Saturday, November 08, 2014

WHAT NIGERIAN T.V REALLY NEEDS...




Let's take a look at what we have on Nigerian T.V these days...
 Tinsel, Super Story, Dear Mama, Civilian Barracks, Face To Face, Papa Ajasco and Company, One Big Family, So Wrong; So Right, reality shows like Gulder Ultimate Search, Project Fame, Nigerian Idols, foreign shows including telenovelas (unfortunately several of them are airing at the same time hence, hard to follow),  Avatar: The Last Airbender, iCarly, etc.
 In the past, there was Desperate Housewives( for a short time), N.Y.P.D Blue, 24, Profiler, The Pretender, Matlock, Diagnosis Murder, Jake & The Fat Man,The Wonder Years, Dr. Who, Watch Over  Me, Twin Peaks, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel etc.
The Soap Operas: The Bold & The Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, Passions, Dallas, Generations, Another Life, Santa Barbara, General Hospital, The Young and The Restless and Sunset Beach. And there were the sitcoms; The Cosby Show, 'Allo, 'Allo, Some Mothers Do 'Ave Them, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Cosby, Sanford and Son, Family Matters, Friends, For Your Love, Different Strokes, The Jeffersons, Good News, Dharma and Greg, Just Shoot Me!, The Golden Girls and so on. Nigerian T.V had Family Circle, Everyday People, House Apart, Palace and Fuji House of Commotion- a spin-off of Checkmate.

America in particular has a huge T.V history; sitcoms, series and soap operas. The one I'm particular impressed with is Guiding Light; the longest running soap in history as it began as  a radio program in 1937 to 1949 and then made its television debut in 1952 and went on until 2009.
Nigeria has its own share of past memorable shows... but how many people still remember them enough to list them and talk about them; and I mean people who are old enough to remember them at all and yearn to watch them again. Nothing against the new Nigerian shows but they do not hold a candle to the past shows, shows that seem to be locked away in the studios' vaults these days and half forgotten.

 NTA 10 occasionally shows The New Village Headmaster (which started as The Village Headmaster)  and it's really a treat to see the old stars; some of them-alas- late now; Justus Esiri (Headmaster C. Ali), Joe Layode (Mr. Garuba), Oba Funsho Aleolu; Alaaye of Ode- Remo (Councillor Eleyinmi), Oba Wole Amele; Alara of Aramoko (who played the very quarrelsome  Councillor Balogun) and  Elsie Olusola (who played the village seamstress 'Sisi' Clara and was the real life  wife of the now late creator of the show, Chief Segun Olusola).
But seriously, are we expected to simply forget the past shows all together and remember them via word of mouth? I don't think so.
Oh no... if other countries- from the old to the present generation fans can vividly talk about their old shows- the sitcoms and T.V series in particular, we should be able to do the same from now on. And how are old shows really and vividly remembered? Via Reruns!
How hard is it to set aside  a particular slot and bring back the old shows for the veteran fans to re experience and the new ones to feast their eyes on and enjoy? There are several I can mention and very certain Nigerian fans will love to see again, the veteran actors and actresses besides the actual shows, let us go back and see how Nigerian entertainment was back in the 70s- 90s and compare them with what we have today. Reruns is what Nigerian T.V needs, going down memory lane instead allowing the memories to die. In other countries, old shows aren't just re-run on T.V, they come out on DVD!
I can definitely mention more than a few shows that should have reruns- aside from The Village Headmaster. Even if they can't be made into DVD (because of piracy) it doesn't mean it can't be brought back to the screens.





Basi & Company: comedy/satire created by Ken Saro Wiwa about the misadventures of a con man/loser (Albert Egbe, later Zulu Adikwe) who would rather rely on  'get rich quick' schemes to become the millionaire he so badly wants to be instead of  getting an honest job. "To be a millionaire, think like a millionaire." was his  catchphrase.






SECOND CHANCE: NTA's version of  the classic British sitcom; Mind Your Language; the long suffering English language teachers (played by Sonny Irabor and the late Funsho Alabi) attempting to teach students of different ethnic tribes (in the original the students were of different nationalities) how to speak proper English, with hilarious results. Also starring were Olu Jacobs and Lai Ashadele.






COCK CROW AT DAWN: Bello (the late George Menta) returns to his village with his family after harrowing experiences in the city and must cope not only with  the new country life but also with  his stern and resentful uncle whose care he'd left the farm. The iconic theme song was performed by Bongos Ikwue. Click  on link to listen.




BEHIND THE CLOUDS: A drama series that revolved around the lives of families living in Jos. In particular was the Okonzua family ruled by a very stern father (Zack Amata) who was rigidly opposed to his daughter Efe's (Evelyn Ikuenobe-Otaigbe) music career, Efe being supported by her younger brother Nosa (late MacArthur Fom) and their caring mother (Franca Brown). There was also the story-line involving Funmi and Bayo- Efe's boyfriend (Ene Oloja and Dan Emeni) who found themselves on opposing sides when their estranged father (late George Menta) returns, much to the dismay and anger of their uncle (late Matt Dadzie).



MIND BENDING:

Created by Lola Fani-Kayode (creator of Mirror In The Sun); this drama/documentary series was made up of  four stories- each split into episodes- about three drug addicts and an alcoholic. Through each story, the effects and consequences of drug addiction and alcoholism were realistically presented.


MAGANA JARI CE (Eloquence Is An Asset):

 adapted from Abukakar Imam's book, I would describe this as a Hausa version of  The Arabian Nights. In every episode of this series, a fluently talking parrot narrated a tale to its reluctant and sometimes irritated master; each tale acted out by a cast of talented actors and actresses.


THE THIRD EYE:

Detective drama series featuring veteran actor  Olu Jacobs as Inspector Best Idafa whose over enthusiastic and inquisitive daughter Uze (Yomi Adeyemi Wilson)  provided (most of the time unintentionally) vital clues to solving his cases.


RIPPLES:  Created by Zeb Ejiro, this soap mostly revolved round the Dehinde-Phillips family who experience tragedy and family turmoil after the only son Melvin is killed  in an accident but leaves the bulk of his estate to his ex girl friend Onome and their son instead of his widow Mimi (Bimbo Odekunle) and their daughter, Doris. Richard Mofe- Damijo (credited as Evans Damijo at the time) played a police officer investigating Melvin's death and had a romantic relationship with Mimi for a time.
Other story lines included a turbulent romance and marriage between Melvin's sister Bukky and Nnamdi Udogu(Sola Fosudo) who have an on and off and on again relationship all through the series. The main villain is Talab Abass (Alex Usifo) who was suspected of being behind Melvin's accident but was never really convicted as they could never prove it. As more characters and additional family was brought in, the soap somewhat lost it's direction and got boring. But airing the earliest episodes won't hurt.



Anne (Ego Boyo), Benny( Francis Agu) & Richard(Bob-Manuel Udokwu)
CHECKMATE: Long before Tinsel, Amaka Igwe's creation reigned, filling the void left by Behind The Clouds' cancellation. The families featured in this soap; the Haastrups (centering on the 3 siblings Anne, Benny and Richard), the Edems, The Fujis, The Kadris, the Ola- Daniels basically had one thing in common, family disharmony. And let's not forget the Udoka (Bimbo Manuel)  and Ada (Mildred Iweka) story line; how Udoka's family did all they could to break up  their marriage and force a village girl, Nkemji (Uche Osotule) on him as Ada was an 'osu'. This soap which ended on an ambiguous note, had a comedy spin off  years later, The Fuji House of Commotion.




SAMANJA:

 (which means sergeant major) was a comedy series starring Hausa actor Usman Baba Pategi as the main character Samaja; a soldier in the Nigerian Army and the comical  antics of his men as they work and fight in the barracks and headquarters.



NEW MASQUERADE: Comedy series revolving around two main households, and their neighbours; one headed by Chief (Dr.) Zebrudaya " alias 4.30" (Chika Opalla) and consisting of his wife Ovularia (Liz Iboeme) and their bumbling houseboys- Clarus (Davis Ofor) and Giringory (late James Iroha, who was the series creator). The other household was  headed by 'Prince' Jegede Sokoya (late Claude Eke) who nearly always quarrelled with his wife Akpenor (late Christie Essien Igbokwe), later in the series he got an even more temperamental wife, Ramota. Other memorable characters is the free loading, presumptuous Nati, played by  Romanus Amuta , the conniving but likable Zaki (Tony Akposheri) and equally bumbling Cyracus (Christopher Ekweonye).



Seriously, these shows have to come back!