Zee cafe (formerly Zee english) certainly knows how to woo back its audience.
Its new trump cards,(well,actually I should say old trump cards) are 3 TV shows that captured the imagination of millions over the world.Well I am talking about The Wonder years,Doogie Howser and The X Files as part of its venture called Old School.
And now I find myself in a time machine and I am loving it :)
Back THEN when STAR TV first made its foray into Indian television screens it was like Moses parting the red sea for the Israelites to cross over to the other side.
For us Indians,especially us Teens and preteens it was the forbidden window that opened to let us see what lay in the West.
Fed on a staple diet of DD for over 10 years this was like a breath of fresh air.
We the people,having known our various sadhams and veggies were now being fed on pizzas and burgers.Well that was a weak attempt at an analogy.
Some of us were already prepared for it and eagerly awaited the change.Anyone that read Archie comics as a kid would agree.That was just a trailer of the things to come.
For the others it must have been a new experience and I am sure they wouldnt have loved it any less.
The 1st year that cable TV arrived it was not for all.Not every household could afford to pay and we were one of those.But I remember our dinky little Onida BnW TV receiving freak signals from our neighbors cable and I still remember watching it with grains galore and no audio.
Soon enough we got our own cable connection and the floodgates of joy opened.
Teenage mutant ninja turtles and Batman in the evening on weekdays.
How I pedalled like crazy from school to reach home on time to catch them.
"Cowabunga!!!" became the new catchphrase and 'dude' started making its way into our parlance.
How we marveled at those 4 green turtles with Ninja weapons battling the evil Shredder and Krang.
Leonardo was my favorite and April O'neil was the crush of every red blooded teenage boy.
Casey Jones was the hard as nuts ,uber cool dude we dreamed of becoming.And what great fun we had quoting the wise words of Splinter,the wise Sensei.
Then followed that cult series Batman.Adam West as Batman became the new super hero that we cheered.Earlier on DD it was Spiderman cartoons but then seeing real life people play a superhero was a whole new experience altogether.I still remember that red batman hotline phone and pined for a long time to have one at home.We had a dull grey instrument.And what a cool and easy theme song to sing along with.
There was another show that came on after Batman and that was the Green Hornet which I shied away from at first.But with time after learning it was a certain Bruce Lee's first foray into acting I added it to my must-watch list.That was one hypnotizing theme music which if I am not wrong was used recently by Tarantino in kill bill.
Sundays we had The Planet of the Apes and Automan.I loved both of them.
Then we had this crazy game show with a bald headed bloke who mystified us with his wares and that was Crystal Maze,a show which has yet to be bettered by any such game show according to me.
But all those were make believe worlds and as much as we loved the element of fantasy and larger than life stories and characters,we yearned for stuff that was more 'human' and 'real'.
And Voila, we got this wonderful series that told the tale of Kevin Arnold,a kid just into his teens and the series took us on the path he walked from a pre teen into adolescence."The Wonder Years" set in the '60 of the USA where it was as he puts it "still safe for a kid to go for a walk in the evening".It was a magical series that transported us to utopia and made us long to be part of Kevin and his gang.And hey dont even get me started on Winnie Cooper.WOW.
Another awesome component of it (though I came to fully appreciate it only many years later) was its brilliant soundtrack.The ensemble of songs were mind blowing and one song that stood out for me was "I only have eyes for you".That kinda played everytime Kevin went into the zone while staring at Winnie and the scene became slow-mo and the lump it caused in our throats are still fresh.
Then there was this show called Doogie Howser MD about a genius whiz kid who becomes the worlds youngest doctor.I kinda never got around to seeing that fully,perhaps because of its telecast time which I think was in conflict with my school timings but well Zee cafe has given me a new chance to catch up with what I missed.
Then I guess the sci-fi craze caught on in a big way and there came this ground breaking new series called the X files - Mulder and Scully.What a team they made.
All of us (guys) fell madly in love with the Gorgeous Gillian Anderson and at the same time aspired to be Mulder - the FBI agent with brilliant brains and a belief in the para-normal as opposed to the skeptic-Scully.
"The truth is out there" and "I believe" became the new catchphrases and do I even need to talk about the haunting title music?That was one hell of a show and it made us go out to our balconies at night to hope for some UFO spottings.
There we were talking about Area 51,route 6,the roswell UFO crash and the men in black, so by the time movies like Independance day,Men in Black and that TV series Roswell came along we were already seasoned afficianadoes on the subject matter.Sadly I never got around to seeing the final couple of seasons due to various reasons but I will always cherish the memories it left behind.
With time STAR Plus became hindi centric and spawned into STAR World and all those shows mentioned above had long run out of time and were past their sell-by date.We moved on to other shows(and to start listing them and talking about them would take many more blogposts).I resented that they never had as many reruns for those shows as some other crappy shows got on air.
But well, zee cafe has finally come good and got us back these 3 shows and a BIG THANKS to you,fellas!!!
Last week I sat down to watch the 1st episode of Wonder years ,the very 1st episode which I had never watched when it began back THEN.
NOW wasnt much different.The lump in my throat was as large (if not larger) as it was back then and there I was with tears of joy welling in my eyes ,which prompted me to SMS my cousin confessing my state to her ,only to find out she was in the same state as well.
But as a strange twist of fate there are now 2 little known TV shows on STAR world called 'Crumbs' and 'How I met your mother'.
Whats the twist of fate?well Crumbs stars Fred Savage..yeah the kid who played Kevin in the wonder years and How I met your mother has Neil Patrick Harris,the kid who played Doogie, as one of its leads.Both are now 30 plus adults,but you still look at them as that lovable little kid from back THEN.
Now that is one weird coincidence or was it just clever programming on the part of Zee cafe?
I have no complaints though.I enjoy watching both and try my best not to miss them.
Now if only they would bring back 'The Fresh prince of bel air' and 'Happy Days' my cup of joy would runneth over :)