Netflix has unveiled its first Arabic original series.
Jinn, being executive produced by Elan and Rajeev Dassani (Seam), comes from rising Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, behind acclaimed 2015 comedy Very Big Shot and screenwriter Bassel Ghandour, who co-wrote the Oscar-nominated Theeb.
The six-episode drama — to feature Middle Eastern talent and to be shot in Jordan later this year — is a contemporary teen drama centered around a group of friends whose lives are disrupted when a supernatural being known as a Jinn appears to them in the form of a teenage boy in the ancient city of Petra. Their friendships and young romances are tested when they set out to stop an even greater darkness that is threatening to destroy the world. Jinn is expected to to launch on Netflix worldwide in 2019.
“This is a great opportunity to portray Arab youth in a very unique way. The level of authenticity Netflix is trying to achieve with this show is definitely what attracted me the most to be part of this project,” said Bou Chaaya.
“We are really excited about this. It is very common in Middle East that people know someone who has a jinn story, so it’s nice to take that and turn it into a fun and mysterious teen adventure that everyone can enjoy,” added Ghandour. “On a broader note, I love that Netflix is investing a lot in the region, it’s a real turning point. We have such a rich storytelling culture, and we’ll finally be able to enjoy Arabic content with Netflix quality.”
Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vp international original series, said: “We’re delighted to be working with such a variety of breakout talent to launch our first Arabic original series in the Middle East. We are extremely excited to bring this story to a global audience, and to celebrate Arab youth and culture. We can’t wait to share more details later this year.”
Jinn is Netflix’s second project in the Middle East following its first commission, stand-up comedy show Adel Karam: Live From Beirut, which is due to launch March 1.
Originating from Islamic mythology, jinns — sometimes referred to as “genies” — have been frequently used in popular culture, most notably in Aladdin (voiced by Robin Williams in the 1992 Disney animation) and the 1997 horror film Wishmaster.