ft. Fadila and Zeina
We’re bored. There’s no other way around it, and tbh Netflix is no longer cutting it. There are so many Arabic series I tried to watch, most of which are rather cringe-y and just cliche/overdone. So, I decided to binge watch some recommended series and give you the best of the lot, you’ve got drama, comedy, crime, and more. You can find most of these series on Youtube and/or Shahid or Viu. Trust me, they’re worth it.
This is the story of a girl named Zaat and how she lived amongst Egyptians from the 1950s until the 2010s, between Alexandria and Cairo. Going through a horrific experience with FGM – female genital mutilation, puberty, teenage trauma, marriage, jobs, kids, war, revolution, tragic deaths and more. We watch her grow in each episode, we see her making hard decisions, watch her worldview change, and go through things she never thought she could survive. It’s a telling tale of Egypt in that time, with all the upheaval that came with it.
You may call her Maleket Masr Fel Nakad, but to me, Nelly Karim is a phenomenal actress. She not only chooses societal portraying taboo stories to act in, but plays her role with such passion and conviction that you’ll suddenly find yourself in tears, feeling a rush of emotions that can’t be explained. Nelly Karim, Basem Samra, Hany Adel, Omar El Saeed, Entesar, Tharaa Gobail, Nahed El Sabeai and more.
2. Aho Da Ely Sar
Youssef, gatekeeper and owner of a glamorous big mansion in Alexandria who fights to keep it from getting demolished meets Salma, a smart and curious journalist. He tells her the story of the place he guards and the cottage lying by the sea next to it. The tales of the people that once filled it, of the stories, the love, the pain that the walls would speak of if they were able to. Nadra and Youssef, the forbidden love of the master of the house and the beautiful daughter of the servant. Ba7r and Asdaf, the unrequited love between the singer/poet and the dazzling witty dancer, and others that we would look at in awe.
Love triangles, drama and lovely tunes, the story also shows what life was like for women in the 1910s and the different lives between the capital and upper Egypt. The way people acted, talked, dressed, and loved is honestly unfamiliar to a zoomer like me, which makes it fascinating to watch. Starring: Ruby, Ahmed Dawood, Farrag, Arwa Gouda, and Sawsan Badr.
3. Afrah El Obba
You know when a series is so good and mysterious, that you keep watching just so you could find out the answer to one question? Well, the question here is: “how did Taheya die?” (Flashbacks Ramadan 2019 “meen eli attal Farida” vibes, a bit? Well, you’ll see some familiar faces)
Here we have Abbas, an aspiring writer, whose script for a play got accepted for the first time by the owner of the theater, Sarhan. The story is based on the people working in the theatre, whom Abbas watched growing up, essentially involving Sarhan (his boss), his parents Karam and Halima, his rival in a love triangle Tarek and his deceased wife Taheya, who gets killed in the end of the play by her beloved husband. Throughout episodes, we discover more about the lives of these characters, torn between past and present, searching for answers, questioning what was real or what was a part of the play?
The transitions between the past and present are coherent and well put together, you’ll need to pay attention to what is happening and when, but not too much. Complicated love stories, sacrifices, poverty and betrayal follow the characters wherever they go, and that’s what makes the drama more profound. Starring: Mona Zaki, Eyad Nassar, Saba Mubarak, Ahmed El Saadany, Rania Youssef, Sabry Fawwaz, and Sharnouby.
4. Fi Kol Esboo3 Youm Gom3a
Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart.
When one mistake makes Nour’s family so ashamed of her she’s forced to fake her death, she’s whisked away with a new name, new identity, and a new house – or is it a prison? Trapped inside with Emad, her new “husband:, who suffers from, well, something scary. With her past constantly chasing her, Nour (now called Laila) decides to get her hands dirty right alongside her terrifying husband but will the mess be worth it? Will it end?
This series is nothing like I’ve ever seen in the Egyptian film industry, it’s different, full of suspense and drama. And I’m no critic, but Asser Yassin and Menna Shalaby’s talents are out of this world in this series, crime has never been done so well, I was so impressed. And it’s short (only 10 episodes), so that’s a bonus. There’s also, of course, our beloved Sawsan Badr, alongside Khaled Anwar, and May El Ghety, Sherif Salama, and Ahmed Khaled Saleh for starters.
A group of university students dig deep into the story of a famous astrologist to write a report about him, but instead, they get cursed by an ancient pharaonic king called Maniso. Suddenly, each one of them starts dying depending on their horoscope. The story is also different than the usual Egyptian series, I love the fact that most of its actors are new young faces to the screens; we see Asmaa Abulyazid, Ahmed Khaled Saleh, May EL Ghety, Hend Abdelhalim, Khaled Anwar, Mayan El Sayed, Mahran, and more. It’s suspenseful, engaging, packed with action, and offers much to think about. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but mostly you’ll be too busy hanging on to the edge of your seat.
6. Ahl Cairo
In one of the most famous hotels in Cairo a glamorous wedding was held; full of celebrities, producers, artists, politicians and businessmen, it’s cool – until the drama unfolds.
Safi Selim, the bride, was found dead having been stabbed in the neck in her honeymoon suite the day after her wedding – and all the guests became suspects. Hassan, the detective, is investigating, hellbent on finding the killer. Digging through the victim’s past we learn about the lives of the hotel staff and Safi’s and the groom’s families. In each episode, we get to know a bit more about his/her life and the motive that might push him/her to kill Safi. It’s admittedly one of the best mosalsalat to ever be aired. Starring: Rania Youssef, Khaled El Sawy, Kinda Alloush, Ahmed Wafee, Caroline Khalil, Zaki Abdelwahab and more.
7. Sharbat Loz
Sharbat, an attractive, smart and poor woman who spent her whole life taking care of her younger brothers, got fired from her job at Hakimo Designs a huge brand wherein she was a seamstress. Then, the CEO, Hakim, had to reach out to her for a favor, and feelings started to develop between them. So Sharbat, now Shoshette, finds herself married to Hakimo and in the midst of a crazy, greedy and arrogant family – and well, shenanigans ensue. There’s no shortage of stars in this series, between Youssra, Samir Ghanem, Ragaa El Gedawy, Amina Khalil, Saba Mubarak, Reham Haggag, Nesreen Amin, Ahmed Dawood, Mohammad Sallam, Mohammed Shahin, Farrag, and Tamer Hagras – among others, you’ll have the time of your life.
It’s funny, it’s real, but mostly, it’s an interesting take on the cliche plot of The Taming of the Shrew, as she isn’t quite tamed at all, and is left in charge of everything.
8. Hatha Al Masaa
Nayla and Akram, a rich married couple, decide to take a 3 months break from married life, since they’ve been together for so long, on one condition; to always be honest with one another. Samir, Akram’s driver and a partner in an electronics store with his friend Sony, takes his boss to his neighborhood and introduces him to his neighbors and family members. That was how Akram met Abla, and that’s when everything started to change. The story also talks about blackmail and sexual and mental abuse, with Toaa, the girl Samir and Sony are helping to stop Fayyad from airing her “dirty” laundry via the internet. We delve into stories of sexual extortion, marital issues, mental/emotional abuse, unhealthy and disgusting pining, spying, and more. The case speaks for itself, I think, considering it’s Eyad Nassar, Arwa Gouda, Ahmed Dawood, Hanan Metawoe, and Farrag.
9. El Saba3 Wasaya
Seven siblings, who all have issues with their father, decide to kill him to inherit his money. But after doing it, the corpse disappears and they’re left each with a commandment by their late father to earn their money. And so, they go their separate ways, fleeing from what they’ve done, trying to carry out the commandment, facing many obstacles and showing their true nature. Starring: Rania Youssef, Haytham Ahmad Zaky, Hana Shiha, Sabry Fawwaz, Ayten Amer, Nahed El Sebaei, Mohammed Shahin, and many more.
Dalila is a talented beautiful young girl whose dream is to become a famous singer one day. Facing her family and their disapproval of her wishes, she fights for what she believes in, running away from home and school, marrying an older man who promised to make her dreams come true, or so she thought. Starring: Sherine, Bassel Khayyat, Sawsan Badr, Mohammed Adel, Yasmine Sabry, Nada Moussa, Ahmad Fahmy, Mohammed Mamdouh, Tharaa Gobail, and Mahmoud El Gendy.
11. Abo Omar El Masry
Fakhr, a young lawyer who lives with his aunt and cousin, decides to publicly refuse defending the bad guy in a case, exposing him and his work. And for that, he gets banned from practicing his profession and faces a lot of injustice, pressuring him to change his life completely.
If you watch this series, you’re in for a surprise at the end. Starring: Ahmed Ezz, Arwa Gouda, Fathy Abdelwahab, Amal Beshousha, Mohammed Sallam, and Munther Rayhanna – among others.
One of Mona Zaki’s best roles! From her look to the captivating plot and overall vibe. Assia who’s our main character disappears during the first episode along with her son Seleem and her family (plus us lol) are dying to know where they ended up.
Starring: Mona Zaki, Hany Adel, Bassem Samra, Sayed Ragab
13. Mowaten X
This one literally has half of our current fav stars, the first series starring Youssef Elsherif and one of our favs. It’s basically inspired by Khaled Said’s story and how the 25th of January revolution started. Beautifully heartbreaking and very political. Get ready for some crying.
Starring: Youssef Elsherif, Amr Youssef, Dina El Sherbiny, Amir Karara, Mohamed Farrag, Sherry Adel, Arwa Gouda, Eyad Nassar, Mahmoud Abdelmoghny, and Nabil Issa.
14. Nekdeb Law Olna Mabenhebbesh
Queen Youssra dazzles in a new role wherein she’s a loving mother, who is quite a bit naive and doesn’t quite care about how she looks, or how she is as a whole, like, self care does NOT exist. Her children and her restaurant staff engage with eachother alongside her ex-husband and bestfriend, giving us a tale of family, loss, identity, and finding love in all the ways that count.
Starring: Youssra, Mostafa Fahmy, Amina Khalil, Amr Saleh, Ahmed Hatem, Mohammed Shahin, Yara Gobran, Ragaa Geddawy, Nesreen Amin, Ahmed Dawood, Amir Salah EL Din, Mohammed Sallam, Ward Al Khal, and more.
15. Nireen Sadiqa
A creepy series about a group of friends separated over the years by tragedy and pulled back together by the same tragedy that cast them apart. The series explores the effects of using black magic and the relative ease in which we blame our own mistakes and flaws on things we cannot see and claim are out of our control. It’s a journey of envy, hatred, fear, and the twisted ways in which love can be used to drive ourselves and those we love insane. It’s quite realistic, despite the magic, so you better not watch this at night.
Starring: Dhafer L’Abdeine, Menna Shalaby, Amr Youssef, Kinda Alloush, Mohammed Shahin, Rania Youssef, Salwa Khattab, Sabry Fawwaz, and Mohammed Mamdouh.
And that’s it, if you stuck here with me till the end of the list, hope I gave you some suggestions and convinced you to watch any of these series. So, sit back, relax, take your time, take a bowl of popcorn in your hand, the TV remote in another, and enjoy.