Ramadan TV
Fig. 1. Courtesy of www.couchavenue.com.

Donatella Della Ratta, a PhD fellow at University of Copenhagen focusing her research on the Syrian TV industry, wrote an article titled Syrian TV drama provides ineffective release valve about the popular Syrian TV drama series Buqa't al-Daw (Spotlight) aired during the Ramadan. She discussed the ability of the latest (the 9th) season of this satirical drama to deal with current situation in the region and its impact on viewers.

In a sketch called Al-sha'b yurid (The people want), probably an attempt to mock the street's main motto of the 2011 Arab revolutions, the musalsal shows how people only seek minor reforms - like a better street maintenance - which they are not even able to accomplish; the main character dies of an heart attack, too scared by the security services while trying to explain them that he was officially asked by the municipality to write the slogan on the city walls.

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Portraying society as a disoriented mob, which needs guidance and a progressive leadership to overcome its backwardness, is a common practice in tanwiri (englightned) Syrian TV dramas, many of which have high production values, good acting, compelling plots, and have been successful on a Pan Arab level, too.

When Bashar al-Assad seized power, in 2001, this enlightening process pushed by progressive media was accompanied by the promise of political reforms made by a young, seemingly reform-minded new leader. But in 2012, after 17 months of bloody crackdown on Syrian society's demands to get genuine political reforms and not only taboo-breaking TV drama, it is very unlikely that tanwiri musalsalat like Buqa't al-Daw will succeed even in making Syrians laugh by reminding them that every citizen is a partner in the (failed) political system.

The full article Syrian TV drama provides ineffective release valve is available here.

Full episodes of Buqa't al-Daw series can be watched online here.

Other articles about Buqa't al-Daw series and other Syrian TV dramas:

Syria under the Spotlight: Television satire that is revolutionary in form, reformist in content

Prelude to an Uprising: Syrian Fictional Television and Socio-Political Critique

Dramas of the Authoritarian State