Once upon a time, upon the discovery of Radio and Television, soap operas were aired during the day with the aim of entertaining housewives while their husbands were at work.
Fifty years later, things changed.
|Image: The ideal soap opera couple; Scarlet Ortiz and Segundo Cernadas|
Flash forward to early 2,000; every TV station had assimilated a soap opera in their schedule. All were Mexican and would air only over the weekends after the 7.00 pm Kiswahili News. I remember those days, football hadn't crept into our men as it has today and I must say, they were the greatest fans of soap operas.
Then, NTV, the then Nation TV introduced soap operas on weekdays; Monday precisely. That, that was a taboo! Those were the days when a comedy show would air after the 7.00 News and a drama series after the comedy. But, since our Kenyan media is stagnated by nascent minds, they all copied Nation. In no times, all drama series were scrapped out and were replaced by soap operas. You know when they say, a few additives adds on the flavour and taste of the broth, but too much of it causes you diarrhoea (I just made that up!), soap operas became too much...and that must be what chased men from their homely TV screens to the bar screens.
As if that wasn't enough, Citizen TV, or is it NTV, introduced soaps from Phillipines. I used to like them, because unlike the Mexican soaps that lasted for over a year or two---remember Paloma?; Phillipina soaps ran for just 2-3 months. Again, the media copy cats were at it again---all of them once again started airing Philippina soaps.
As you can imagine, all the reality shows, comedies and drama series were scrapped out to pave way for soap operas.
If you have ever watched one soap, it becomes very easy for you to predict the outcome of all the rest. So when Citizen TV pioneered a new genre of soap operas from Brazil, I felt at home. They have different story lines, unique settings, entertaining characters and are more dramatic and realistic. I remember that when India-A Love Story came to an end, people complained so much; since it didn't end as it had been expected.
Up to now, I love Brazilian soaps, they are better than the best blockbuster movie that comes out of Hollywood. And, it's through these that for the first time, black people starred as the protagonists and not as servants and maids as they are treated in the Phillipina and Mexican soaps. Shades of Sin is the perfect example. The other unique aspect is that, there is no 'superstar actor/actress' as the Mexican soaps have always done; with the likes of Scarlet Ortiz and Segundo Cernadas, better known as Alejandro taking all the lead roles.
It didn't take long before the other stations learnt that grass in Brazil is much greener. And now, they have all gone there!
As of today, we have all of the stations showing Philippines, Mexican and Brazilian soaps on our TV screens as from 6.00 p.m to 10.30-11.00 p.m. How logical is having soap operas air during the prime time? What happened to promoting Kenyan content?
The Favorite, India a Love Story, Irrational Heart, Shades of Sin, and more that I don't know about.
And kindly do not forget how much more time is allocated to 9ja Afrosinemas.