If Hollywood have soap opera as their tv program that airs in episodic series, Indonesia have same show called "Sinetron". Sinetron is refering to "Sinema Electronik" (electronic cinema), and similar as soap opera, sinetron consists of episodic series of drama show. Each episode connect with the previous and later episode. The word of Sinetron have been introduced by Soemardjono - a lecturer from Art Institute of Jakarta - and this terms have been used since 1990.
Overall, sinetron usually tell a tale about the conflict that happen in lifes. But contrary with soap opera - which sometimes offer a very complicated story that last long - most of Indonesia's sinetron tell almost the same story-line for every one of it. The regular story that been used in (almost) every sinetron is : A regular (poor) girl fall in love to a rich guy. The family of the rich guy disapproved their relationship and try to ruin it. Then come another (rich) guy who fall in love to the girl, and make the girl confuse : Whose the one she should choose? But then, after several exhausted breaking-and-fall-in-love-again scenes, finaly the girl choose the right guy. They got married and the girl stay in the guy's family. End of story? No. Sometimes, the story continue with a show of desperation from girl while staying in her new family's house. She got beat, yielded, abused, and insulted. The girl did nothing but crying and praying. Then finally God hear her pray, and show mercy by make the guy's family suffer, inprison, or other ridiculous thing. And finally the girl live happy ever after with the guy.
If the show success, then the story will be continued with another show of desperation from the girl after she got the children. She got another abuse and insulted from her own family or the guy's another family. Her husband left her to another women, but then back again to her life, and then they live happily ever after again.
And if the show got another success, then you are going to see another series of desperation from the girl, while she got another abuse and insulted - either from her or her husband's other family (Indonesia's people have a lot of relatives in which till today they still connect each other. So this kind of story still make sense, understandable, and acceptable to the viewers). And so on.... and so on....
Althought the story-line keeps repeating over and over again to the most sinetrons (including its sequels, and other titles), a lot of people in Indonesia still enjoy the show. Each of them have their own favorite sinetrons and they are very fanatic with it.
Since years, many people have critisized againts sinetron. Not because the repeating story-line, but more about the content of the show, which shown excersive violences and strong language that provoke agressive acts. Most of the scenes (of all episodes) shown a lot of improper violence scenes that not necessary to be shown, such as abusing and insulting (throw water to the face of one character, slapping the face, kicking, harrastment, or even one-on-one fighting between girls). And mostly the female character who did it (either become the victim or the person who do the violences).
Sometimes the show also create incorrect perseption to the viewers about the personality of Indonesia's girls. It makes everybody thought that Indonesia's girls have some kind of psychopatic behaviour or personality disorder, like masochism. If not, why they seems very enjoying hurting others and / or love to be the victim (e.g. when somebody hurt them very bad, why they are not calling the police? Why not look for help? Why keep silence and do nothing but praying, asking for God mercy? Why they look so weak? Are they just enjoying every moment of being slap, punch, kick, insult, and torture? Or they just love to look so powerless, and let viewers took pity on them? If that so, Indonesia's girls really have personality problem....).
Also, some parents watch the show together with their children because there has no any rules and restriction againts young viewers to watch sinetron. By the the end, it influences some children to act aggresively. In some cases (mostly experienced by myself), some children in age around 4-6 have confident to challenge adults and said some strong words such as, "I will kill your family!", "I will rape you to die!", or "I burn your house!".
Even that, the production of sinetron is not stopping and keeps on going. The production quantities are increasing rapidly in suprising number each year, while the quality is still the same as the sinetron that made 30 years ago. Only more violence, more shouting, and more cursing. It is not only played in prime time (07.00 - 09.00 pm), but also in the morning (09.00 - 11.00 am) and noon time (02.00 - 04.00 pm). And the shown are broadcasted everyday in almost all of the local television stations. Sinetron have become a major entertainment business in Indonesia because a lot of people enjoy the show.
The longest run of sinetron is Cinta Fitri (Fitri's Love;broadcast by SCTV), which is already reached 777 episodes until today (first episode broadcast on March 1, 2007). Shareen Sunkar and Teungku Wisnu are two of the stars in Cinta Fitri and become the most favorable Sinetron Artists at the moment..