Author: Sanchari Goswami Majumdar
How Different Are Indian TV Serials From The Modern Indian Web Series?
We all need entertainment in some form – be it movies, books, or theatre. However, since the invention of the Television set, it has become the most powerful form of audiovisual medium of entertainment. The one thing airing on television sets that impact us the most: TV serials. It had defined a whole generation of people sitting on their couch waiting for their daily soap to arrive and watching them, back to back, for ages on end.
Nowadays, however, a new form is trying to take the place of TV serials: web series. Web series has claimed a new place in the minds of the younger generation. It gives standard content in a more concise and interesting manner. In a family, we can see older people are watching serials whereas young people love watching web series. Both TV serials and web series work as a stress buster. Therefore the battle between TV serials versus web series begins.
The Main Contrast
TV serial versus web series is the current conflict in the entertainment world. Both have a set of loyal followers. TV serials are mainly shows which are family-based, long-lasting with lots of melodramas. Web series are short and straightforward stories. It has a stock of numerous narratives. Mostly, TV serials are watched by people of the older generation or those who cannot afford the cost of the internet. On the other hand, web series are watched by the younger generation who have a time constraint.
Here I am penning down certain differences that a present in Indian TV serials and Web series (this is my opinion):
TV serials versus web series will be there because of the content as in TV serials, the female is the protagonist and the actions of the male characters decide the movement of the story. The serials are mainly open-ended narratives. Along with the main plot, there are parallel plots and subplots with loads of multiple characters. Sometimes subplots are given more focus than the main plot. In some cases, it fails to do justice with a given title and diverts from the main storyline. Even unique stories at some point prioritize family-related issues like marriage, the upbringing of a child, household work, impressing family members, saving the whole family from the main antagonist tricks, etc. The protagonist suffers the most throughout the story. Even if she’s a successful lady, she forgets her career and focuses only on solving household issues.
Regarding web series, all the characters and plots centre around the main storyline. Sub-plots also connect the main plot in a proper way. The main lead can be anybody and the story moves smoothly. The story always seems real and the characters seem relatable. It serves the purpose of both education and entertainment. It is more realistic, precise, and literal in its approach to the story. They bring up unique stories that can be either from real-life or from the fantasy world. These stories are also open-ended but not intricate and extremely long-lasting like TV serials.
In this point of TV serials versus web series, the time factor plays a pivotal role. Web series are mainly 10 – 15 episodes in one season and the duration of each episode is generally in between 22 – 48 minutes. It is not long-lasting and so younger generations adore it a lot more as they don’t have to invest more time to watch it. Sometimes, there is more than one season and each season has a gap in between them. It saves time and develops an interest in the audience.
TV serials are long-lasting. They run on the basis of TRP ratings. A serial can run for a minimum of six months to several years. A higher rating means the chances of lasting it for a long time. It continues to run without any break in between the seasons. The duration of each episode is between 23 – 45 minutes. Some people love it as they find continuity in the story. They can spend their time enjoying them for a longer period as well.
Drama and Music
TV serials are more melodramatic, sluggish stories. Sometimes background settings, look of characters, synchronization of the plots are not at all matching the story and seems unreal. Unimportant scenes are given priority. Dialogue delivery is lengthy and monotonous. Background music is important in daily soap and is crammed into any kind of emotional or romantic scenes.
Web series are dramatic only. It has natural settings and the characters look exactly what the story demands them to be. Plots are arranged nicely and the story moves smoothly without any irrelevant plot or scene. Most of the time, we can relate the story easily. Dialogue delivery is felicitous. Background music is given when it is required only.
Finally, we can rephrase ”TV serial versus web series” with melodrama versus drama.
In the case of variety, TV serial versus web series comes with an important distinction. This is because in web series we can find a huge variety of themes/genres like friendship, politics, love and romance, career, thriller, supernatural, horror, detective, inspirational stories, true-life stories, etc. Some stories are real, relatable, and educational whereas others are just for entertainment.
TV serials try to show serials that are relatable and some stories are extraordinary also. But most of the time they focus on household issues more. Treachery, adultery, rebirth, plastic surgery, developing an emotional bond among the family members and misogyny are mostly seen. This is quite repetitive in almost every daily soap which is broadcasted. Thus, the audience might lose interest in watching the serial throughout its entire runtime.
We can see web series on smart devices like smartphones, personal computers, or Smart T.V. as and when we desire. It is always available on the web channels. We can watch it while doing some activity or simply lying and winding down. The audience can binge and watch all the episodes at a time or if they pause in between an episode, they can start watching from there without missing any scene.
For serials, we have to sit in front of the television at the scheduled time. If we miss any scene or episode, we can’t watch it again. Also, we cannot watch all the episodes at a time and have to wait for the next day.
Nowadays, serials are also available in different web channels, which help the viewers to watch it in their time.
Internet is now cheaper than before. Most of the people can afford it. This is the reason which made social media so popular. But there are some drawbacks also. A person must have a proper device and a strong internet connection which will allow him to stream such series easily. Also, they have to subscribe to some web channels to view such programs. Mobile data is not sufficient always because they can exhaust quickly or the internet connection is poor or fluctuates a lot. Not all people can afford expensive internet connections or devices.
In the case of television, we get a dish connection and cable connection. Cable providers give us different channel packages. One may buy it according to one’s choice and budget. Even if we choose a cheaper package, a person can have some channels where films, cultural programs, news, and TV serials will be available. So, we can say it is a more budget-friendly and largely available audiovisual medium even now.
The issue of which is better and who will win the fight: TV serials versus web series – can be a long one without any conclusion. The future of both is going to be determined on the basis of how much and in what way the audience is going to consume and enjoy both these forms of entertainment.
In the next part, I’ll discuss how the audience perceives TV serials and web series and get further insight into which is better: Indian TV serials or Indian Web series.
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Very well written and correctly described…..being in the middle of my age I have seen enough tv serials once and now watching web series (specially in this period of lockdown) with my daughter or sometimes alone…I have been somehow addicted to the web series now…I don’t feel like watching TV anymore…can’t really say what will be the future for both…but binge watching can increase your blood pressure and can leave you in stress, so there should be a control over yourself…