Between teen werewolves, vampires, Spartans, dragons and fantasy kingdoms, the list of TV series today is as extensive as it is diverse. We’re all pretty spoiled for choice; there’s always a box set to watch that’s going to provide hours, if not days, of non-stop viewing pleasure without the menace of irritating commercials or putting up with jaded reruns. What’s better is that we get them cheaper and faster than anywhere else in the world.
Besides watching teenage vamps and their tempestuous human lovers, there’s another show that’s been trending on television. According to Aamir, “The TV series ‘American Horror Story’ is selling a lot these days.” This campy horror romp-fest has a little something for both adults and young adults, not to mention Golden Globe acclaim. Jessica Lange who plays a creepy neighbour walked away with Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Movie. With maids in French outfits, disturbed teenagers with a dark past, and an onslaught of gratuitous violence and graphic sex makes this series totally R-rated. But when has that ever stopped anyone?
Another costume-drama makes the top of our list is “Downton Abbey” which is a tale about rich British nobility, their impressive manor and the army of servants in their employ. The fact that the show recently won the Golden Globe for the Best Miniseries or Movie probably has something to do with Maggie Smith’s role as Lady Grantham, the Dowager Countess. The actor is a delight, offering the most tastefully executed examples of upper class zingers that have ever graced the screen such as, “Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”
The popularity of “Downton Abbey” in Pakistan is no surprise as there is a similar wealth disparity and excessive use of household labour in the country. We are reminded, as we yell at the cook for burning the evening’s saag pakoras, that there’s a bit of Lady Grantham in all of us.
“The TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ (GOT) is extremely popular these days,” says Haroon Ali, the Managing Director of our local DVD repository, Illusions. He believes, “Since it’s a fantasy series, it has a lot of cool models and good looking people. Overall, the way it’s been produced is also excellent.
Ali isn’t the only one singing praises for the series — the show has been adapted from the popular book series from A Song of Ice and Fire by American novelist and screenwriter George R R Martin. The show became an instant hit worldwide shortly after its release last year. To top it off, “GOT’s” Peter Dinklage, who plays the crafty, money-minded Tyrion Lannister, walked away with a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Movie.
In a review for the Hollywood Reporter, Tim Goodman sheds light on the popularity of the show. “The series has all the elements that attract viewers. As a fantasy series, it shouldn’t scare anyone away, because — like Lord of the Rings — there’s an allure to costume-dramas that pair dense mythology with all of the crowd-pleasing elements of war, honour, pride, lust, power and even humour,” he writes.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2012.