10 Ramadan Series That Will Have You Glued to Your TV (Whether You Like it or Not)
As has come to be a pillar of Ramadan in Egypt, this year’s drove of seasonal TV shows and mosalsalat are already the talk of the town. With hundreds of hours of comedy and drama – ranging from the excellent to the downright terrible – set to hit our screens over the next month, not all will go down well with Egypt’s increasingly discerning audiences. But one thing is for sure; so big is Ramadan TV season, that, whether you love it or hate it, you certainly can't ignore it.
With that in mind, here are ten of this year’s Ramadan shows that you won’t be able to escape…
Al Tabaal (ONTV)
While the basic premise of Al Tabaal hasn’t done much more inspire, the slick-back hair, beard and bulging biceps of popular actor, Amir Karara, might just well be enough to have viewers tuning in. Playing the part of a tabla player in a shaabi band, Karara’s character seemingly takes on a kind of Eminem in 8 Mile role, as he tries to make a living out of his musical passion. Again, it doesn’t seem like the deepest of premises, but should make for an interesting series that focuses on a very particular element of music and culture.
Banaat Superman (MBC Masr)
One of the more surreal and downright random shows this year, Banaat Superman – ‘Superman’s Girls’ – sees a rather different interpretation of the ‘Man of Steel’. Here goes: Superman comes to Egypt, gets distracted and finds himself on the notorious Haram Street, where he falls for and engages in a relationship with a local – who then finds that she’s become pregnant. The illegitimate child is then dumped in front of an orphanage, where things start to get, well, weird.
El Caesar (ONTV)
Starring Youssef El Sherif in the titular role, El Caesar, could well be one of the darker show this year. Telling of a man who possesses ‘extraordinary abilities’ operating as part of a terrorist cell, the show also features the likes of the more comedy-prone Edward who likes like he might provide some much needed comic relief. Once again, a heavy dose of bulging biceps and fast-paced action will definitely have Cairenes tuning in.
El Moghany (Al Hayah)
Possibly the most anticipated show this year, El Moghany is a fictionalised series delving into the life of the legendary Mohamed Mounir. El King will himself star as, well, himself, and while the show is largely biographical, producers have been up-front about adding a few fictional elements, including romantic subplots. This has all the makings of one of the best Ramadan TV shows in years.
Grand Hotel (CBC/OSN)
Starring a brilliantly moustachioed Amr Youssef out for revenge, it’s Grand Hotel’s setting and general aesthetic that makes it intriguing – that and Amr Youssef’s glorious moustache, of course. The story goes that Youssef’s character’s sister works at a high-class hotel and is murdered there. Being the moustachioed hardman that he is, Youssef’s character then goes undercover at the hotel as he seeks answers and, ultimately, vengeance. Also, did we mention his moustache?
Ma’moun We Shorakah (MBC 1/MBC Masr)
No Ramadan would be complete without a cantankerous Adel Imam character dominated screens and the legendary actor hasn’t disappointed this year. The plot for this one’s a little weird; after being abandoned by his family for being tight-fisted, stingy and just plain cheap, Adel Imam’s character is revealed to be a millionaire years later. Naturally, the kids suddenly want to reconcile with their penny-pinching father, as they search for his hidden money.
Nelly & Sherihan (ONTV/Al Kahera Walnas/CBC/Dream/Dubai One)
Starring the Samir Ghanem sisters, Donia and Amy, this too a little bit basic in concept, but the chemistry between the sibling leads – who actually play cousins in the show – is likely to give Nelly & Sherihan a unique spark, or whatever. Anyway, this comedy tells of a woman who, after the death of her father, searches of her cousin in the hope that she can help her decode the will.
Sokoot Hor (CBC)
Following the success of last year’s Taht El Saytara, Nelly Karim is back in the possibly the most intense series of the year once more. Sokoot Hor (Free Fall) sees Karim take on the role of a supposed psychopath who has been placed in a psychiatric ward after being found guilty of murdering her husband and sister. Did-she-didn’t-she plot-line aside, the subject matter alone has already made this one of the most talked about series this Ramadan.
Ramez Yal3ab Bel Nar (MBC Masr)
We’re not sure who it is exactly that enjoys Ramez Galal’s cringingly juvenile prank shows, but there must be lots of them, because he keeps coming back – in fact, he’s managed to weave himself into the fabric of Egyptian Ramadan TV, which is not ok. Either way, you’re bound to watch at least a clip or two, whether you like it or not. This year, there’s fire involved. God help us.
Saba3 Arwa7 (ONTV)
As one of the best actors of his generation, Khaled El-Nabawy doesn’t just star in anything and so you’ve got to wonder what’s in store with Saba3 Arwa7 (Seven Souls). The plot is straightforward, but there’s plenty to explore; a powerful businessman on death-row for murde, though the police officer that put him there begins to think he might have made a mistake as he comes to believe that the victim might not be dead after all *insert dramatic DUN, DUN, DUUUNNN sound effect*.
Happy Ramadan, Cairo!