TV has come a long way. Back when i used to watch it because i had no other option, to now, where the case is the same and also ive become more lazy :D
I believe everything goes in cycles. Somehow i cannot apply it completely for the TV serials. Right from the days, when i used to watch damningly slow serials 'Hum Log', 'Nukkad' to the more recent mythologicals and to the latest reality series..., there is a trend that goes around, almost like a fad.
Mythologicals were there all around, all along. 'Ramayana' and 'Mahabharata' the notable ones, this was when i was in 1st or 2nd classes...And then slowly by the time i was in my 7th, a new trend caught up, that of potraying historic stories, mostly Maratha kings or Freedom fighters.
And after some years, suddenly each and every channel was chruning out mythologicals. At one time, there were three channels running a serial each on Lord Hanuman! Had the audience become so religious minded all of a sudden.
The Indian TV audience atleast to me werent so selective about the serials, ever. It was always that most of the middle class Indian families had their dinner during the prime time serials( 2100hrs - 2200 hrs slot) slot. And anything that was ok, was fine.
Then why this surge? Because, all the base story was there beforehand. All they had to do was find some good 'authentic' sources, mish mash them, and just churn them on. No copyright issues, no plagiarism issues. All that legal camaraderie can just go to ...
And now i see the channels jumping onto the reality show bandwagon. Why? All the drama is provided by the participants themselves, with no need of any bound script. Its livewire action. And with miles of footage available, the creative heads are always at the command to edit the sequences as they see useful. And ofcourse, with a voyeur in everyone, who would not like to have a peep at others miseries too? And the channels are laughing all the way to the banks.
The audience as usual doesnt mind this much. A mealtime half an hour of stupidity, it can put up with. I recommend reading 'House Arrest' by Ben Elton on some hilarious views on reality TV.