Archive for the ‘TV Shows’ Category

Aamir Khan has the midas touch – anything he touches turns to gold. His films make the most money and every new launch breaks previous records. He shuns award shows, rightfully so, award shows have become ways to award film industry children more than talented actors, and anyway Aamir is laughing all the way to the bank! Any movie that has Aamir’s stamp is bound to be awesome. I think he is the most respected actor in Bollywood today, and he has successfully stayed out of controversies unlike Shah Rukh (proposing to Priyanka Chopra in an audience full of politicians and the like while married with children, mid-life crisis?) and Salman Khan (bad boy of the industry). So while Shah Rukh and Amitabh Bachchan are making money from Kaun Banega Crorepati (Who Wants to be a Millionaire), Salman from Dus Ka Dam (Power of 10), Aamir is making greater waves with his Satyamev Jayate.

Aamir launched his new show this month with Star Plus, Satyamev Jayate. Satyamev Jayate means truth always triumphs, from the inscriptions on the Ashoka pillars. I caught up on two episodes yesterday after my mother told me that he is getting Rs. 3 crores per episode ($3MM)! Every single person, adult or child, should watch this show all over the world, not just Indians. The show is doing a great job bringing awareness about age-old practices in India, and possibly worldwide.

The first episode touched upon foeticide. When the British took over India, they tried to eradicate the practices of female infanticide. Even today, 72 years after independence, foeticide is still being practiced across the country. One would think that advancement in medicine would save lives, quite the contrary. Sex is detected sooner now, hence a better likelihood of foeticide. Doctors are running clinics especially for this purpose. Despite documented proof, the government doesn’t do anything. Like Fareed Zakaria said at an event I attended, “China is advancing because of its government, India is advancing despite its government”. Its true. Indian government does more harm than good in the country. The show brings that to light since lawsuits go on for 10+ years even with solid proof.

A few women came on the show to discuss their plight. In all cases mothers wanted to keep their child but their husbands and in-laws got girls aborted, sometimes without the mother’s knowledge by taking her for “doctor checkup”. Doctors are in on it. In one case a man ate, I mean ate his wife’s face while his family looked on, she lost her child and had to get stitches. What types of animals are these men? I am filled with disgust for men and their families in general just with the thought of this. In a lot of cases, educated people do this. One woman herself was a doctor, her husband a doctor, MIL Vice Principal of school, and FIL similarly educated. Yet they practiced female infanticide and tried to kill the live daughter after she was born. Who are these people? Why kill women? Because of the dowry system. It is hard to get poor women married due to dowry demands. Population of men has exceeded women, now men are finding it hard to find women to marry. So what do they do? Buy women from poor families, sell her, or have sex with her and get others to do the same. Either way a woman loses.

The second episode was about child abuse. One guy talked about his abuse, in most cases the abuse happens at their house right under the parents’ nose without their knowledge. It was so heartbreaking. I know someone close who was sexually abused for several years and it all came out in resentment years later. It is so depressing and heartbreaking that men abuse others as young as 6 years old, innocent kids who have no idea what is going on. Who are these fucking assholes? One guy shared on the show how he was abused for years since he was 6, he tried telling his mother who wouldn’t believe it. He said he was bleeding, and she said perhaps he is eating too many mangoes! Parents cannot even fathom sexual abuse. The only person he spoke to is his German shepherd dog, who somehow sensed what he was going through as soon as he came home.

I wish the show showed photos of abusers so that they become social pariahs and everyone shuns them. There is very little awareness about child abuse in India, in a lot of cases parents cannot even imagine that people they know so well could do this. Children don’t know what is happening so cannot tell their parents. One girl came on the show to share her story, she spoke of how communication is very open in their family yet she could not tell her parents. 53% of people surveyed were abused as children. A lot of Indian men live in a repressed society where topics of sex are taboo and there are restrictions around what women can wear and do, this is how that repressed society pays.

I feel like having a Facebook page and asking all the abused to join and post photos of abusers, get everyone to shun these disgusting parasites. Despite education and advancement, instead of moving ahead India is moving backwards.

This time when I went to India, my sister shared horror stories about life in Delhi. I thought Delhi would be the safest place being the capital of India, quite the contrary. People don’t talk, they shoot. I feel so much safer being in the US. There is so much corruption in India, terrorists shoot innocent people in broad daylight yet cases continue for years. Why? I feel for the people who have to go through this. Its so terrible.

Aamir’s show not only brings about awareness, but also talks about solutions. He promotes relevant NGOs, and asks people to text their support, all proceeds from the texts will be donated to support the NGO. He conducted a workshop with kids as well to communicate which body parts others should not touch. Now if only Aamir took a portion of that Rs. 3 crore and donated to these NGOs as well, he doesn’t need the money!

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I watched the first few seasons of America’s Next Top Model before Tyra became obnoxious and her Vaseline incident. I found it a tad entertaining, and Elise from season 1 was my favorite. Over time, the seasons became insane with loser girls who had nothing common with a model, and Tyra became a raving lunatic. ANTM is by far the worst of all top model shows, and its only saving grace is the awesome international versions.

My favorite is Germany’s NTM. Heidi Klum hosts it, and the show is extremely long. She drags out the portion where the girls are told one by one whether they will stay or go. The girls are gorgeous, and I won’t be surprised if they get tons of international work. A sweet girl spends hours and hours translating the show and posts it on YouTube – you really have to admire the level of effort! My second favorite is Australia’s NTM. The girls are very young so there is some drama, but overall the show is very nice. In both shows the girls are treated like adults unlike Tyra who can stare her girls to death. The winner of the first season of AusNTM, Alice, is extremely gorgeous and has been on the runway for various top designer brands. I adore her! Both shows have real casting, real jobs, especially GNTM.

Canada’s NTM is not too bad. Jay Manual is the host and he does a decent job of it. The girls are not too bad either, but not model-like. I watched some parts of Britian’s NTM, but it is as bad as ANTM. The previous hostess was terrible to watch, and she kept channeling Tyra. Elle Macpherson is the new host, but I cannot watch the show because the girls are bad, and it feels as though the show is trying to hard to be like ANTM which is not a good one to imitate to begin with.

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I love Sundays! 9-10pm = True Blood, 10-11pm = Mad Men. Whats not to love? I am glad to see Don Draper back in action, and Peggy more confident and modern with a cute hairstyle. I caught up on previous seasons having missed them when they ran on TV, and was disgusted by Don Draper. He is a brilliant ad exec but a mess on the personal front. I felt sympathetic for his wife-cum-homemaker Betty, and yet her coldness towards her kids washed away the sympathy. Joan’s sassiness and Peggy’s rebellious nature and ambition made both my favorite women. Roger’s awesome one-liners were charming. Yay, Mad Men is back! And so refreshing after the gory scenes of True Blood. It was a slow start, but as usual will hopefully pick up the pace during the series. Don still disgusts me, but his undeniable charm and Jon Hamm’s “endearingness” make it so hard to hate him.

By far my favorite episode was when Lois smashed the British executive’s foot, and my second fav was the last epiosode previous season when they leave the company to start a new one. I love the show for its dark humor and confident women.

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I watched True Blood before reading all the books, and liked it. Sookie seemed like a good fit. Then I read all the books, and fell in love with them. The characters came to life, and the show made it so much better. Every single character is amazing and plays the role with aplomb, except Anna Paquin. After reading the books she just did not fit.

I don’t think Anna is a good actress, and fails to connect with the role or the audience. I don’t see her as Sookie. There are times when she gives weird expressions that look blank and say nothing. She comes across as arrogant and silly. She cannot do scared – she starts breathing heavily when she is scared which is so fake. A good actress would show fear on her face, not in her actions. I cannot bear to watch her.

Last week’s episode was terrible except for Lafayette-Eric-Pam scenes. I love the trio. I like bad Bill too – good Bill was nothing but Sookie’s bitch, bad Bill is dark and exciting. Alcide and Sookie have absolutely no chemistry, and there was a disconnect in their scenes. Having so many other characters helps in that I don’t have to put up with Sookie. The casting director made such an excellent call with every other cast, why did he/she miss out on Sookie, the lead heroine? Why Anna Paquin? It has completely distorted my imagination of book Sookie, and I always imagine her as the gap-toothed Anna with blank stares and zero chemistry.

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I recently started watching True Blood, a story about vampires. I got into vampires when I started watching Vampire Diaries. Frequenting forums, I found out that Twilight books were for teenagers, Vampire Diaries for young adults, and True Blood was for adults. I watched all episodes of VD and TB, and started on the books. My first was the classic Count Dracula by Bram Stoker – the book depicts vampires as blood-sucking ruthless “undead”. I finished it online over a weekend. Then I started VD – all the books were enjoyable reads, except for book 5 which was released this year. I could not go beyond a couple of chapters in book 5.

Then I got into True Blood series – the best of the lot. If you have to read one vampire series it should be Sookie Stackhouse books on which True Blood is based. The best part of the series is Sookie Stackhouse, who is telepathic and this skill is very useful to vampires. The vampires are so damn sexy, and my favorite is Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgard – could not have been played by a sexier guy!!! I like Anna Paquin as Sookie – if you don’t read the book and just watch the series, there seems to be a mis-match. But once you read the books, you understand her as Sookie and Anna fits the character well. Her quirkiness, ponytail jumping up and down, wild independence, courage, all fit. But the TV series does not hold a candle to the books. The beauty in the books is Sookie’s thoughts. Sookie has an awesome sense of humor, and she applies it in her thoughts. Things like “I am simple that way. All it requires to make me happy is a dead guy in the sack” after her love-making with Bill the vampire make you just love the character. Its hard to depict thoughts in the TV series – you could use a background voice, but there is only so much attention TV can hold by focusing on one character. If the TV series has to go through several seasons, other characters have to have a life beyond their involvement with Sookie, while the book is all about Sookie and other characters in their dealings with Sookie.

The sad thing is that book 9 is not as good as the first 8. Book 9 came out after the True Blood series, and the author probably wanted to keep Bill and Sookie together since the actors are a real-life couple, so wrote more of Bill into the story. Plus the book lacked the innocence, humor, and storyline that the first 8 had. I hate it when authors and their editors feel the pressure from the film or TV industry to write for TV/films rather than continue the same tone in the books – way to ruin a good book.

This is my favorite scene from True Blood – Bill is extremely sexy and both are oozing tons of chemistry in the series. But nobody nobody is sexier or more awesome than the towering 6’4″ tall Swedish Alexander as Eric.

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Vampire Diaries

I recently got into the show Vampire Diaries. I am growing to like CW11 shows – Gossip Girl, and now VD. As the title suggests, the show is about vampires and is based on a series of books by the same name. I completed two books in the series, but the show is way better.

Stefan is a vampire 165 years old. He has an older brother, Damon. Stefan has stopped killing people for blood and instead survives on animal blood (per the book and hinted at slightly on the show). Damon, OTOH, has no qualms about killing people and drinking their blood, which makes Damon more powerful than Stefan.

Stefan lives in Mystic Falls (Falls Church in the book, located in Virginia). He goes to school and comes across Elena, who is a doppelganger of his long dead love, Katherine. Damon loved Katherine too. In the book, Katherine is a vampire who turns both Damon and Stefan into vampires. Both brothers hated each other. Katherine was kind and had a good heart, and since she could not choose between the two, she killed herself because both brothers wanted her to choose. This increased the rift between both brothers. The books focus more on the love triangle between Elena, Stefan, and Damon, with the scale tipping in favor of Stefan and Elena. Book Elena is selfish, a typical teenager, popular in school, and has a dark side.

The show is much more amazing, and has reversed Katherine and Elena. Show Katherine is ruthless, mean, and selfish, while Elena is mature and good-hearted. Damon is intrigued by Elena but the love triangle is not yet in the picture – not sure if the show intends to go there. But the show does intend to bring Katherine back, probably to wreak havoc. She will for sure throw a fit when she sees Elena, and Stefan in love with Elena.

In this story, vampires are converted if some vampire drinks their blood and feeds them their blood. If someone dies with vampire blood in their system, they become vampires after they are dead and need human blood to survive. Damon and Stefan are the only few vampires who can move around in the sun due to a ring that they came in possession of through Katherine. They can eat and drink other food too like normal human beings and consume a lot of alcohol to keep away the craving for human blood. They cannot enter any residential area unless invited in, and once invited they can come in as and when they desire. They can compel and manipulate other people to do whatever they desire. They have very good senses, and can move very fast. On the show, Katherine compels Stefan to love her while she did not need to compel Damon since he already loved her.

The show uses very dark background and setting to add mystic to its characters, and Stefan and Damon look fair with red lips which is so typical of vampires. Stefan has this deep and brooding look with sunken eyes. Elena is a brunette who is as brooding and serious as Stefan. The dialogs are amazing!!! They are humorous and show how much Stefan and Elena have in common, which adds to their chemistry. Elena’s best friend Bonnie is a witch, and there is a werewolf lurking somewhere in the story. The show also refers a lot to the history of the town, which is depicted through Elena’s parents books read by her younger brother. Elena lost her parents recently and is trying to move on with her life. Elena’s other friend, Caroline, is a sweet blond who is looking for the perfect hot guy. Everyone on the show is so good looking. Stefan and Elena have oodles of chemistry which builds with each episode. While the over-arching theme is that Stefan is not as strong as Damon, there are glimpses into Stefan’s strength and potential dark side. Damon’s careless confidence, charming ways, and brutality will surely get him into trouble.

Small things like Logan (a new vampire) not being able to enter his own house because he lived alone and has nobody to invite him in, Elena’s asking Stefan “are you thirsty” (duh he is a vampire and you know what thirst is for him), and Stefan’s telling Elena that he keeps a journal to keep memories intact (well, if you live for 165 years, its a long time to remember things!!) add a touch of humor to the overall dark tone. The show is amazing, and I do hope it keeps the pulse alive till the end. And in subsequent seasons. Most shows fizzle out in following seasons after the first wave of popularity, which is what happened to Gossip Girl, Heroes, and The Apprentice. I hope this show stays for good.

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Perfect Bride – crappy show

Since I have temporarily put up at a friend’s place and they have RCN, I upgraded my service to Indian TV channels. 10-11pm is boring time – nothing plays on TV. So I checked out Perfect Bride. What a crappy show! And I cannot believe the judges are high-profile Malaika, Shekhar Suman, Amrita Rao, and Farah Khan. Guys and girls stay in 2 different houses separated by a big door, and the girls stay with the guys’ moms. Drama ensues between girls and moms. Guys have to get to know the girls as do moms as potential brides. Such a cheesy show! So filmy, with love triangles, oversmart mom, traditional mom, shy girl, outspoken girl, etc.

Two moms on the show annoy me – one over-interfering and one who thinks she is young and intelligent. The best MIL is one who is quiet, patient, and has a low enough self-esteem so that she doesn’t interfere because she thinks her ideas are not good enough. Seriously, only such Indian MILs make the best MILs.

There are so many different types – the educated MIL who is independent but traditional for the DIL (double standards); the one with a very low self-esteem and sends her son to a guilt-trip every now and then to get her way; one who is over smart and thinks she is extremely intelligent and so tries to govern DIL’s life and tell her son how he should live his life and of course interferes in everything; one who is clingy and unfulfilled with her own husband and life and tries to get fulfillment from her son; one who indulges in self-pity and cries and complains to everyone around her so that everyone takes pity on her and treats her DIL like a monster; one who is manipulative and uses tantrums, crying, ill-health, and “sacrifices” to emotionally blackmail her son; the overly-dramatic one who cries at the drop of a hat and makes everything about herself — wait, all these qualities are present in some form in my MIL!!!

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