The increasing number of web series have provided the audience enough substance to start looking at various streaming platforms as their primary source of home entertainment. In 2018, the ease of streaming thanks to the increasing Internet speeds and wide bouquet of shows on offer, catering to every taste from the mundane to the bizarre, made more viewers gradually shift towards an online-only viewing habit.
The year saw some great web shows. Here we list out the best web series of 2018 in no particular order.
5. Sacred Games
Multiple platforms have been trying to hit the nail on the head when it comes to nail-biting Indian web series but trust Netflix to achieve it on their first attempt and that’s exactly what they did with Sacred Games. The Vikram Chandra book was adapted into a Netflix original series and the series got a huge following as soon as it started streaming. The cat and mouse game between an underworld don and a cop played by actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Saif Ali Khan, respectively, was an instant hit.
Directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, India’s first Netflix original saw its share of controversy when a certain political party did not like the way their leader was represented. The use of cuss words and nudity on screen also raised eyebrows.
This Netflix mini-series starring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul was a dystopian thriller that kept the audience hooked from start to finish. The horror drama also tackled social change vis a vis religion in an effective and dramatic way. Produced by Phantom Films, Ivanhoe and Blumhouse and directed by Patrick Graham, this show tried was based on the Arabic folklore of the myth of jinns.
Indianexpress.com had earlier asked Radhika Apte if it scared her as the dystopia shown on the show could one day become our reality and she had said that it wasn’t too difficult to imagine,“It is not too difficult to imagine that world as in a way it is our current state of affairs. There are parts of it you can see it around us. You can see that sort of extremism in so many things. Not just when it comes to religion but on so many levels in the society, everybody is not so tolerant.”
3. Yeh Meri Family
TVF’s Yeh Meri Family gave us a strong dose of 90s nostalgia. The story of a close-knit family with young kids was quite unique for a web series. Without being preachy, the series struck a chord as it captured the mood of the 90s with timely songs and elements that were unique to the decade. The antics of the middle-class family resonate well and the series was a breeze to watch.
Starring Akarsh Khurana, Mona Singh, Vishesh Bansal and Ahan Nirban in significant roles, Yeh Meri Family never loses the grip through its seven episode run.
2. It’s Not That Simple
Messages of empowerment, gender bias and assertions of feminism come wrapped in ample melodrama and implausible scenarios in Voot’s web series It’s Not That Simple, which returned for a second season earlier this month.
The first season, starring Swara Bhasker as Mira, followed a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage as she discovers herself through an affair. After deciding to walk out on her husband of eight years at the end of season one, Mira returns for the second installment as a single mother juggling her domestic responsibilities with her ambitions of launching her architecture firm. Her way to independence and success are paved by betrayal and heartbreak. Also starring Purab Kohli, Sumeet Vyas, Vivan Bhatena and Karanveer Mehra, the series has been directed by Danish Aslam.
At the end of the two seasons, Mira emerges as a vulnerable woman who has hidden strengths and seeks to be empowered, but isn’t quite there yet. Despite talk of independence and self-discovery, Mira routinely ends up seeking comfort and support in flawed men. Arguably, that’s a far more relatable character than that of a strong, independent woman, since the route to empowerment can be elusive, tricky and challenging, with falls and missteps along the way. It’s not quite clear, however, if the makers intended Mira to be that kind of a woman.
1. Bose: Dead/Alive
Bose: Dead/Alive is an Indian historical period drama web television miniseries based on the book India’s Biggest Cover-up by activist Anuj Dhar that was released on JioCinema at ALTBalaji on 20 November, 2017 IST. The show stars Rajkummar Rao, portraying Subhash Chandra Bose, with supporting roles including Naveen Kasturia as Darbari Lal, Edward Sonnenblick as Stanley Allen, and Anna Ador as Emilie Schenkl.