Netflix orders its first Arabic original series, “Jinn”

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The Netflix logo is pictured on a television in this illustration photograph taken in Encinitas, California, U.S., on January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/

Video streaming giant Netflix is looking to expand the reach of its original programming, targeting the Arab market with a new original series called “Jinn.”

The young-adult fantasy drama, which will be shown in Arabic, will center on a group of teenagers who encounter a jinn, or an evil spirit, in the famed ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The protagonists will have to work together to prevent the spirit from destroying the world. “Jinn” is expected to be released in 2019.

Netflix has ordered a six-episode season for the drama, which will be penned and produced by Arab talent. Elan and Rajeev Dassani will be the executive producers for the new show, while Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya will helm the series.

Bou Chaaya sees the project as a great opportunity to portray Arab youth in a 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,” he said.

Jordanian Bassel Ghandour, known for his work in the Oscar-nominated “Theeb” from 2014, will be the screenwriter for the new series. “I love that Netflix is investing a lot in the region, it’s a real turning point,” said Ghandour. “We have such a rich storytelling culture, and we’ll finally be able to enjoy Arabic content with Netflix quality.”

“We’re delighted to be working with such a variety of breakout talent to launch our first Arabic original series in the Middle East,” said Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice president for international original series. “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” will be Netflix’s second project in the Middle East following the stand-up comedy show “Adel Karam: Live From Beirut,” which premieres today.