While some may claim that it's the golden age of television, in the Arab world, it seems to be the golden age of web series. With people looking for fast and easy ways to access shows, web series present a perfect opportunity for the modern viewer: They are free, short, entertaining, and portable. Long gone are the days of hourlong Arabic shows with complicated dialogues and stories that seem to happen in far off places where everyone lives in villas and speaks as if they're novelists. Web series don't talk down to their viewers, they're from regular people, presenting the viewers' world to them in new and exciting ways.
The following are some of the most interesting web series available online today.
1. "Mamnou3!" (Forbidden)
A mockumentary about the censorship bureau in Lebanon, this show deals with the ridiculousness of the operations of these offices in a highly critical manner, exaggerating the truth of how censorship is used as a tool by the bureau to control the thoughts of artists and citizens in Lebanon. With episodes ranging between 7 to 10 minutes, and reaching more than 30,000 viewers, this web series is a definite must-see.
2. "Shikat Al-Iyal" (The Boy's Apartment)
Shikat Al-Iyal is a documentary-type show displaying the lives of 3 young Saudi men in San Francisco, and the issues they face in dealing with the differences between each other, as well as the vast contrast between their Saudi upbringing and the San Francisco way of life. This hilarious web series has 2 seasons so far, with 4 episodes each, released every week in Ramadan and reaching over a million viewers.
3. "Bath Bayakha" (Vapid Broadcast)
Bath Bayakha is a Jordanian comedy, shot in the style of infomercials and TV shows, criticising Jordanians and the social norms of modern-day Jordan. This show is anything but vapid, with original ideas presented in hilarious clips ranging between 3 and 6 minutes, it has gained more than half a million viewers.
4. "Awwal Al Ghayth" (The Little Drop)
A drama set in Lebanon, Awal Al Ghayth grants an amazing look into the inner workings of a young man's life in Lebanon after the Arab Spring. This webseries is extremely well-shot with breathtaking imagery from everyday life, and true to life dialogue between it's complex and diverse characters. With 2 seasons already released, this show has garnered a little less than 500,000 views.
According to the makers of the show, Khambala is a "word that has no meaning, only randomly everything and nothing, Khambalah is a show that is separate and connected to everything, it contains no limits." However, if you had to define Khambalah, you would have to say it's a comedy critical of itself and of the world it exists in, showcasing the trouble of the Saudi youth in modern Saudi Arabia to a very receptive audience, with more than 9 million viewers.