Move over saas-bahu sagas, episodic shows are back. Adaalat, Teri Meri Love Stories and Hum Ne Li Hai Shapath are ruling the weekend slots and mark a comeback on the small screen after two decades. The makers say the switch was inevitable.
In a bid to sustain viewers' interest in TV shows, channel bosses have to do a lot of brainstorming and rigorous research, says Vivek Bahl, chief creative director, Sony Entertainment Television.
"For a long time, channels were struggling and contemplating what to showcase on the weekends - whether non-fiction shows or films should be shown over weekend, since the weekdays already had daily shows," said Mr Bahl.
"Moreover, the production values of daily shows are so high that it becomes difficult to sustain it six days a week. So Sony took a risk by introducing a weekend show like Adaalat and it seems to have paid off as the response has been very good. This has also helped in breaking the monotony," he added.
It was a well-planned risk for Sony as its shows are now ruling the TRP charts. Ronit Roy's star power in Adaalat and Anoop Soni's hard-hitting presentation in "Crime Patrol" have taken them on the top of the TRPs table.
Not to forget Sony's long running detective series CID, which has kept viewers interest alive mainly due to unique cases with interesting solutions.
Long time ago, episodic shows Alif Laila, Vikram-Betaal, Byomkesh Bakshi, Karamchand and Shaktimaan enjoyed higher viewership. When the saas-bahu trend crept in and ruled the roost with shows like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, people started enjoying it.
But now, with audiences fed up with an overdose of family dramas, episodic shows have come as a sigh of relief for them.
Thanks to the fresh treatment and fresh concept, police drama Hum Ne Li Hai Shapath, about tough law enforcers fighting against flawed system, is keeping audiences hooked.
Ajit Thakur, general manager of Life OK, feels that this is the era of "instant gratification".
He said: "Today viewers are spoilt for choice and they expect instant gratification. On weekends, while the agenda is to spend time with family, viewers also look for an exciting de-stresser."
"Shapath, a case-to-case cop investigative story, is a perfect mix of ingredients that can deliver on all these premises - a family thrilling experience," he added.
After pioneering the saas-bahu stories, Star Plus too has tried to break free of the monotony by launching weekend shows Teri Meri Love Stories, Arjun and Laakhon Mein Ek.
Out of them, the most sought after is Teri Meri Love Stories. Each episode is 90-minute long and brings heartfelt stories based on the lives of common people who surrender to the pressures of life and let love fade away. Popular actors like Jennifer Winget, Karan Singh Grover and Mahi Vij have been a part of various episodes.
On the other hand, Arjun is about a rebellious cop named Arjun Raute, who takes pride in solving mysterious cases. Shaleen Malhotra of Roadies fame plays the protagonist.
Remember popular horror shows Aahat, Mano Ya Na Mano and Ssshhhh... Koi Hai, which faded into the oblivion with time?
Zee TV is trying to cash in on the horror genre again with its new weekend show Fear Files. Based on true stories, every episode has a new story.
Ajay Bhalwankar, content head, Hindi GECs, Zee TV, said: "Zee TV has had a loyal audience in weekdays. And with Fear Files we wanted to target the weekend slot. This is a good new change as we offer exciting content to the viewers."
He however points out a practical problem of "finding new cast and new locations for each episode".
"So we work in close connection with the makers. Sometimes we shoot on real locations and sometimes we have to shoot on places which look similar to the real places," he added.