DUBAI: With American restaurant dramedy “The Bear” still trending as the top series in the world, Saudi Arabia may have its own answer waiting in the wings. On September 6, Netflix will launch a brand-new original comedy series entitled “Tahir’s House,” which follows a dysfunctional family as they attempt to turn their failing fish shop in Jeddah, which is facing foreclosure, into a thriving business.
The series is helmed by Saudi filmmaker Sultan Al-Abdulmohsen, who previously directed the dystopian Saudi series “Bashar Shorts,” set in the Kingdom’s near future and released on Netflix in 2021.
For Al-Abdulmohsen, who worked from scripts by Jeddah-based Saudi writer Yaser Hammad, who pulled from his own experience of growing up in the city, the project was an opportunity to capture life as it’s really lived in the coastal metropolis.
“Creating ‘Tahir's House’ was a journey to blur the lines between reality and fiction. We wanted to build a world that — even in its comic and made-up moments — feels genuine and authentic,” Al-Abdulmohsen tells Arab News.
The series, which aims to capture the entrepreneurial spirit of the country, was also a chance to introduce global audiences to emerging Saudi talent of all ages, including the spirited elderly matriarch of the family Lutfiya (Naimah Ahmad); the ‘king-of-the-dad-joke’ father Jumaa (Mohammed Bakhash); the luckless son Yousef (Alhashimi Alfaisal); and the brilliant young daughter Azizah, played by TikTok star Joud Alsufyani.
According to Al-Abdulmohsen, having a cast and crew that features multiple generations of Saudis brought to both the set and the material itself the opportunity for intergenerational dialogue at a time when the country is going through significant changes.
“The collaborations between directors and cast really enriched the narrative, which is what makes this work special. It isn't only about displaying formal techniques. Everyone involved made it possible to take the words on paper and turn them into characters you can relate to, jokes that crack you up, and situations that feel true,” says Al-Abdulmohsen. “I truly feel that all audiences will enjoy the series.”