In this pandemic, we know that Netflix is anyone’s best friend. But did you get tired of your friends’ never-ending series and movie suggestions? Or felt lost in too-tiring-to-look-at to-watch lists and recommendations? Maybe all you need is a cozy trip; back to the 90s and 80s, the golden era of the Egyptian television drama, when all that mattered was the perfect story and the deep characters. We’ll try to break to you some of the best iconic dramas you should consider watching or maybe Re-watching because it’s THAT good.
1. Lyali El-Helmeya (1987)
What would life be like without the brutal-hilarious war between Selim Al Badry (AKA Yehia Al-Fakhrany) and Soliman Ghanem (AKA Salah Al-Sa’dany)? I don’t even want to imagine.
Lyali Al-Helmeya is literally an Egyptian odyssey that begins in the King Farouk era in El-Helmeya district, where nothing was about money and neighbors were practically one big family.
We witness the conflicts between Soliman Ghanem, who came to Cairo to avenge his father’s death, and Selim Al-Badry who tries to protect his family and properties from Ghanem. In the shadow of this individual war, we also see the Egyptian resistance against English occupation that then led to freedom.
But hey, if you’re not into this kind of thing, you can always watch to enjoy the legendary diva Nazek El-Slehdar (AKA Safya El Emary). Can anyone believe that this woman used to do her own makeup? I mean look at that eye-liner.
2. Lan A’eesh Fe Gelbab Aby (1995)
So, I want to start off by saying that the old-but-gold love story between AbelGhafoor El-Bora’ey (AKA Noor El-Sherif) and Fatma Koshary (AKA Abla Kamel) should be at the top of your relationship goals. Why? Let’s see. When AbdelGhafoor started from scratch in every means of the word, Fatma was always by his side supporting, loving, and accepting him all the way and vice versa. Their relationship was based on honesty, respect, and feeling fully satisfied with each other. They actually managed to grow old without ever growing apart. And though they got richer and the world as they know changed dramatically, he never stopped flirting with her and she never stopped feeling jealous.
Moving from their love story that’s so cute and makes all of us smile shyly till now, the show had many levels that some maybe don’t notice. Because yes, AbdelGhafoor did become the biggest junk trader, but all of his money gradually turned into a curse that followed his children and somehow ruined their lives. And what made him unhappy most of the time is his shaky relationship with his son, Abdelwahab, who chose to live his life away from his father’s money and authority.
So, if you want a success story, complex characters, a rebellious son, and the can’t-be-forgotten Sanya’s Wedding, this is your show.
3. Zezenya (1997)
Have you ever thought that maybe you were born in the wrong era? Or dreamt of living in the cosmopolitan Alexandria? Where Italians, the Greeks, the French, and Egyptians lived together in perfect harmony? Zezenya takes you there, making you wish life could go back in time. So that you can see, feel, and live in a community where all cultural and religious differences were tolerated.
Here we’ll follow the story of Beshr Amer AbdelZaher or Butchi (AKA Yehia El-Fakhrany), who’s a true paradox. As he comes from a strong Egyptian father and a rich Italian mother. He’s always in search of himself. Always torn between his more-like-Don-Corleone Italian uncle aspirations for him and his patriotic Egyptian father’s life.
Nevertheless, he’s definitely a character you’d find yourself wishing to meet in real life, have a cup of coffee with and just share your thoughts about confusion and what true belonging means.
These three dramas are just the tip of the iceberg, and watching them is like taking a walk away from this world and entering another one, completely and utterly different. Each one of them is filled with marvelous characters that’d make you cry and laugh your heart out with them. So if this suits you –as it obviously does with us- get in the comfort of your own bed, go back in time and see what life and people were like.
Always facing the world with humor, books, and a good cup of coffee! Zahra is the girl who has a lot to say about everything and always needs to write something down.