TV dramas you don't want to miss this Ramadan

TV dramas you don't want to miss this Ramadan
Ramadan is when star-studded dramas take over television screens in Arab households across the region. The New Arab brings you the top five series to look out for this year.
3 min read
18 May, 2017
Orchidea is a fantasy television drama about a struggle for power between three kingdoms [Screenshot]
Audiences across the Arab world are gearing up for the biggest month of the TV calendar as the Ramadan approaches.

Expected to begin either on May 27 or May 28, depending on the sighting of the moon, Arab TV viewers will be treated to a slew of major big-budget productions in what is undoubtedly the biggest period for Arabic television.

As audiences recover from gruelling day-long fasts, night-time dramas have become a major phenomenon over the past decade.

From modern-dramas to historical mini-series of major periods of Arab history, production companies invest major budgets to secure the region's biggest stars and win the mantle of hottest series.

With episodes aired daily over the 29 or 30 days of the month, the phenomenon has not come without controversy as elements argue a month meant for spiritual reflection is now flooded with entertainment shows.

The audiences themselves seem not affected, with advertising slots over the month now being highest premium for the year.

As different stations vie for a slice of the audience share, The New Arab has put together seven of the biggest series to be released this Ramadan.

1. Orchidea

Described by many as the "Game of Thrones" of Arab TV, Orchidea is a fantasy television drama about a bloody struggle for power between three kingdoms. It features similar characters to the HBO US hit while undoubtedly excludes any provocative or racy scenes.

The series, directed by renowned Syrian actor-director Hatem Ali, presents a large ensemble cast including Salloum Haddad, Jamal Suliman, Samer al-Masri, Basil al-Khatib, Yara Sabri, Abed Fahd and Sulafa Memar.

With a budget of five million US dollars, Orchidea was shot in several locations across Romania. It is set to premier on Abu Dhabi TV on May 27.

2. The Black Horse
The protagonist of this Egyptian series is celebrated actor Ahmed al-Sakka, a deceitful lawyer who wins his cases in unethical ways.

Following an accident, he suffers a series of hallucinations that leave him unable to differentiate between illusions and reality. He soon finds himself in the middle of a shady business.

The Black Horse, directed by Ahmed Khaled Moussaw, with Yasmine Sabry, Mohamed Farag and Sherry Adel starring alongside al-Sakka.

It will air on MBC Masr with the start of Ramadan.

3. The Black Crows

Not the typically light evening entertainment often found in a Ramadan TV series, The Black Crows is a chilling drama about life under Islamic State group rule. It focuses on female recruiters and the rise of extremism from women's perspective.

The series relays real-life accounts exposing IS crimes and brutal repression. It involves a collaboration of renowned Arab actors, including Saudi actor Rashid al-Shamrani, Egyptian actors Sayed Ragab and Abduel Aziz Makhyoon, Egyptian belly dancer and actress Dina Talaat, Syrian actor Ahmad al-Ahmad, Kuwaiti actress Mona Shaddad and Tunisian actress Fatma Nasser.

The Black Crows debuts on MBC with the start of Ramadan.

4. Delhab Village


Possibly the first ever far-fledged horror series to hit the Arab world, Delhab Village is period drama set in the 17th century about a forgotten Egyptian village haunted by a supernatural spirit yearning for blood and vengeance.

It is up to a village doctor, played by Youssef el-Sherif, to put an end to the angry spirit in this series starring megastar Rojina.

The gripping tale will show on ON TV with the start of Ramadan.

5. Spotlight


The renowned satirical TV show comes back this Ramadan with its 13th series, packed with hilarious sketches putting the spotlight on social, economic and world events.

Directed by Fadi Sleem, Spotlight stars Saloom Hadad, playing Donald Trump in one of the much-anticipated episodes alongside Lebanese actress Hiba Dagher assuming the role of Melania Trump.

The show brings together a pan-Arab cast of leading actors and actresses, including Ayman Ridha, Amal Arafah and Bassam Koussa.

It airs on Infinity and Lebanon's OTV on May 27.