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Best Arabic TV Shows with English Subtitles

By Yann, published on 24/05/2018 We Love Prof - IN > Languages > Arabic > Your Guide to the Best Arabic TV

‘I am from Lebanon, from Beirut and Saida
I am from the ground underneath my home
I am from the trees, the cedar tree
I come from Tabouleh and brown eyes, from Karim…
Kassar and Kassem
I come from happiness and culture
From “Habibi” and “Hayete”
I am from all religions
I am from the room beneath the stars.’
― Zeina Kassem, Talal Kassem

Netflix clocked a staggering 117 million subscribers at the end of last year and according to a Netflix launched survey undertaken by Toluna, 46% of UK Netflix users stream live from their Netflix accounts in public. Watching TV via a traditional television set is no longer in fashion. Today almost all Non-Arabic and Arabic channels are accessible via the internet thanks to national and international online TV service sites, such as BBC iPlayer and CBS.

Whether you are in the mood for a documentary, a bit of live sports, politics, lifestyle, Arabic news, talk shows or simply want to tune into some Hindi music channels, you don’t need to set up boxes or sign up for satellite TV or cable TV like back in the good old 90’s.

Bid farewell to your expensive TV package with all those unnecessary premium channels and say hello to Arab TV from the comfort of your own iPad or computer!

From peace TV and Brazillian TV to sport TV and even fire TV, you can now watch great live 24 hour TV online anywhere around the world. This is simply ideal for worldwide fans of Islamic soap operas who need to get their drama fix by accessing Arabic TV channels in high definition any time of day.

Arabic TV shows It’s your lucky day! (Source: Visual Hunt)

The majority of TV series is also available online through (fee-paying and free) TV streaming and video streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Rather than live TV, subscription holders of these sites offer viewers the chance to legally stream or download videos and watch on demand.

From the Kingdom of Jordan, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq to Morocco, Egypt and Libya, the opportunity to discover some of the best Arabic TV shows out there from home and immerse yourself in Arab culture is now at your fingertips.

All you need is a decent WiFi signal and the time to log in to your computer and find an online TV service site that broadcasts, streams or offers downloadable episodes from your favourite Arabic TV channel!

Arabic TV Show No. 1: Fauda

Director: Lior Raz
Actors: Lior Raz, Hisham Suliman, Shadi Marei, Laëtitia Eïdo
Number of seasons: 2

Arab TV Title: فوض

The title of the show, Fauda, means chaos.

Synopsis: At the height of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Doron Kavillio, a commander of the Mista’arvim unit attempts to arrest Abu Ahmad (aka the Panther) one of the high-ranking members of the Hamas who is responsible for a number of attacks. Thought to have already been killed by Doron some years ago, the Panther reappears. Recently retired Doron, must thus return to work and be part of a new mission to infiltrate the group.

Nominated two years ago at the International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA) in Biarritz, Fauda is a series that has received phenomenal success in both Israel and Palestine.

Produced in Arabic and Hebrew, it is possible to watch all episodes of the series either on DVD or via a video streaming site. The series is also available to stream on Netflix with English subtitles – watching an international TV drama has never been more simple!

Forget Star Trek, Scrubs, Dexter, Prison Break, Camelot, NCIS and other American television series. Bring on Arabic TV! Out with the old and in with the new!

Arabic TV Show No. 2: Shankaboot

Watch Arab TV to help you learn the language Follow the adventures of a delivery boy and his moped! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Director: Katia Saleh (producer)
Actors: Nasri Sayegh
Number of Seasons: 5

Arab TV Title: شنكبوت

Synopsis: In the heart of Beirut, as part of his job as a delivery boy, 15-year-old Souleyman is doing the rounds on his scooter named Shankaboot. During his deliveries, the young boy inadvertently becomes a spectator to a number of astonishing events, including bearing witness to one character, Roueida, running away from her violent husband and revelling in dreams of becoming a famous singer. His adventures turn out to be at once unexpected and humorous!

Shankaboot is a type of interactive web-fiction filmed in the streets of Beirut and produced in Arabic dialect (Lebanese). The aim of the project was to create a drama that is as realistic as possible in its depiction of the life of young Lebanese people living in the capital (which is so shaped by the amalgamation of traditionalism and modernity), but that also has a fictitious element. The majority of actors were initially approached and selected on the streets, which renders the acting yet more authentic and gives a truly realistic insight into life in Arabia.

This web-series was produced by the BBC in conjunction with Batoota Film. It won first prize at the Emmys (International Emmy Awards) in April 2011 in the category Digital Program – Fiction.

Learn the Arabic alphabet and to speak Arabic, this series will help you to get well on your way to becoming a bilingual English-Arabic speaker!

You can also try improving your Arabic by familiarising yourself with Arabian cinema and watching a variety of Arabic films.

Arabic TV Show No. 3: Hatufim

Director: Gideon Raff
Actors: Yoram Toledano, Gal Zaid, Ishai Golan, Salim Dau,
Number of Seasons: 2

Arab TV title: البلد الام

The title in Arabic means homeland.

Synopsis: Returning to one’s own country proves to be difficult for two Israeli ex-prisoners. Freed and reintegrated into their families, the two have trouble forgetting their past and the torture they experienced at the hands of the enemy. They are tormented by incessant mental flashbacks, which ends up bringing down not only their own spirits but also that of their loved ones who attempt to be there for them. A sombre psychological account of the difficulties of trying to reintegrate into family and society after an absence.

The creator of the show said about the series:

‘The lives of prisoners of war after they have returned are almost never discussed, never explored.’ Gideon Raff

Adapted for the US market and released under the name, Homeland, the TV series, Hatufim has been a veritable international success.

The director elaborates further about the TV show’s subject matter:

‘Here in Israel, we want the boys back home, we demand it from our government, who often pay a steep price to get hostages back. But we need a happy ending. We don’t want to deal with those days after release, their post-trauma or reintroduction to society. Yet coming home is only the start of their journey.’ Gideon Raff

Arabic TV Show No. 4: Farouk Omar

Director: Hatem Ali
Actors: Ghassan Massoud, Samer Ismail
Number of Seasons: 1

Arab TV Title: عُمَرْ‎

The representation of Omar in the TV series has proved controversial in many Arab countries.

Synopsis: Over the course of the episodes, the season recounts the life of Omar ibn al-Khattab al-Faruq, the second Muslim caliph. Compromised of 31 episodes, the entire story that the series deals with occurs in just one single season.

30000 actors and technicians from 10 different countries were involved in producing the series. The 31 episodes were filmed in only 300 days.

The series sparked well-known and widespread controversy due to the representation of Omar, Abou Bakr, Othman and Ali ibn Abi Talib, the four classical Muslim caliphs. According to Muslim practice, one is not supposed to represent the figures as many forms of Islam would deem such an action blasphemous. However, the series still turned out to be a resounding success in the Arab world.

Arabic TV Show No. 5: BeTipul

Directors: Hagai Levi, Nir Bergman, Ori Sivan
Actors: Assi Dayan
Number of Seasons: 2

Arab TV Title: في العلاج

The title of the series means in treatment, or in therapy in Arabic.

Synopsis: The series follows the psychotherapy treatment of Reuven Dagan and the adventures of his five patients as he grapples with his own chaotic private life, which is unveiled during his own therapy sessions.

This Israeli series aired between 28th August 2005 and 6th March 2008. It was released internationally under the name, In Treatment, and provides a chance for viewers to gain a taste of life in the Middle East.

In order to watch or re-watch this series, you can visit streaming sites or sites where international TV shows can be legally downloaded. One way to watch old series, but also to find new ones is via Netflix UK.

Watching top Arabic TV shows gives you the chance to learn Arabic and reinforces areas you may have learnt in language classes (Arabic grammar, Arabic literature, conjugations, phonetics, Arabic words, Arabic vocabulary, Arabic writing, etc.).

To further improve your Arabic language skills, why not consider taking Arabic courses London or Swansaea, going on a language exchange to an Arabic speaking country to converse with the locals in Arabic and become a fluent Arabic speaker?

You could even try swotting up on some Arabic songs to further improve your language skills!

Arabic TV Show No. 6: The Jewish Quarter

There are many Arabic channels to help you learn A series which focuses on women! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Director: Mohamed Gamal El-Adl
Actors: Iyad Nassar, Mona Shebli
Number of Seasons: 1

Arab TV Title: الحي اليهودي

Synopsis: Laila learns that her brother has decided to move to Israel. This is a real betrayal for the young Jewish girl, who perceives Zionism to be a betrayal to Egyptians.

The series centres on the main character, Laila. Rather unusually for Egyptian dramas, Egyptian Jews are depicted first and foremost as Egyptians rather than as Zionists.  This is arguably one of the first Egyptian TV series where Jews are respectfully represented.

However, the series deliberately brushes the role played by the military (with regards to the expulsion of Egyptian Jews in 1953 as Nasser gained increasing power) under the table.

If you are longing to see beautiful glimpses of Egypt, Cairo and the Nile then be sure to have the show open and waiting in your browser ready to be streamed!

Arabic TV Show No. 7: Hostages

Directors: Amir Gottfried, Danny Soffer
Actors: Ayelet Zurer, Jonah Lotan, Yoav Rotman
Number of Seasons: 2

Arab TV Title: الرهائن

Synopsis: Ayelet Zurer, surgeon, wife and mother of two children sees her life turned upside down over the course of a difficult operation. She must operate on the Israeli Prime-Minister. However, masked criminals come to take her family hostage in order to ensure that he does not survive the operation.

This Israeli TV series made a big buzz in the US since it had been adapted to the US market and then aired just a few weeks after the original Israeli version itself was aired. However, the American version is compromised of just one season.

Available on Netflix.

Watch a film, tune into a movie channel, watch a TV series, jump to the very last episodes or start a new series, it is now easy to access TV and cinema from anywhere in the world (American series, French series, Arabic series, etc.).

Arabic TV Show No. 8: Mossad 101

An Arab TV clip A TV series that is both original and funny! (Source: Flickr)

Director: Daniel Syrkin
Actors: Aki Avni, Yehuda Levi, Itai Tiran, Omer Barnea
Number of Seasons: 2

Arab TV Title: المدراشة

Synopsis: Follow 13 students from Iran, Brazil and other countries as they train to become agents of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. A completely wacky fictional account of training that swings between action and comedy.

A delicious mix that finds itself somewhere between Quantico and  Police Academy, the series will not miss the chance to surprise you! Here’s the chance to admire beautiful actors and watch scenes that will definitely have you laughing. A surprising cast that tells a story that is, quite frankly, completely mad!

If you haven’t got the means to travel to an Arabic speaking country to learn Arabic somewhere in the Arabian Peninsula, you can still have a go thanks to this series. Learning a language can be entertaining too after all!

Tunisian, Syrian, Turkish, Iraqi, Lebanese or Moroccan, whether it is a local dialect or of one of the official languages of the Arabian peninsula, try learning a language from the Muslim world!

Viewable on Netflix and other streaming sites.

Do you know any apps for learning Arabic?

Arabic TV Show No. 9: Mekimi

Director: Ram Nehari
Actors: Yael Poliakov, Daniel Niv
Number of Seasons: 1

Arab TV Title: מקימי

Synopsis: Alma, a young television star looking to distance herself a little from show business and all it entails. She soon meets Ben, a surfer and film studies student who is also feeling a bit lost like her. They become roommates and one learns about the two as the episodes progress. That is until Ben discovers a book written by Rabbin Nachman of Breslev which will separate the two before they are finally able to reunite again.

The series is based on an autobiographical novel written by Noa Yaron-Dayan, a former TV and radio star.

This is a series not to be missed by any lovers of moving and original stories.

By searching words on Google (free streaming, tv series, film streaming, download series, streaming series, streaming, streaming Arabic, TV online, TV online for free,  TV channels, live TV online etc.) you can gain access to whole range of series and TV channels (Tamazight, Mbc, Canal algérie, Berbère TV, etc.) produced by Islamic countries.

This is one way to not only watch Mekimi, but all Arabic TV series (covering Turkish series, Lebanese series, Algerian series, Tunisian series, Moroccan series, Egyptian series, Palestinian series, etc.). In fact, be it Dubai TV, Brazillian TV or even German TV, you can watch internet TV from everywhere across the globe! Check you are watching from an official website though so that you can steer well clear of any sites that infringe copyrights!

Arabic TV Show No. 10: Jinn

Director: Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
Actors: Not documented
Number of Seasons: 1 (still in production)

Arab TV Title: جن

Synopsis: A group of adolescents in the ancient city of Petra in the Kingdom of Jordan are to discover a supernatural creature from the Semitic myth, Jinn. This is a slightly mysterious mythical creature that takes human form. The balance of the human world is to be turned on its head by the discovery.

The TV show is the first series in Arabic produced by Netflix.

Currently, still in production, the series is set to be released in 2019. The series’ director recently informed the press:

‘The level of authenticity that Netflix is attempting to achieve with this drama is definitely what attracted me most to the project.’ ― Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya

Arabic TV Shows (Original Title)Arabic TV Shows (English Title)Watch with Subtitles (excludes Arabic channels)
FaudaChaosNetflix
ShankabootShankabootBBC MediaAction
YouTube
HatufimPrisoners of WarYouTube
Google Play
OmarFarouk OmarNetflix
BeTipulIn TreatmentAvailable on DVD on Amazon
Haret El Yahoud The Jewish QuarterEladl Group
Hostages (Bnei Aruba)HostagesNetflix
Channel Ten
Madrasa Mossad 101Netflix
MekimiMekimiAmazon Prime
JinnJinnNetflix
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