TV Trailer Watch: Netflix's First Arabic Original 'Jinn' Reimagines Classic Folklore

The Middle Eastern legend is transplanted to a present-day high school in the thriller.
Ahmad Blaibleh/Netflix
'Jinn'

Welcome to Trailer Watch, a regular feature that helps put the spotlight on series that may fly under the radar in the crowded Peak TV landscape. Each installment will explain what the show is and why it looks interesting. This week it's Jinn, Netflix's newest supernatural teen offering.

As the television landscape continues to change rapidly with more and more niche streamers popping up, streaming stalwarts are having to put in the work to carve out a space for themselves in an ever-shifting market.

Netflix has been making a big push into the teen programming arena with shows like 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things, Chambers and The Society. The streaming giant has also been been building a solid offering of series from other countries like Colombia's Siempre Bruja and Spain's Elite. Its newest attempt at engaging the powerful demographic is Jinn, Netflix's first Arabic original.

Written and executive produced by Elan and Rajeev Dassani (Scandal) and Christian, Lucien and Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, and directed by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, the show centers on a group of young adults who come across a malicious spirit while on a trip to Petra. When the teens return to their local high school, they bring the ancient being with them, turning the everyday mundanities of school life into a biblical battle of good versus evil. Luckily for the group, another spirit tagged along who might just be able to help them save their community and the world.

With a focus on authentic representation of teen life in the Middle East and a supernatural twist, Jinn could find its audience in the massive demographic of Netflix viewers who are looking for their next teen hit. The trailer focuses on the high school drama that looks like it will be at the heart of the show while hinting at the spirit that has stalked the core group of kids back to their playground. There's something that feels slightly radical about centering young people of color in a story about magic, which has historically in fiction often been whitewashed.

In an age of ever-heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Middle East, shows that humanize and highlight the lives of the people who live in Arabic speaking countries are more necessary than ever. Despite the show's magical Macguffin, Jinn's creators are intent on crafting authentic representation of the young people at its core. It'll be interesting to see how well a subtitled teen show lands on the increasingly saturated streamer. But with a unique concept at its core, a cast of relatively unknowns, a young creative team behind the camera and a demographic hungry for new and unusual genre storytelling, Jinn premieres June 13.