From Tash to Selfie: Ramadan drama series over the years

Mashari Althaydi

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The holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner, and as we all know, in addition to being a religious month, it has become a social occasion in which the family is reunited. Ramadan is the largest season of Arab drama and the peak of the media season.

The drama and entertainment programs producers are aware of this demand. They prepare themselves for it throughout the year. The Egyptian and Saudi markets have been famed for this season. Almost all Arab countries have their own television schedule for the Ramadan season, from Morocco to Iraq.

In Saudi Arabia, we have fixed television programs for Ramadan. Previously, the social religious program At the Iftar Table, presented by Sheikh Ali-Tantawi who is of Syrian-Saudi origins.

The holy month of Ramadan, in addition to being a religious month, has become a social occasion in which the family is reunited. It is also the largest season of Arab drama and the peak of the media season

Mashari Althayidi

Tash Matash

Egyptian Sheikh Mohamed Metwally al-Sharaoui also had his own signature program during the season, in addition to many series that are never forgotten, the most famous of which was Tash Matash, the social comedy for the whole family that was aired for nearly two decades.

This program was first aired on the Saudi Television and then was transferred in a remarkable deal to MBC, the channel for the whole Arab family. The program came to an end when the partnership between the duo Abdullah al-Sadhan and Nasser al-Qasabi ended.

Later on, this program took another form when MBC embraced the talent of Nasser al-Qasabi along with the talented writer Khalaf al-Harbi. They were also joined by Iraqi director Aws al-Sharqi and stars like Habib al-Habib, Abdul Elah al-Sanani and many others, in a modern youth digital version of Tash called the Selfie series, replacing the former version of the program.

Social, educational, political and artistic critique was targeted in the Selfie series. You can see from its title that the producers were interested in keeping up with the evolution made on the social media platforms.

Egyptian drama

Apart from comedy and Saudi programs, the Egyptian drama presented many masterpieces during Ramadan, to the extent that the Egyptian drama today, is the main threshold for Arab drama, after the stumbling of the Syrians, and the specificities of Gulf drama, especially in Kuwait.

With regard to Egyptian drama, I am very excited to watch the second part of the al-Gamaa (or the group) series that was written by the scenarist and Egyptian researcher Wahid Hamid. It took him years to write and arrange it. The first part in 2010 consisted of 30 episodes and was very controversial because the work was aired during the rise of the Brotherhood.

The first season ended with the story of the founding leader Hassan al-Banna; the second part will tackle the life of the following MB figures, mainly Sayed Qutb, who is, for the first time, portrayed in a drama work, along with Hassan al-Hudaibi and Zainab al-Ghazali.

This is a promising drama season.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.