When you think of Indian web series, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Great characters, Amazing camera work, intriguing plotline, the dialogues or all of them. Needless to say, web series have come a long way since their introduction in the Indian content space. If you would have asked me 7 years back, do you think web series would turn out to be what they are today? Then my answer would have been a definite – NO. But, boy was I wrong! They are a new big deal now, with new players stepping into the world of web series, every few months.
Though they have emerged into a great course of content or entertainment, the one thing that is still lagging when it comes to web series is the experimentation with genres. No, I am not saying they are bad or something, it’s just that of late all the web series that have come out are all mostly thrillers or romantic dramas. However, one prominent exception is Skyfire, a ZEE5 original series that is based on a sci-fi novel of the same name. Though it’s not the first Indian sci-fi web series, it definitely going in a space that hasn’t been seen in the Indian web space. Being the sci-fi lover that I am, I could not be happier and want to see more such experiments in the future. But what exactly makes the sci-fi genre click? In an attempt to understand the norm, here are some of the reasons why we would love to see more sci-fi web series in India.
Opportunity to explore real-life issues: The best thing about sci-fi concepts is that everyone knows that it is based on someone’s imagination. Sci-fi writers use this as an opportunity to address real-time issues and try to incorporate strong messages in their movies. Don’t believe me, here are some examples. Movies like Planet of The Apes, which was released in 1968, was not just a sharp criticism on racism but also the use of nuclear warfare, fears that the world still has. Then there was Pixar’s Wall-E, one of the very few animated movies that actually got people concerned about saving the environment. Even in Skyfire, the sci-fi concept of weather manipulation is used to address the real-time dangers of Global Warming and the resultant weather changes.
Unique plot lines: The sky is literally the limit with sci-fi movies and web series. Coming to think about it, it actually goes beyond that. There is no limit, what so ever. The writers use this to their advantage and create unique thought-provoking plots that push imagination to the limit. One way they create unique plots is by using the ‘What if scenario’. Like the movie Inception’s plotline is based on ‘What if you could invade someone else’s dream and steal their ideas’. This logic also applies to the Bollywood movie like PK where the plotline narrates ‘What if an alien gets stranded on earth and tries to understand our culture’. Ideas like these lead to a unique plotline which not just entertains but also makes people think.
Interesting world-building: There is literally no limit as to what you can do with a sci-fi web series. The writers have the liberty to create their own fictional universe, complete with their own set of cultures, traditions and in some cases, even language. As story creators, they literally get to play God. A good example of this would be James Cameron’s 2009 epic Avatar where the world of Pandora and the Na’vi culture felt just as immersive as the 3D effects Also when it comes to world-building we cannot forget to mention Star Trek, where the creators had whole new languages such as Klingon.
Success scope amongst audience today: Sci-Fi movies do exceptionally well in the theatre and why wouldn’t they? They have a huge fan base across the world, and their unique storyline makes people come back again and again. No wonder the world’s second most successful movie falls in the sci-fi genre – Avatar. If you look at Indian movies, of all the 10 most successful Indian movies, 2 of them are sci-fi movies which include 2.0 and PK. This just goes to show that are a crazy amount of sci-fi fans in India and abroad, encouraging filmmakers to explore the genre even more, especially when it comes to web series.
So, those were my views on the science fiction genre and its popularity. I hope my wishes do come true and we get some more fantastic shows in the sci-fi space, like ZEE5’s Skyfire. For now, share your views on the sci-fi genre and its need in the Indian web space. I would love to hear from you in the comments.