Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me the Week of Soorma?

Happy Monday!  I had a weird weekend, mostly binging Netflix shows and sleeping weird.  It was nice, I’ve had way too busy weekends lately, I needed a hunker in and stay home kind of weekend to make up.  And now I am back at work, trying to function.

You can ask me anything from the personal (“What shows did you binge?”) to the specific and factual (“What web sources provide Indian bingable shows?”) to the general discussion (“binging: good way of consuming content or bad?”).

The only rule is, you have to let me answer first!  Even if someone asks something that you know the answer to, wait for me to answer and then jump in.  The discussion just goes better that way.


Now, question for you!

What is the last movie/TV show you stayed up very very very late to finish even though you knew you really shouldn’t?

For me, Saturday I finished Sacred Games, and Sunday I finished two seasons of GLOW, which was fascinating related to the recent discussion of star persona creation.


20 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me the Week of Soorma?

  1. `
    Do you spell in “binging” or “bingein” ??

    Anyway, what advantage is it to the providers (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) to have people binge? They clearly encourage it through their formats and structure. But I can’t figure out how it makes them money.


    • I spell it “binging” but I have no idea if that is correct 🙂

      Part of it is an accident with how these streaming sites function. They film full seasons at once, unlike traditional American TV which does it week by week (BBC and PBS and the big miniserieses always do full seasons at once, it’s just traditional American TV which doesn’t). The short full season is a lot faster and cheaper to film, because you can build the sets and costumes once and shoot straight through, even mixing up shootings schedules so you can do every scene that takes place in a particular set in one go even if each scene will be put in a different episode. And it is why they can get such big names both behind and in front of the camera, because it is only a few month commitment. Traditional TV doesn’t do this, because they have much longer seasons and they want the flexibility of responding to ratings and audience feedback as they go.

      Since they are filming full seasons at once anyway, there is no reason not to release the full season at once. And it is the big advantage for the audience of streaming versus traditional, why wait and agonize to see what happens week by week when you can watch the whole thing straight through?

      But there is discussion now of the problem with the format, both artistically and financially. Doing it this way means there is no time for the audience to reflect episode by episode, good shows aren’t as appreciated as they could be and bad shows escape critique because it all blurs together. And of course it means that the audience can sign up for a 30 day trial of a service, watch their favorite show, and then cancel. So some streaming services are trying different systems, even if it is all filmed at once and they have all the episodes ready, they will release them one week at a time, or one day at a time.

      The ideal show is one that you binge immediately, and then come back to and watch over and over again, so the streaming service has the best of both worlds, the immediate advantage of the popular buzzed about new content, and the faithful loyal viewers. Sacred Games is one that they are clearly hoping will be like that, there are so many plot mysteries and unanswered questions, not to mention the very dense visuals, that you could watch it again and again looking for clues. It’s also why Netflix rescued Arrested Development, it is a show that is super intricate with jokes building on jokes and every line having a trick hidden in it, so viewers will watch it over and over again.

      On Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 8:40 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • There’s this whole idea of time compression and expansion which makes my head hurt. Regular broadcast TV needs to fill 24 hours a day with content that will keep a consistent level of interest. I suppose they could just show one whole series of a show in one day instead of feeding it out hour by hour week by week, but then you get into the idea of “peak” times, and how more people will be able to watch in the evening than during the day, so it makes sense to break a popular show down hour by hour and only show in the evenings. And then you get into the idea of the audience only able to commit one or two evenings a week to TV on a consistent basis, and suddenly it becomes logical to show one hour once a week at a consistent time.

          Versus streaming where the viewer has full control at all times, so they can set it at the time that works for them and the broadcaster doesn’t have to try to anticipate what will be the time that the majority of people will be free.

          Now that I think about it, this is also how social media works, right? If you are socializing face to face, you have to find a time that works for everyone to be in one physical location. But if it is messaging on social media, you can respond at a variety of times and all leap into the conversation whenever is convenient for you. I notice that on the blog, at least half my readers are in India, the total opposite time zone to America where I and the other half of my readers live. But if you read the comments, it is like we are all in one room talking simultaneously.

          On Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 9:52 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Will you start watching more of the Indian produced web series now? Remember Bang Baaja Baarat and Tripling are still out there on youtube and fun watches! These are different than the streaming series on Amazon and Netflix, of couse. I still need to watch Breathe. I did try Inside Edge and it was too cheesy and took itself too seriously.

    I’ve been watching Zindagi Gulzar Hai, since I’m back on a Fawad Khan kick after watching a couple of his movies with a friend. I’d seen Humsafar but not this one yet. I have some more issues with his character in this one for sure and I keep thinking I’m watching a Pakistani Jane Austen adaptation with the story of the heroine’s family and the three sisters and mom struggling to make ends meet.

    Can’t think of the last film I stayed up too late watching but Sacred Games is the first true binge watch I’ve had. I finished it in under 24 hours. Zindagi Gulzar Hai will be spread out over a week or so I’m sure.

    I guess Call My Agent! was my last binge watch of all seasons in just about a week.


    • So far I’ve covered Humsafar, Breathe, and this one in full formal detail. Zindagi Gulzar Hai I did one post on, not episode by episode style detail. Humsafar got a decent number of views, mostly because I was covering it soon after it added to Netflix and right before Raees, so a lot of new viewers were watching at once. Zindagi didn’t get nearly as many. Breathe got very few views, despite my writing it right after it released. But this show is taking off like crazy, a lot of people are reading what I said about it.

      So the answer is, I don’t know! It’s a lot of work to cover a TV show, I have to watch the whole thing, and then do coverage like I did for this one, No Spoilers, SPOILERS, and then episode by episode. So it’s really only worth doing if I know I will have a lot of readers, this one was pretty safe because I wrote it the day after it released and it was highly promoted, but the shows that have been out there a long time, or which aren’t as heavily promoted, it’s hard to know if I should spend the time on them.

      Oh, and Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai were definitely binge watches for me! Which was a bad idea, because they are such long seasons. So it was about five days straight of no sleep, trying to finish it all.


      • Zindagi Gulzar Hai, on Netflix, stars Fawad Khan (the perfect Mr. Darcy). Our heroine is from a poor household with 3 daughters, she is accepted to a prestigious college. Our hero is a spoiled rich kid. They spend college sniping at each other in class and outside of it. And then after school, they both end up joining government service and meet again, more mature, and become sort of friends. And then more stuff happens that I won’t spoil. And there’s lots of little storylines like his sister’s marriage and life, and her estranged father, and so on and so forth. But mostly, she is strong and difficult and unpleasant, and he is charming and rich and bratty, and it’s delightful watching them try to deal with each other.

        On Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 12:11 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Thanks, If I knew Zindagi Gulzar Hai is based on Austen I would watch it months ago. And now italian group of bollywood fans I joined, is sharing Humsafar, and I think I will start watching it after my holiday is over.


          • It’s not officially based on Austen, but it nails the vibe of poor smart outspoken girl with a lot of sisters, and spoiled rich man, who hate each other at first sight but slowly come to respect each other.

            Humsafar is also awesome, and less Austen-y, but still has that poor and rich coming together, pride strong young woman who won’t ask for help and rich man who doesn’t understand her thing going for it.

            On Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 10:19 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. Aruvi on Amazon on a weekday up to 3 AM in morning. I definitely should not stay up that late on a week day. I shouldn’t have started watching it in the first place. But I did, and I could not look away.


    • I am very impressed, I watched Aruvi in the middle of the afternoon and I had to take three breaks because it was so intense. If I’d been watching it in the middle of the night, I never would have been able to calm down enough to sleep again.


  4. What do you think about the new Dilbar song?All technique and no facial expressions is my opinion.I’ve seen Nora do better in the reality Tv dance circuit.Question No:2. Which terrible song has been saved by the video? And conversely, which good song has been ruined by the way it’s been picturized?


    • Just watched it, and my big issue is the editing. She may have been a phenomenal dancer, but they hyper edited it so that we can’t see what she is doing, it’s just the same few moves from different angles cut together.

      Really interesting questions! The first that comes to mind for having been ruined by the video is “Subha Hona” from Desi Boyz. Which has a great video, but when I listen to the song it is all pretty and sweet, and that is NOT the video at all. Oh, and also “Satrangi Re” from Dil Se. Pretty song, but all I can think of is that blue tube part of the video which is so disturbing.

      And for being saved by the video, “Radha” from JHMS. Well, not exactly “saved”, more I could better appreciate it after watching the whole video. Listening to it, the lyrics move so fast and the duet weaves in and out and I can’t follow. But once I saw the two characters perform it, suddenly it made sense.

      On Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 10:06 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. Of all the shows you’ve binge watched, which one did you like the least? Man binge watching an entire show is hard work, and I’m never able to do it. Except this time, because I had a small surgery so holed up at home and hence had time.
    Also, another q – do you think the decision by Netflix to start off with something so rooted has paid off. Haven’t seen this kind of buzz for any other Indian shows. From what I’ve read Breathe seems to be more generic and could’ve happened anywhere.


    • Of the 4 South Asian shows I’ve binged, Humsafar and Zindagi and Breathe and now Sacred Games, I think Breathe is the one I liked least. The one I liked best is still Humsafar. And this isn’t to say that Breathe was bad, not at all, just that Humsafar and Zindagi were so perfectly constructed and so unlike anything I had seen before, while Breathe was kind of the same old-same old. And Sacred Games is Breathe, but slightly better (more complicated plot, more characters, more Bombay details, and so on)

      For non-South Asian content, it depends on what you mean by “binge”. Like, I watched all the seasons of Midsommer Murders over the course of several weeks, but I don’t know if that counts as “binge watching” or just “the show I am currently watching as and when I have time to watch something”.

      I think it has paid off for Netflix, but it remains to be seen if it can last. I am sure Sacred Games was written off as a loss leader. That is, they must have spent far more on production than they could make back in subscriptions immediately, but if they can raise their profile as the better streaming sight in the Indian market, it will pay off over time. While Breathe seems pretty cheap to make, Amazon Prime could make it just to show that they are willing to make Indian content and not worry about it being the best most Indian content ever.

      As for the specific Indian content to it, I’ll be curious how much that pays off. It makes the series feel so much more layered, even if you don’t get the references just having them there makes it feel lived in. The same way The Crown used real details of British history, small things that most people may not know about. And it encourages rewatching, to find all the Easter Eggs. But I could also see it being just overwhelming, too hard to be worthwhile if you don’t already know this stuff. Although, the Netflix audience has shown itself to like that kind of thing, The Crown inspired all kinds of articles about “the real story” or “details you may have missed”. So maybe Netflix balanced everything and decided that more detailed and specific was ultimately more likely to lead to buzz and rewatching.

      I’ll be curious to see if they continue with their commitment to the subsequent seasons. Sometimes shows get this kind of buzz, and then end up being quietly canceled, because the actual numbers just aren’t there to support further filming. I’m not seeing anything that says all the seasons were filmed together, or even 1 and 2, which would have been the sensible thing to do. Makes me think maybe Netflix is holding off a bit on committing more gobs and gobs of money to this thing until they see if it actually works. While Breathe got a second season order almost immediately, probably because it was so cheap that there was nothing to think about.

      On Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 11:55 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  6. Unrelated comment: thought u may want to know that Nivin Pauly’s magnum opus Kayamkulam Kochunni trailer is out. It is supposed to be the most expensive movie in Malayalam & looks like Pazhazhiraja. But then most Malayalam movies from the pre-independence era have a similar look. Kayamkulam Kochunni is the Robinhood of Kerala & it’s directed by Roshan Andrews who made Mumbai Police & How Old Are You. Mohanlal has a cameo as Kochunni’s mentor/friend. From the look of it, it seems like an action entertainer. But I’m not liking Nivin’s hefty appearance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.