Say what you will about the 2010s, it was a confusing, dramatic time for everyone. Yet, there was a fascinating surge in a really well-made television series. This actually started from the mid-2000s and snowballed into the giant industry we are now witnessing. That is true for Egyptian television as well, as we have seen a remarkable rise in the quality of television during the last decade.
These are our Editor’s Picks for the best TV series of the past decade
‘Ayza Atgawez (2010)
This on-screen adaptation of Ghada Abdel ‘Aal’s hilarious novel was a great kickstart to 2010. Empowering, entertaining, and starring the lovely Hend Sabry, the show was a great hit! The series, which was directed by Rami Imam, follows the trials and tribulations of the protagonist who simply wants to get married. As she meets one unsuitable suitor after the other, hilarity ensues.
The Walking Dead (2010)
It has been a decade already since the zombie apocalypse broke out. Can you believe it? The Walking Dead was an instant hit when it first came out 10 years ago. Starring Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira and many, many more, the show follows a group of people as they try to survive post-zombie-apocalypse. The gruesome story is based on a graphic novel and is still going strong!
El Kebeer Awi (2010)
Yet another hysterical comedy, which turned into a saga with many seasons under its belt. The series stars the multitalented Ahmed Mekky and the brilliant Donia Samir Ghanem as the titular character “El Kebeer” and his wife, Hadeyah. The audience fell in love with the people of Mazareeta and many more seasons followed as a result!
The BBC blessed us with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s performances as modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. This immaculately directed series does not only have great writing and acting to boast about but also the incredible direction of photography and set design. A true joy to watch, no matter how long we have to wait for each season to come out.
Game of Thrones (2011)
This epic adventure all started out in 2011, and who would have thought it would end the way it did? Whether you loved or hated the last season, one cannot deny the sheer magnitude of this series. Game of Thrones enthralled audiences around the world. And brought so many amazing performances out of its incredible cast which included – but was not limited to – Peter Dinklage, Sean Bean, Charles Dance, Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, and Maisie Williams.
Black Mirror (2011)
Possibly one of the darkest TV productions in the history of TV productions, Black Mirror has amused and horrified us all, mostly at the same time! The standalone episodes depict a dark future awaiting us all. So cleverly written, it is relatable in its morbidity, in a way that can only make one’s skin crawl. Thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and absolutely brilliant; it is definitely one of the best series of this decade if not of all time.
Hekayat Banat (2012)
This relatable series has captured the attention of the audience in 2012. The first season starred Saba Mubarak, Houreya Farghaly, Dina El Sherbiny, and Riham Ayman. However, as more seasons came out, the cast changed. What remained is the audience’s love and fascination with the show which addressed many social issues facing young women in Egypt.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013)
Hilariously heartwarming, this comedy took TV audiences by storm! The endearing characters, brilliantly-written police-related situations, catchy one-liners, along with fantastic character development all make for genuinely brilliant television. The show’s incredible cast includes Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Andre Braugher among many more.
Peaky Blinders (2013)
The charismatic gangster Tommy Shelby broke into our hearts, along with the rest of his gang, Peaky Blinders. The series, starring Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, and many more fabulous actors, was widely celebrated all over the world. Set in 1919, the series beautifully paints a vivid picture of a time long past, which is equal parts sobering and fascinating.
Segn El Nesa (2014)
This heartbreaking drama had everyone crying and subsequently seeing inmates in an entirely different light. The show, brilliantly directed by Kamla Abu Zikry and written by Mariam Naoum and Hala Elzaghndi, narrated the unfortunate lives of various women who all ended up in women’s prison. The show starred Nelly Karim and its cast included Salwa Khattab, Durra, Ruby, Noha El Amrousi and many more brilliant actors.
Set in the 1970s and 1980s Egypt, singer Sherine made her acting debut as the series’ protagonist, a young woman with a passion for singing, who had to stand in the face of tradition and even her family to pursue her dreams. The series follows her journey, starting from her small village until she becomes a renowned singer. The audience was captivated by the tale, portrayed by a brilliant cast that included Bassel Khayat and Ahmed Fahmy.
Mr. Robot (2015)
This incredibly well-received series is centered around Elliot, an anxiety-riddled cyber-security engineer, by day. At night, he devotes his skills to hacking felons; this brings him the attention of “Mr. Robot”, an anarchist who recruits him to do his bidding. The show’s creator, Sam Ismail, and star, Rami Malek, both of Egyptian descent, were propelled to fame after the astounding success of the show. If that is not enough, the brilliant Christian Slater made his comeback through Mr. Robot!
This Netflix production takes an unwavering look at the cocaine trade in Columbia in the 80s. Starting with the fascinating story of the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, and then continuing on to narrate the stories of the drug lords who followed him. The show paints a haunting image of the 1980s Columbia and the heartbreaking lives of the DEA agents who had to live and work there. The show’s incredible cast includes Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, and Boyd Holbrook.
Nelly wa Sherihan (2016)
The fabulously funny Donia and Emmy Samir Ghanem joined forces on this one and the result was brilliant as expected. In this side-splitting comedy, the sisters play cousins, one of whom – portrayed by Donia – is a spoiled heiress, and the other – Emmy – a down-on-her-luck girl struggling to get by. The series was extremely well received and is still a household favorite years later.
Stranger Things (2016)
The show brought back that very specific 80s genre of coming-of-age stories where kids get to save the day. Taking inspiration from timeless classics such as The Lost Boys, IT, The Goonies, E.T., Stand by Me and many more. The show introduces the horrifying idea that there is a dark, haunting parallel universe, where there are monsters that can reach us. There are also people out there, attempting to open gateways to this universe, with the help of children with very special abilities. The show boasts a brilliant cast of impressive child actors such as Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, and Caleb McLaughlin, as well as an amazing cast of adults including Winona Ryder, David Harbour, and Sean Astin.
Grand Hotel (2016)
The Egyptian adaptation of the Spanish drama Gran Hotel was an instant hit. The attention to detail in costume and set design impressed audiences, and the compelling story captured their hearts. The incredible cast included Amr Youssef, Mohamed Mamdouh, Dina El Sherbiny, Ahmed Dawoud, Amina Khalil, Sawsan Badr, Anoushka, and many more stars.
La Casa De Papel (Money Heist) (2017)
Everyone fell in love with these Dali masks and red jumpsuit donning anarchists. The show portrays a robbery of the Royal Mint of Spain carried out by the gang of anarchists and led by the mysterious “Professor”. It is incredibly difficult to not get caught up in the intense drama of the series. As inside the Mint, things quickly spiral out of control, while on the outside, The Professor’s battle of wits with the Inspector is one that is guaranteed to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. The non-linear telling of the story, beautiful music, and brilliant cast – including Ursula Corbero, Alvaro Morte, and Itziar Ituno – all come together to create a most binge-able work of art!
TV executives finally caught up to the fact that people are strangely fascinated with serial killers. And so, they have blessed us with Mindhunter, a show which gives the audience a look at the very real world of serial killers. And how investigation techniques were devised to track serial crime in general, and question serial killers. The show stars Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Cameron Britton, among many more.
El Rehla (2018)
A suspenseful thriller where Bassel Khayyat really flexed his acting muscle. In the series, he plays a disturbed man whose paranoia results in him imprisoning his wife – played by Riham Abdel Ghafour – and daughter. As luck would have it when she finally escapes she is photographed. And thus we go through the husband’s twisted journey to find his wife and daughter. The series was incredibly well-received, and the actors’ performances praised for their authenticity.
The most horrific show of the decade, in this writer’s personal opinion, is sadly one based entirely on true events. The very well-researched show brilliantly portrays the extremely real horrors and injustices faced by the people of Chernobyl. As the catastrophe unfolds, the audience can do nothing but watch in terror. The show’s cast includes Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, and Emily Watson. A definite must-watch, but prepare a tissue box because it is a truly heartbreaking tale.