TV highlights of Ramadan

TV highlights of Ramadan
Superstar Saudi comedian Nasser Al-Qasabi stars in ‘Mamnou3 Al-tajawol.’ (Supplied) 
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Updated 09 April 2021

TV highlights of Ramadan

TV highlights of Ramadan
  • A selection of the shows we’ll all be talking about in Ramadan


Superstar Saudi comedian Nasser Al-Qasabi headlines a stellar cast that includes Rashid Al-Shamrani, Habib Al-Habib, Fayez Al-Maliki, Ilham Al-Ali, and Aseel Omran in this black comedy show examining how communities adapted to life in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic (the title translates roughly to ‘No Roaming,’ or ‘Curfew’). While it may be a comedy, it doesn’t shy away from the struggles that coronavirus has brought into our lives. ““Comedy is the general framework for (the show),” said Al-Qasabi in a press release. “It’s a social presentation of the situation in a comic nature, and I hope that we have been successful.” Al-Shamrani added: “We have tried to present topics that draw humor from the core of that suffering."


Expectations are clearly high for this Egyptian drama, which will be screened by both MBC and OSN over Ramadan (subtitled in English on the latter). Mona Zaki and Mohamed Mamdouh star as married couple Hana and Hazem. When Hana discovers she is pregnant, after many unsuccessful attempts, the couple decide that their child should be born in America, in the hope of providing greater opportunities for its future. Hana travels to the US first and, once she is there, she discovers some disturbing information about Hazem, including infidelity and his possible involvement in fraud and murder.


OSN’s regional version of British reality show “Come Dine With Me” was a huge hit in its debut season late last year, so it’s no surprise to see the network pushing season two out during Ramadan. Each week, a group of four strangers take it in turns to host a dinner party in their own home. The other guests rate their food and hosting abilities out of 10 at the end of the night — which offers plenty of scope for both back-stabbing and camaraderie. The series has once again been filmed in the UAE.


Kuwaiti actress Hayat Al-Fahad plays the title character in this fish-out-of-water series showing on MBC. Though born to an Arab father, Margaret has lived all her life with her English mother in London, so when she marries an Arab and moves to the Middle East, she struggles to fit in at first — expecting, and imposing, the same level of directness and strict organization she has been used to from her life in England. “She is not cruel but organized,” Al-Fahad said in a press release. “Lying is forbidden for her — honesty is the basis for (relationships). But those harsh habits that she acquired from her mother sometimes clash with certain models of Eastern society.” When her husband later dies, Margaret is left to raise their daughters alone, and manages to find a balance between East and West for her family. Director Basil Al-Khatib described the show as being “full of secrets, mysteries, drama, and unexpected events. It is filled with emotion and conflicts. In short, the (show) revolves around the mother's relationship with her daughters as well as the society in which she lives."


OSN is showing this decades-spanning, multi-narrative Gulf drama series (with English subtitles available) starring Mohammed Al-Mansour as murder victim Rashid Al-Mather. The story traces Al-Mather’s long life in Kuwait and shows the impact his death — and the knowledge that perhaps dies with him — has on other characters. Also starring Kuwaiti actors Haifa Adel and Khaled Amin and Omani actress Buthaina Al Ra’isi.


Egyptian period drama set in WWII. Mohamed Ramadan plays the title role of a young man dreaming of escaping poverty. But when Moussa takes revenge on the man responsible for his brother’s death, he is forced to flee into the mountains, where he fights against British occupation. But when another family member gets into trouble, Moussa returns to seek justice for them, and for himself. Showing on MBC. Sumaya Al-Khashab, Munther Rayhana and Heba Magdy also star.


Both OSN and MBC are showing this hotly anticipated Syrian crime series starring Qusai Khouli, Nadine Nassib Njeim, Ramy Ayach, and Randa Kaady. When a drug dealer (Khouli) falls for captain in the security services (Njeim), the odds seem stacked against their relationship working out. Each will have to make sacrifices, and learn to trust the other.


With Egyptian actress Youssra in the leading role, this drama series (the title translates to ‘Civil War’) is sure to be popular. She plays Mariam, a successful, self-possessed plastic surgeon who, as the actress explained in a press release, “discovers that she may lose everything (due to) a moment of weakness, so she tries hard to protect herself, her family, and her two daughters, who are everything to her.” Writer Ahmed Adel and director Sameh Abdel Aziz are remaining tight-lipped about the plot, but the cast also features Lebanese actress Cynthia Khalifa and Syrian star Basel Khayat.


Another OSN Khaleeji drama, this one starring Kuwaiti actress Hiba Al-Durri as a woman trying to hold her family of four siblings together after their mother dies. Her task is made even harder by the fact that her father has fallen apart since his wife’s death, and needs constant care himself.


Egyptian actress Ghada Abdel Razek takes on three different roles in this social drama that is set mainly in the market of a popular Egyptian neighbourhood (although the show was filmed in Beirut). Details of Razek’s roles are being kept under wraps, but we do know that the show will feature both flashbacks and jumps forward in time when the action shifts outside of the market place. The series was directed by Muhammad Osama and written by Iyad Ibrahim and also stars Amr Abdel Jalil, Khaled Kamal, Ahmed Khalil and Mai Selim.


This Egyptian drama series revolves, MBC said in a press release “around money, power, politics and love during the 1950s and 1960s in the aftermath of the July Revolution in Egypt.” Directed by Khaled Marei, the show stars Dina El-Sherbiny, Reham Abdel Ghafour, Sabry Fawaz, Ahmed Magdy, and more. When businessman Fahmi Pasha Al-Sioufi dies, his sons, his brother and his sister all inherit his fortune, and his palace on the banks of the Nile. But how will Al-Sioufi’s close ties to Egyptian royalty affect his surviving family now that the revolution has happened? And what secrets does that palace hide?


An intriguing-sounding drama series about a group of Arab students — many from the GCC — living in Beirut in the Sixties. Writer Heba Mashary Hamadeh described the show in a press release as a “daring and controversial act” that covers a range of ideological and political ideas that would have been hot topics around Hamra Street — the chosen hangout spot for poets, writers, artists and intellectuals in the Lebanese capital — at the time, including Arab nationalists, Islamists, militants, Baathists, militants, revivalists, communists, and more. “We also shed light on the high debate between religion and liberalism at the time,” Hamadeh added. The show stars Saudi actor Muhannad Al-Hamdi, Egyptian actress Nour Al-Ghandour, Kuwaiti actress Fatima Al-Safi, and Iraqi actress Rawan Mahdi, among others.