Indian television is often seen as playing second-fiddle to Bollywood or other major film industries in the country. However, the impact it has had on the pop culture and its reach and popularity among certain sections of society are undeniable. From timeless classics to new age reality shows, here are some of the best Indian TV shows of all time.

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai

There is perhaps no list of Indian TV classics that does not include Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. This early aughts comedy with a stellar cast including Satish Shah, Ratna Pathak, Sumeet Raghavan, and Rupali Ganguly is one of the most-loved shows in the country and was only recently renewed for a new season. Starting in 2004, its unique premise involving two families in a posh Mumbai neighbourhood instantly captured the audiences’ imagination and is all set for a grand return this year.

Flop Show

Popular Indian comic Jaspal Bhatti’s Flop Show is a satirical take on the common man’s life that is unique in the annals of Indian television for its farcical portrayal of every walk of everyday life. The show’s lead Bhatti dons a different profession for each episode and presents the idiosyncrasies of modern-day life in his own unique way.

Bharat Ek Khoj

This incredibly informative series about the long and interesting history of India is directly based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s most popular work, the Discovery of India, which loosely translates into Bharat Ek Khoj. The drama series tackled a different chapter of Indian history in each episode and was written and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Shyam Benegal. The role of Nehru, the narrator, was played by Roshan Seth, who also played the role in the Academy Award-winning film Hollywood film Gandhi. The show followed Indian history in a chronological order with topics ranging from the Indus Valley Civilisation to the Indian struggle for Independence.

Office Office

Office Office is largely credited with introducing the concept of a workplace comedy in India and also at the same time taking a satirical look at the culture of corruption in public offices in the country. Starring Bollywood legend and veteran actor Pankaj Kapur in the lead role as Mussadilal, the show quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed TV series in the early aughts. Premiering in 2001, the show’s cast also included popular Bollywood actors and TV legends such as Manoj Pahwa and Sanjay Mishra.

Aahat

One of the most popular thriller TV series of all time in the country, Aahat was also one of the longest-running horror series in the country, with a total of 550 episodes over its lifetime. The show was best known for its gritty and thrilling music and a cast that included veteran actors such as Om Puri, Tom Alter, and Mandira Bedi. The show started off with mostly crime-related episodes, but gradually delved into the supernatural, with the second season featuring zombies, witches, wizards, and ghosts. The show premiered in 1995 and ran for 20 years intermittently, with the last and sixth season ending in 2015.