.
  12. SURVIVOR’S REMORSE: Because it is not ‘Sports Entourage’ but ‘Sports Fast and Furious’ – it’s all about family, at the end of the day.
  13. FRESH OFF THE BOAT: Because as an Asian ‘Malcolm in the Middle’, FOTB is a fresh take on fitting in even when you stand out.
  14. BROAD CITY: Because girls can be ‘bros’ too, and if there ever was a show for girl bros, this is it.
  15. NEW GIRL: Because no matter how the good or bad the writing gets in different episodes, that cast is the craziest comic ensemble on TV right now.

 

THE 5 MOST AWAITED RETURNING INDIAN SERIES

  1. PERMANENT ROOMMATES: Because the first Indian fiction series on the internet and also the most popular has announced its season two with a ‘Cooooool’ poster. Sumeet Vyas’ Mikesh and Nidhi Singh’s Tanya return in what promises to be an even funnier season with quirkier characters, with Biswapati Sarkar’s brilliant writing.
  2. BANG BAAJA BAARAAT: Because the most popular Y-Films original series of 2015 directed by Anand Tiwari and counting Sumeet Vyas (Mikesh!) among its writers, about a mental wedding of Ali Fazal’s Pawan with Angira Dhar’s Shahana, and a cast that comprised theater and film legends, has also put out a teaser at the beginning of the year promising a season 2 but with no date announced. (Though I obviously know *exactly* what is happening here since I’m, *ahem*, the Associate Producer of the series #selfplug)
  3. PITCHERS: Because though there is no news yet about plans for Pitchers Season 2, there is no doubt that it will return with another season, seeing how ‘Tu Beer Hai’ has become the stuff of legend and Naveen Kasturia’s famous speech has gone viral on YouTube… and because we are yet to be told what exactly is going to happen with Naveen’s startup!
  4. BAKED: Because Delhi University Shenanigans have never been depicted in such a fun, ‘misadventurous’ way than what the three mad flatmates managed to show with their late night delivery service and it’s about time we find out what else the show has to deliver in its season two (though no date has been announced).
  5. MAN’S WORLD: Because though Man’s World season one was a complete season in itself, its theme of gender equality got it many laurels and love from the internet and it remains to be seen whether it will flip the world again in its season two. (Please note: There is no other exciting original fiction series out there so far – and even by viewcount – and hence I have had to #selfplug twice. Hopefully 2016 will have MOAR work by everyone and from everywhere!)

 

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Note: This interview first appeared in Huffington Post on January 21, 2016
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/nikhil-taneja-/the-75-most-awaited-tv-series-of-2016/
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