Last updated: October 18, 2021
The best Arabic series and dramas on Netflix
- The Secret of the Nile
- Palestinian Stories
- Al Rawabi School for Girls – the second Netflix production
- Six Windows in the Desert
- Black Crows
- Jinn – first Netflix Arabic production
- On Netflix – but NOT worldwide
- Can You Bypass Netflix’s Geo-Blocking?
Tip: Follow this link to get a good overview of all Arabic series and movies on Netflix.
Watching Arabic TV series is a decent way to study dialects. However, it used to be the situation that there were a) no English subtitles available and b) the quality was bad. Netflix has started to fix that.
What are the best Arabic shows on Netflix to learn Arabic? Some recommendations.
Arabic TV series on Netflix (مُسَلْسَلات)
The Secret of the Nile
Original title: Grand Hotel. This was a big hit in Egypt and was aired during Ramadan 2016t! It is based on a Spanish show (Grand Hotel) which is also the reason that Netflix changed the title to The Secret of the Nile.
What’s the story? The drama follows a young man named Ali in the 1950s who visits a prestigious hotel in Aswan to search for his missing sister, who had been employed there as a maid. He didn’t plan on falling in love with the owner’s daughter though, but a better turn of events couldn’t have happened as both try to solve the mystery of the missing sister in the mythical halls of the Grand Hotel. It is based on a Spanish drama
Secret of the Nile is, for sure, one of the best Egyptian dramas which were recently released.
Dialects? Egyptian Arabic.Watch it on netflix
Netflix’s Palestinian collection, titled “Palestinian Stories”, is made up of 32 award-winning films that are either directed by Palestinian filmmakers or tell Palestinian stories. The films are mainly about Palestinian life in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.
The collection includes the works of prominent and prolific directors such as Annemarie Jacir, Mai al-Masry, Mahdi Fleifel, Suzan Youssef, Mai Odeh, Farah al-Nabulsi, Basil Khalil, and many others.
Among the films to be aired, five have won international awards:
- Ghost Hunting, which won the Berlinale’s first Silver Bear for Best Documentary.
- Ave Maria gave its director Basil Khalil his first Oscar nomination.
- A World Not Ours
- Divine Intervention, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2002 and became the first Palestinian film ever to be submitted for consideration at the Oscars.
- Maradona’s Legs is a heartwarming story that shows a slice of Palestinian life in the 1990s through the eyes of two little boys.
Dialects? Palestininan Arabic.Watch it on netflix
Al Rawabi School for Girls – the second Netflix production
A Jordanian mini-series.
What’s the story? At the prestigious Al Rawabi School for Girls (مدرسة الروابي للبنات), the outcasts are the ones with the daring plans to take down the bullies. It is the story of how a bullied girl gets revenge on her bullies, only to find out that no one is all bad, and no one is all good, including herself.
Should you watch it? It is Netflix’s second Middle Eastern original. So far, I’ve been a little disappointed with Netflix’s own Arabian productions. However, if you just want to study Arabic, it’s great because of the English subs.
Dialects? Mainly Jordanian Arabic.Watch it on netflix
What’s the story? With a title that’s Saudi slang for relax – Takki is a drama TV series that talks about how life is in Saudi Arabia. In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a young aspiring filmmaker and his circle of friends grapple with family expectations, gender roles, romance and rivalry.
Since no cable channel would air this show, it was first put exclusively on YouTube and became a hit! With Saudi society being one of the most conservative societies in the Middle East, Takki Series depicts its monarchy and strict Wahabbism.
Dialects? Saudi-Arabian (Gulf) Arabic.Watch it on netflix
Six Windows in the Desert
What’s the story? Six Windows in the Desert is a series of short films created by Saudi-Arabian filmmakers.
The series offers an insight into stories told through a Saudi lens, tackling topics including social taboos and extremism.
Dialects? Saudi-Arabian (Gulf) Arabic.Watch it on netflix
What’s the story? Black Crows (غرابيب سود) tells the story of women forced to live in the so-called “Islamic State”.
Dialects? You will encounter various Arabic dialects.Watch it on netflix
What’s the story? In a village by the Lebanon-Syria border, the head of an arms-smuggling clan contends with family conflicts, power struggles and complicated love.
Dialects? The series is in Lebanese and Syrian dialect.Watch it on netflix
Jinn – first Netflix Arabic production
What’s the story? A field trip to Petra causes two Jinns (جن) – one good, the other evil – to enter the human realm, turning high school into a supernatural battleground.
Dialects? Mainly Jordanian.
Should you watch it? This series stirred a lot of trouble in the Arab world – mainly because the young people in the series were kissing and drinking alcohol. But to be honest, I watched the series and found it really of poor quality (mainly the acting and the dialogues). Ob IMDB the rating is extremely poor: 3.4 (July 2019). So, is it worth watching? If you only want to train your Arabic, definitely yes!Watch it on netflix
What’s the story? Defying pressure to join her father’s firm, a determined young lawyer strikes out on her own and fights to maintain faith in Abu Dhabi’s justice system.
Dialects? Mainly Gulf Arabic.Watch it on netflix
More on Arabic for Nerds about Netflix:
What’s the story? Zeina, an assistant to the CEO has no choice: in order to get a dollar bill worth 1 million dollars, she has to ally herself with Casanova Tarek, for better or worse. A Lebanese drama!
Dialects? Mainly Lebanese and some mix.Watch it on netflix
When suspicions grow around the death of their patriarch, an affluent family begin to peel back the truth as dark secrets come to light.
Dialects? Mainly Hejazi dialect.Watch it on netflix
On Netflix – but NOT worldwide
Netflix is tricky. Depending on where you live, you may have access to more Arabic musalsalat. You have to try – just click on the links below and you will see if the page will open.
Mid-19th century Lebanon, and Maronite peasant Tanyus Shahin is leading an uprising against his feudal overlords. Peasants’ Rebellion is a retelling of his struggle.
With 61 episodes on Netflix, this is a series perfect for a long-weekend or for cold winter nights.
Tayea (طايع), a doctor from Upper Egypt, refuses to take revenge for his deceased father. He suddenly finds himself involved in a number of crimes, including antiquities smuggling. He learns that his brother is working with the biggest smuggler of ancient Egyptian artifacts. Tayea accepts to work undercover for the police in the smuggling business, claiming that he is a “tracker” and can sense where artifacts are buried in tombs underground. Available on Netflix UK (@SalmanSiddiqui – thanks for telling me) but not on Netflix Germany.
For people in the US or UK, this link should work: https://netflix.com/ArabicNostalgia
You may get access to many Arabic movies from the 80’s and 90’s with English subtitles!
Mosul (الموصل): After his life is saved by a rogue Iraqi squadron, a young police officer joins them in their fight against ISIS in a decimated Mosul. Starring: Suhail Dabbach, Adam Bessa, Is’haq Elias.
The Writer (الكاتب): When accused of a murder eerily parallel to a plot in his novel, a best-selling crime writer must navigate a web of hidden enemies. Starring: Syrian actor Bassel Khayyat and Lebanese actress Daniella Rahme.
I Have a Script
I Have a Script (أنا عندي نص): After the death of a loved one, a woman decides to pursue her passion for writing by penning television scripts. Starring: Kuwaiti actress Souad Abdullah and Shujoun Al-Hajri.
What If? (ماذا لو): Four individuals at a crossroads in life are given the chance to take both paths, and decide which road is best for them. Starring: Munther Rayhana, Khaled Amin, Aseel Omran, and Rawan Mahdi.
In the Bosom of a Thorn
In the Bosom of a Thorn (حضن الشوك): After the invasion of Kuwait, a woman’s infant daughter is taken from. Now, her daughter looks to make her way back home years later. Starring: Kuwaiti actress Elham Fadala.
Hidden Worlds (عوالم خفية): While investigating an actress’s supposed suicide and her connection to the mafia, a veteran journalist discovers that corruption runs deep. Starring: Adel Imam, Salah Abdallah, Hiba Majdi.
Tango (تانغو): Shocking secrets begin to unravel when the aftermath of a car crash leaves four best friends questioning the truth of their relationships.
Can You Bypass Netflix’s Geo-Blocking?
Yes, this is possible. Netflix is using different content libraries. Each one belongs to a specific geographic region. For example, if you’re in Germany, you’ll use the DE Netflix library. This can be pretty annoying.
Although most blockbusters are available worldwide, independent movies and Arabic series are not available in all regions. Especially Netflix in Germany lacks many good Arabic series.
The reason why Netflix catalogs differ from country to country is obvious: copyright law. Producers and distributors use different contracts for several countries; thus, it happens that one series may be available in one country but not in another.
But you can try to bypass that – with a VPN!
When you visit Netflix, the VPN server will act as a middleman between Netflix and your device. Basically, it will intercept your connection data packages, and forward them to Netflix.
Netflix now thinks that your requests are coming from the VPN server. Since requests contain IPs, Netflix only sees the VPN server’s IP address. Your device’s IP remains hidden.
So, all you need is a VPN provider. VPNs are tools that hide your IP address, sensitive provider data, and encrypt your traffic. Netflix uses a VPN detection system that will ban suspicious IP addresses known to belong to a VPN. But there are some VPN providers which still work, for example, Nordvpn, ExpressVPN.
I will show now what you need to do in order to watch all the Netflix stuff you like.
Check which country offers your desired film or series
Search for the series. It will tell you which countries offer it on Netflix.