Is it a fashion show? Is it an art exhibition? No, it’s Colors Infinity, the newest English entertainment channel to hit our idiot boxes. This must be the first time a channel has been “curated” by anyone. The curators of Colors Infinity channel are Karan Johar and his ingénue, Alia Bhatt. And no, they haven’t chosen Dynasty and Jersey Shore for us to watch. How disappointing. It’s just terrible when people don’t live up to their reputations.
So will Colors Infinity fill the BBC Entertainment-shaped hole in our hearts and evening television-watching schedules? What are they going to give us that HBO Defined and Star World Premiere don’t? After all, thanks to these two channels we’ve got current seasons and episodes of Masterchef Australia, Game Of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland and now The Affair. Plus, let’s not forget there are other English entertainment channels that are pretty good – Zee Café, Comedy Central, AXN HD – even if their programming isn’t quite so timely.
Here’s what the curatorial superpowers of Johar and Bhatt – programming teams be damned – have lined up for us. Launched on 31st July, a Friday, the channel started with one of my favourite shows, My Kitchen Rules. The channel is airing the fourth season (it’s currently in Season 6 in the free world) and it’s one of the most fun cooking reality shows around. Couples create pop-up restaurants for other competing couples in their own home, and each meal is judged by co-contestants and two chef judges.
The other show that Colors Infinity is bringing to Indian televisions is the wonderful Orange Is The New Black. We are being shown Season 1, while America is watching the Season Four. The show is about a young white woman who has to serve 18 months in prison for having once, 10 years ago, carried drug money. Her time in prison is an excellent set up for her and the audience to be faced with a generous dose of wicked “black” and gay humour. Not only is it a great series and utterly entertaining, I’ve never heard the word “lesbian” repeated so many times on any channel in India. Come to think of it, neither have I seen a programme featuring lesbians. It’s a brave new LGBT world on Colors Infinity. Perhaps The L Word will make the cut now?
The other shows don’t really rock my world – including Fargo and Flash – and aren’t the pick of the litter, though Fargo has won awards and a loyal following internationally. Another highly recommended show on Colors Infinity is Better Call Saul. Also, thanks to it being a new channel there are hardly any commercials. So it’s uninterrupted viewing.
Now for the not-so-good. Colors Infinity was launched with the promise that every day of the week there’ll be a new show, with three back-to-back episodes. This sounds like a good idea, especially if you want to bring audiences up to speed with long-running shows. But going by the existing schedule that’s available for our perusal, the channel has just only 7 shows and as a result, there are too many repeat telecasts on spool. At the moment Colors Infinity isn’t really achieving infinite hours of viewing for viewers. It may have have been wiser to split up the episodes over the course of the week since in any case, few have the time to watch three hours of any programme back to back.
So far, the only thing with no redeeming features being telecast on the channel are the bizarre KJo and Alia Bhatt promos. One shows Bhatt in prison and filing her nails. Why is KJo holding handcuffs? Is she doing time for not sharing credit with the poor unsung heroes in the content and programming team? Why is she dressed in another promo as an angel? And why are they both sulking in another promo – or is it the same one? For two self-proclaimed masters of entertainment, these promos do them no justice and are an assault on the viewers’ senses.
If you get past the promos, which are repeated many times, Colors Infinity is watchable just because of My Kitchen Rules,Better Call Saul and Orange Is The New Black. They desperately need to get newer and more popular shows. Maybe they could get crowdpullers such as the Kardashians or I am Cait. They should definitely get one of the late night shows, like Last Week with John Oliver and some of BBC’s fabulously funny shows. I did spot Simon Cowell in one promo so presumably X-Factor or America’s Got Talent are in the curatorial pipeline.
Which brings me to the most mystifying part of Colors Infinity: what is a curator of a channel and how long can it possibly take to dictate the names of your favourite shows to your manager? Programming teams of various channels really need to put in a petition asking to be rechristened as curators.