Making a list of best Indian web series would have been a Herculean task till last year, but fortunately for us, 2018 has seen a huge improvement in the quality as well as the number of platforms streaming Indian TV shows.
Of course, thanks to Netflix for their obsession with "omnipresent" Radhika Apte, but that is not all that brought Indian TV shows their much-deserved glory this year.
While the on-screen usage of explicit language and portrayal of violence and sex may make these shows slightly inappropriate for our Sanskaar-loving "family audiences," they have set new (read: dope) standards for Indian television.
So step aside, Saas-Bahu drama, we have no place for you.
Here is our own spoiler-free list of five must watch Indian web series of 2018 (in no particular order; we are a tad overwhelmed by the overall quality upgrade):
1. Sacred Games: Streaming on: Netflix; Season: 1; Episodes: 8
India's first Netflix original based on Vikram Chandra's novel is, simply put, a gripping dark thriller directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap. The series takes the viewer into the depths of Mumbai's underworld with its well-rounded, complex characters led by underworld-don Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and honest-cop Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan). Radhika Apte plays an intelligence agent who fights the odds at her sexist workplace. If you think these characters seem like one-dimensional tropes, you are in for a surprise. A well-developed mystery plot interspersed with political history and social satire, Sacred Games may just be our pick of the year!
2. Ghoul: Streaming on: Netflix; Season: 1; Episodes: 3
In just three episodes, this TV show which was initially meant to be a movie draws the viewer into its dystopian world where an anti-minority, authoritarian rule has taken over (hint, hint). Darkness and horror loom throughout the series in which Radhika Apte plays a young interrogator who has her own ghosts to struggle with, apart from the ones who seem to be haunting the military detention centre where she is posted. Suspense builds through the series to form a gripping narrative that keeps you engaged from start to end.
3. Little Things: Streaming on: Netflix; Season: 2; Episodes: 8
Dhruv (Dhruv Sehgal) and Kavya (Mithila Palkar) are back with another heart-warming season of Little Things -- on Netflix, this time. The show that won over many hearts with its truly honest take on modern Indian relationships is all about the 'little things' that make up Dhruv's and Kavya's adorable and relatable live-in relationship in the city of Mumbai. The second season moves past the cutesy honeymoon phase and we witness the conflicts and reality of two grown-up individuals in love, trying to keep their relationship alive while learning more about themselves and the world.
4. Vella Raja: Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video; Season: 1; Episodes: 10
Amazon Prime's first Tamil original series, Vella Raja revolves around a Pablo Escobar-like drug dealer from Chennai who would go to any extent to succeed in his cocaine business. Bobby Simha marks his web series debut in the role of druglord Deva who dodges his enemies and cops on a daily basis. The fast-paced, racy narrative keeps the audience on their toes, presenting a group of uncertainty-ridden lives from North Chennai.
5. Breathe: Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video; Season: 1; Episodes: 8
Featuring R Madhavan in the lead role, this was Amazon Prime's first contribution to the Indian web series landscape, the release of which closely followed Sacred Games'. The very-grey plot is pretty easy to understand, but at the same time, mind-boggling -- a desperate father trying to murder four people so that his son can get an organ transplant that will save his life. Bizarre, isn't it? The characters are not fully developed and the writing is not without flaws, but the show is still enjoyable and keeps you glued to the screen.