Sony Entertainment Television was launched on October 1995 by Multi Screen PVT. Ltd, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Ltd. It particularly gained strength post 2000 when it aired programs like Kaun Banega Crorepati, CID, Comedy Circus and now Crime Patrol. The channel even aired the first season of Bigg Boss (hosted by Arshad Warsi) in 2007 before Colors took over in 2008.
To gain a foothold back in the 90s, Sony Entertainment Television started off with a mix of English serials produced by Sony Pictures and Indian content. The idea worked and people were cued in to the interesting English TV serials and uniquely conceptualized Indian shows. Here are some of the popular Sony TV shows from the 90s –
1. Movers and Shakers – Before Comedy Nights with Kapil (on Colors), there was Movers and Shakers hosted by Shekhar Suman. The show based on the concept of late night television (Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien-type shows) found resonance with the urban crowd. The show ran for around 35 minutes, out of which 15 minutes were dedicated to jokes of a political nature. Shekhar Suman would mime Indian politicians particularly Laloo Prasad Yadav and then for the next 15 minutes would invite a celebrity guest. In a typical Karan Johar style of today, Shekhar Suman would ask controversial and quirky questions to the guests. A particular episode was quite noteworthy when Javed Jaffery came in as a celebrity guest and Shekhar found himself tight-lipped against his witty repartees.
2. Just Mohabbat – Loosely adapted by the popular US TV series ‘The Wonder Years’, Just Mohabbat was about a preteen boy and his school life. The show introduced names like Harsh Lumia, Vatsal Seth and Kunaal Roy Kapoor. This was one of the first TV serials to get a time leap with Vatsal Seth taking over from Harsh Lumia.
3. Family Number 1 – A fabulous comedy show, Family Number 1 was about two families, each having three children, and their attempts to pitting the other one down. The show made household names of actors like Aparna Tilak, Kabir Sadanand, Kanwaljeet Singh and Tanvi Azmi.
4. Boogie Woogie – Every TV channel has a dance-based reality show now, but the first one was the one aired on Sony TV. Then a unique concept, it ran successfully from 1996 to March 2014. In the earlier days, the judges were Javed Jaffrey, Naved Jaffrey and Ravi Behl. Soon, celebrity guests started coming in and movie promotions also became a part of the show. Boogie Woogie is also known to be a trend-setter for theme based dance competitions like ‘dance shows for moms’, ‘kids dance competitions’ etc.
5. Aahat – Aahat aired in 2015 as a horror show but it holds no candle in front of the 90s version, which was edge of the seat and highly thrilling. Less horror and more of a psychological thriller, the show had a unique identity from Zee Horror Show and was quite popular.
6. Who’s the Boss – Who’s the Boss, the American sitcom which was quite popular in the late 80s in the US found popular acclaim in India, when it was dubbed and aired in the evening slot. Alyssa Milano, one of the greatest names in Hollywood now, played the role of the cute little ‘Samantha’ in the show.
7. Diff’rent Strokes – Highly popular in the US in the 80s, this lovable show which also ventured into serious issues of racism, drug use and creating a lasting effect in the minds of the audience, was dubbed and showed to the Indian audience in the 90s, on Sony TV. The show made stars out of Dana Plato, Conrad, Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman.
8. Bhanwar – Crime Patrol is unarguably one of the best TV shows in India in terms of content and style. In the late 90s, there was a crime-based docu-drama called Bhanwar. The show was based on landmark verdicts given by the courts.
10. CID – The longest running TV series in India, it debuted on April 29, 1997 and continues till today. At the way, it is going and the popularity that it enjoys, it does not look like the serial would have an expiry date. Of course, in the 90s, the show had a serious tone to it and complex cases were solved with an analytical take. Today, the serial has become a caricature of its own and people have a hilarious time making jokes on CID (Shivaj Satam) and Daya (Dayanand Shetty). The funny thing is that people who watched the show in the 90s were studying in school in the 90s. Now they have their own kids who go to school but the CID team still does not show any signs of being promoted, in spite of solving cases every week!
Here is the huge list of old TV serials from 90s (all Indian channels)