The Best & Worst Ramadan TV Shows So Far
The first week of Ramadan usually plays out the same in Cairo – think of it as an adjustment period for fasters to settle into their new eating routine, where we all largely stay in the cocoon of our homes, where there’s only one thing to do – take in the tens and tens of Ramadan shows.
This year hasn’t disappointed in terms of sheer numbers; but even though we’re only one week in, everyone has an opinion on the good, bad and the utterly terrible – and here’s ours.
La Totfe2 El Shams
What’s it about? A modern adaptation of Ehsan Abdul Qodous’s novel of the same name, La Totfe2 El Shams follows the life of a family of five, tracing the ebb and flows of the relationships between them.
Why is it good? Originally well-written by one of Egypt’s best storytellers, La Totfe2 El Shams has fallen into the safe hands of screenwriter, Tamer Habib, and director, Mohamed Shaker Khodier; the duo behind last year’s Ramadan hit, Grand Hotel and 2015’s Taree’y. Aside from starring the outstanding Mohamed Mamdouh, the series also has a long list of Egypt’s sweethearts featuring in it; Mervat Amin, Sherine Reda, Amina Khalil and Gamila Awad.
Wahet El Ghoroub
What’s it About? Based on a novel of the same name by Bahaa Taher, Wahet El Ghoroub is a historical drama telling of Officer Mahmoud, whose punitive relocation in Siwa Oasis marks the beginning of a magical journey that merges between the realms of his past, present and even the historical events witnessed by Siwa.
Why is it good? The duo behind Segn El Nessa, director, Kamla Abu Zikrya and screenwriter, Mariam Na’oom, return this year with another promising adaptation, after their successful adaptation of Son’allah Ibrahim’s novel Zat in 2013. Wahet El Ghoroub, which, marks their fourth collaboration, offers the successful combination of a good story, beautiful cinematography and great performances.
What’s it about? This thriller tells of a psychiatrist who tries to unravel the mystery around a man who he suspects is – well, no one’s really sure yet.
Why is it good? Apart from the pleasure of watching the dramatic tension between two heartthrobs, Basal Khayat and Asser Yassin, 30 Youm delivers fast-paced action that keeps the viewer intrigued to see what happens next. Also, it’s worth mentioning that 30 Youm is directed by Hossam Ali, the man behind last year’s Banat Superman and 2015’s Estifa.
Le A’ala Se’r
What’s it about? This drama tells of couple whose seemingly successful marriage begins to crack under the weight of negative repressed emotions piled up through the years.
Why is it good? Although the plot may seem unoriginal as a whole, its fast-paced, detailed narrative has managed to capture viewers’ attention. Another reason to watch Le A’ala Se’r is the heavyweight showdown between two of Egypt’s most prolific actresses, Zeina and Nelly Karim.
What’s it about? Starring Shiko, Hesham Maged and Ahmed Mekky, the series follows the final fight between men and women in a post-apocalyptic world.
Why is it bad? Gathering some of the funniest men around, what was expected to be a series made in heaven turned out to be a collective of excessively boring sketches, inspired by the run-of-the-mill Facebook posts about the subject.
Raya7 El Madame
What’s it about? Starring Ahmed Fahmy, Akram Hosny and Mai Omar, Raya7 El Madame follows a man who, with the help of his best friend, is navigating the issues caused by his unpredictable wife.
Why is it bad? While the duo of Ahmed Fahmy and Akram hosny fare better than their fellow comedians in Khalsana Bshyaka in terms of the plot, Raya7 El Madame, nevertheless, is a cheap comedy that has thus far failed to rise above its barrage of crude jokes.
Fel La La Land
What’s it about? Remember the hit series Lost? Well, this is the Egyptian comedy version of the show, starring Donia Samir Ghanem, Shaima Seif and Mohamed Tharwat.
Why is it bad? It seems like Donia Samir Ghanem has caught Ahmed Mekky Syndrome; an addiction to playing caricatured roles. While the well-written script of Nelly w Sherihan served her well, when she played the role of the ‘it’ girl, her performance in Fel La La Land comes off as recycled and, subsequently, not very funny, as are the procession of silly jokes.
7alawet El Donia
What’s it about? While getting ready for her wedding, a woman is diagnosed with leukaemia.
Why is it bad? While it may shine a light on the experience of leukaemia sufferers, 7alawet El Donia wades quite often into over-sentimentalised territory. It’s incredibly heavy-handed, emotionally manipulative and could have done with a bit more subtlety in its portrayal of Hend Sabry’s character and her suffering.
Ramez Taht El Ard
What’s it about? TV presenter, Nishan, lures Ramez’s victims by inviting them to a fake TV show set in the desert, where the latter is lurking in an ambush of artificial quicksand, dressed as a Komodo dragon.
Why is it bad? After Lebanese TV host, Tony Khalifa, revealed this year’s prank on Facebook weeks before Ramadan, Ramez Galal’s latest show was met with even more sighs and rolling eyes – which there has been even more of since it started. The fake reactions, the demeaning ‘violence’ Galal suffers and the lame camaraderie that he’s quick to point exists between him and his victims – it’s time this stopped.