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.
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.
Read our review here.
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.”
Read our review here.
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.
With shows like Permanent Roommates and Pitchers in their kitty, TVF has made a name for themselves as the pioneers of web shows in India and with Yeh Meri Family, they maintained their reputation.
What The Folks
The second season of this Dice Media series kept up the tempo that they initially set in the first season. A young married couple lives in Mumbai and their family is as urban as the next one. The changing dynamics between siblings, the evolution of a husband-wife relationship and the family dynamic that keeps transforming with every new event that happens in the family forms the crux of the story. The cliffhanger provided us enough to come back for the third season.
This is the only show on the list that is available only on YouTube. The first episode of the second season dropped almost 2 months ago and has since brought in over 4.5 million views. The six episodes of the second season has brought in almost 20 million views and that is no small feat.
The second season of Better Life Foundation by Hotstar was pulled down from the streaming service in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Judging purely by content, the show was certainly one of the best that we saw this year.
Amazon Prime Video’s Mirzapur was another knock-out that garnered a big fan following. This Pankaj Tripathi-led show became a landmark show for the streaming service. While the show had its violent bits, the engaging nature of the show kept the viewers hooked.