Ramadan is the season for many different things, fasting, worship and prayers, family gatherings, cozy fun Ramadan nights, and most importantly Ramadan TV series.
Every Ramadan our bright and creative Egyptian creatives compete to win our hearts and views by making elaborate well-made shows that captivate us and honestly ease our days in this month of good deeds and hardships. This year, however one particular show stood out in one way or another from the normal Egyptian culture we see on TV every Ramadan. The Arabic adaptation of the hit USA show Suits. But how and why did it stand out? Will the Arabic show live up to the hype of its predecessor or will the American original still hold leverage over its Arabic counterpart!
The legal drama television series follows the lives of New York’s best and brightest Lawyers in one of the Top Law firms in the City. The Two MCs are Mike Ross played by Patrick J. Adams and Harvey Specter played by Gabriel Macht.
The show’s appeal notoriously relays on the charm and wit of Harvy, a character that is so attractive in more than one way, being a famous ladies’ man, and a very canning, bluffing lawyer. His character arch keeps the viewers on their toes ‘cause it’s the main reason the characters have obstacles and hardships to overcome using their abilities and different personality traits.
The show was a hit all and all running for 9 seasons from its premiere in 2011 till 2019. It is available on streaming services all over the world, maybe you can check it out if you haven’t already. See if the Arabic Adaptation will live up to your expectations.
An OSN original adaptation, the show plotline wise follows the same exact formula and takes the exact same approach to handle the climax and resolution. Screenplay by the one and only Mohamed Hefzy and Yasser Abdel Mageed and directed by Esam Abdel Mageed.
The casting hits home with MENA region drama household names like Asser Yassin (Harvey Specter), Saba Mubarak(Jessica Pearson), Ahmed Dawood(Mike Ross), and Tara Emad(Rachel Zane), Reem Mostafa (Donna Paulsen), Mohamed Shahin (Louis Litt). Amongst other cast members.
So far after only three episodes, the show is slowly but surely coming to its tone and style, what is most noticeable about it is the visuals, immaculate, clean, and true to the original which is something Egyptian and Arab viewers wanted for the longest time from shows and entertainment in general.
Viewers didn’t shy away from sharing their opinion online, and the reaction to the show is mixed, to say the least. Some expressed their affinity to Aser Yassin acting and playing the character of cutthroat yet subtle Harvey in a way that doesn’t feel like a carbon copy. Others compared the performance to buying Harvey Specter from Shein, the Chinese online clothing brand known for duping high-end clothing brands in a cheap way.
One reaction that is really fair and makes a lot of sense is that even though it is an Arabic adaptation it is still a very valuable piece of work that still holds artistic merit and deserves to be watched and enjoyed. Especially since it elevates the mind of the Arab viewers who aren’t used to that specific type of drama.
The main issue here is most probably a mix of two shortcomings, the very hard task of Egyptianizing every aspect of the show to fit the culture and stay in line with Egyptian Family Values which are a must, especially this Ramadan!
The other is the apparent lack of charisma that happened due to a change in some key elements of the main character Harvey. In the original Harvey is a ladies’ man, a drinker, and a gambler to put it nicely which isn’t the case with his Arabic version who loves playing Chess!
To rest my case, it is a brave choice to air this show during the holy month, and on a more positive note, we’re still three episodes in so we still have a lot to learn about the show and a journey to go through with its characters.