Over the years, talent shows such as Star Academy, The Voice, and X Got Talent have been brought to the Arab world. With proper licensing, these entertainment shows were adapted to cater to an Arabic speaking audience. But, when it comes to foreign films and TV shows, that's far from being the case.

While it's OK to draw inspiration from a well-crafted idea and performance, stealing another's work is something else. When it comes to foreign dramas, Arab writers/directors seem to have no idea what constitutes plagiarismNot to sound too harsh, but remember the Weld El-Ghalaba vs. Breaking Bad controversy

Here are some of the most flagrantly copycatted Arabic series that were "inspired" by foreign works:

1. Zay El Shams VS. Sorelle

Released during Ramadan 2019, the Egyptian drama series Zay El Shams is a mere adaptation of the seven-episode Italian show Sorelle (Sisters).

Similarities: Both shows follow the suspicious murder of one sister, while the other one juggles with her personal life, a complicated love triangle, and the secrets of her sister's past.

2. El Ab El Rohy VS. The Godfather

Based on the highly acclaimed American trilogy - The Godfather - the Egyptian version El Ab El Rohy didn't even attempt to get creative with the name. It failed to appeal to the audience and was heavily criticized following its release. 

Similarities: Both works are a mob drama revolving around a powerful family living in a world of crime and violence. The patriarch of the crime transfers all control of the dynasty to his successor — who is struggling to make a decision.

3. Ruby VS. Rubi

Based on the Mexican telenovela with the same name (Rubi), the Arabic version (Ruby) shares an identical plotline, storyline, and even similar posters to its Mexican counterpart. 

The Lebanese-Egyptian version starred Cyrine Abdelnour, Amir Karara, and Maxim Khalil.

Similarities: Both works tell the story of an ambitious girl from a poor background who won't stop until she manages to change her current condition. That includes betraying her closest friends, manipulating people and using her seductive skills on a rich doctor.

4. Grand Hotel VS. Gran Hotel

An adaptation of the Spanish original (Gran Hotel), the Egyptian version (Grand Hotel) lived up to the hype. The adaptation was well-received by both critics and the audience.

Similarities: The main character on both shows attempts to solve the mystery of his sister's disappearance. In doing so, he visits the hotel under false pretenses.

5. Heba Regl El Ghorab VS. Ugly Betty

Amy Samir Ghanem plays the title role in the Egyptian adaptation of Yo Soy Betty La Fea. The telenovela was adapted over 20 times. The most famous adaptation is the American version Ugly Betty, but that doesn't mean the Egyptian version went unnoticed. 

Ghanem was later replaced by Nahid El Seba'ay playing the title role.

Similarities: Both shows follow the journey of a woman with a unique sense of style in a world of fashion police who tries to deal with her feelings for her boss. 

6. Tariqi VS. La Ronca de Oro

The Egyptian drama starring Sherine Abdel-Wahab (Tariqi) is loosely based on the Colombian telenovela La Ronca de Oro (Voice of the Freedom). 

Similarities: Both plotlines tell the story of a simple girl trying to pursue her passion for singing in the face of her family's disapproval.

7. Esm Mo'akat VS. Unknown

Youssef El Sherif's work usually receives praise for their shocking plot twists and unexpected endings. But, that wasn't the case with Esm Mo'akat (Temporary Name) as many deemed it to be a copy of Liam Neeson's action film Unknown.

Similarities: Both shows tell the story of a man who tries to retrace his steps to figure out his true identity after waking up with amnesia. The character in both shows ultimately learns that his identity has been stolen, but struggles to get people to believe his claims.

8. Halawet El Donia VS. Chasing Life

Starring some of the biggest names of the Arab world, Halawet El Donia (Life is Beautiful) follows the same story as its American counterpart Chasing Life — minus the ending.

Similarities: Both series follow the protagonist's journey after learning she has a terminal illness. With the support of family and friends, the character manages to deal with the struggles she's faced with.