Saturday, February 10, 2007

Showbiz India or Hurray for Bollywood

Everybody knows how much I love watching TV, but unfortunately, so often it is a vast wasteland. On the weekends, especially during the day, it is nearly impossible to find anything to watch. So, I often look for the really obscure shows, usually in foreign languages. Sabado Gigante is always reliable. I don't speak Spanish well enough to understand everything, but they have enough hot chicks and all around zaniness to keep me interested.
Today, I uncovered an absolute gem, though.
It is on Satuday mornings. Not exactly prime time, but that is what makes it such an undiscovered gem.
After watching it today, I knew I had to review it. Usually I give shows a couple tries before I do so to make sure that it is quality viewing, but this is so good that I would be remiss in my self- appointed duties as pointer outer of TV shows you may have missed. I need a better title. For now, I'll go as "The Channel Sherpa" I guess.
Anyway, the show opens with the theme from the A-Team, along with shots very similar to that classic TV show. Everybody knows the opening is one of my favorite parts of any show. Give me a good opening theme and I'm half-way to TV Nirvana.
Anyway, the program features Bollywood movies and other things Asian Indian. If you have never seen a traditional Bollywood movie, immediately go to Blockbuster and rent a couple. I don't know if they have subtitles or not, but they don't need any. Not that I speak Hindi, but traditional Bollywood movies are visual spectaculars. I think I enjoy them even more because I don't speak the language. The movies almost always seem to start out with a guy noticing a woman. A casual glance across a field, or some such thing. This is usually followed by a song and sensual dance. Then pirates show up, and a huge battle ensues between the star and the pirate leader. Soon after the pirates are dispatched, the viewer will be treated to an extravagent dance number with everybody from the entire movie (including the pirates, sometimes.) I just saw one scene from a movie that had pirates, acrobats, and clowns. Who could ask for more than that in one dance number?
They also highlight many music videos featuring lots of dancing. While a few songs may be in English, many are not. But all are visually stunning. Some may be like MTV (PG-13) but a lot are the old-fashioned type with ornate costumes and graceful movements.
And the one hour episode is just crammed with entertainment value. Today a behind the scenes look at a new Bollywood movie was a focus of a big part of the show. If anyone doesn't understand, or is unaware of the impact of Bollywood, note that a major project co-starring Johnny Depp is in the works. Hugh Grant will also appear in a role with a major
Bollywood star (I missed whether he was in a Bollywood movie, or if the Bollywood star is in a Hollywood flick.)
Commercials are limited, and the long breaks associated with network TV just don't exist.
I love this show, and rate it a very solid 8.8.

It's a new month, so here's a quick review of my ratings system:
10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.
9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.
8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.
7-- Not quite good enough to tape. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.
6--Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs.
You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.
5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more.You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a 5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.
4--Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks. Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.
3--Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.
2-- About the same as a good infommercial. QVC is a 2.
1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!