TV: 2023 and beyond

January 1, 2023

The type of productions the viewers are hoping for in 2023

TV: 2023 and beyond

The year 2022 is coming to an end and a new year is upon us. The question for a television enthusiast is what does 2023 have in store for them? Will we see something different in Pakistan or end up settling for more of the same?

Will something new gain traction, especially with the youth, who account for more than half of our population, or will they continue to suffer from ennui and turn to streaming platforms for entertainment?

These are just some of the questions that cross my mind when I think of 2023 and beyond. If the plays currently airing on television are anything to go by, it appears that a few of the local television production houses are embracing novel storylines that engage with off-beat subjects to target a diverse audience of all ages.

A play currently on air, called Pinjra, starring Hadiqa Kiyani is a beautiful attempt to pull this off. Pinjra engages, to some depth, with the issues that young people face due to social media.

The production is quite popular with the audience because it delves into themes that parents of teenage children resonate with. These days, there is a huge generation gap between parents and young adults. The older generation is often unable to comprehend the nature of the challenges that the youth are facing. Pinjra puts this in perspective for parents by showing the story of two households where parenting norms are vastly different.

The young generation, more popularly referred to as Generation Z, prefers online streaming platforms for their fix of entertainment. Born in the late ’90s or early 2000s, this is the generation that, predominantly, does not relate to the social issues explored in local dramas and often disagree with the way that they are approached.

What can be done to make Pakistani soaps interesting for this segment of young viewers? When I asked a group of young people this, they shared that they felt that the local TV plays were still mired in tradition and suffering from a ‘time warp’. A few of them also said that the productions were glossier now but it was regrettable that the content had not evolved with time. ‘Old-fashioned’ was a term that was thrown about quite often.

It soon became apparent that younger people were more interested in productions that addressed the issues encountered by them. Social media addiction, peer pressure, perfectionism, parental pressure, mental health issues, an increasingly competitive and materialistic society, sibling rivalries, rampant use of drugs, the pressure to conform and the need for instant gratification are just some of the themes they relate to.

Will something new gain traction, especially with the youth, who accounts for more than half of our population, or will they continue to suffer from ennui and turn to streaming platforms for entertainment?  

While these themes call for a discourse and need to be engaged with, it is also important for Pakistani dramas to strike a balance by preserving their local flavour and originality so they do not look like washed-up imitations of Western productions.

In 2022, we saw a rise in big-budget productions in a bid to attract a wider international audience. Some of these dramas were not appreciated as much because they appeared to be heavily influenced by Indian soaps. The beauty of our plays lies in their simplicity and the values ingrained in them. The commercial element in the form of a rat race for TRPs must be balanced with nuanced and quality content to charm the audience.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, television had helped individuals retain their interest in life during social isolation. This was especially true for individuals living alone whose only source of entertainment and information was television.

With nearly everybody working online, the only social outlet and distraction was television and of course, online streaming platforms. A growing number of people watched television or subscribed to OTT services where they had access to a broad range of content sourced from around the globe.

Now that they are spoilt for choice, people have become picky about the kind of content they want to invest their time in. The viewers today are extremely fickle; their loyalties change faster than TRPs.

With increasing pressure to make profits and money, production houses are forever on the lookout for scripts that offer something different to the viewer. Television, like other media, needs to evolve and change in line with changing consumer tastes and preferences. A popular adage in the entertainment industry is that content is king and quality productions will invariably find takers.

A segment of the society is quite happy with run-of-the-mill productions but with more exposure to international productions, an increasingly large number of individuals want content that is a reflection of what is happening in the world. More women-centric productions are expected this year.

In the film realm, one of the biggest hits and highest grosser of 2022 in Bollywood was Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt, which won many accolades at various festivals. The year 2022 was an extremely turbulent year for the Indian film industry and while some productions featuring megastars like Aamir Khan flopped, Gangubai smashed all box office records, proving that content is king and the audience have the final say.

Here’s to hoping that in 2023 production houses come up with gripping scripts and promising storylines and give the audience something to talk about. As for local films, the industry’s future looks promising because of great productions like Joyland. We are looking forward to a year full of exciting productions that keep us engrossed.

The writer is an educationist and can be reached at

TV: 2023 and beyond