An Egyptian horror series imagining the worst-case scenario of the coronavirus pandemic is among the TV shows scheduled to release on MBC's streaming platform Shahid VIP during Ramadan.
Dubbed Covid-25, the 15-episode series will combine elements of action, suspense and horror. As production of the show is currently underway, the plotline is still under wraps.
Produced by Egyptian media powerhouse Synergy, the show is replete with Egyptian star power, featuring The End actor Youssef Al-Sharif, retired footballer-turned-actor Ahmed Salah Hosny, and It's Fine actress Ayten Amer. The series is directed by Can't Complain filmmaker Ahmed Nader Galal.
Last month, the show's scriptwriter Engy Alaa told Cairo Talk that the show was proving exhausting to write. "Everyone is suffering from Covid-19," she said. "And I'm suffering from Covid-25." She added that though the programme is fictitious and is not a prediction of how the virus would develop, it does have a scientific aspect to it.
Covid-25 is one of 40 Arabic titles that will be available to stream on Shahid VIP under the theme Ramadan is with Us. The lineup includes a variety of genres ranging from dramas to comedies to thrillers. The shows will feature stars from across the Gulf and the wider Middle East region.
Among the shows streaming on the platform is Tash Ma Tash actor Nasser Al Qasabi's new comedy series Mamnou' Al Tajawol. The premise of the show has yet to be revealed but, if the Saudi Arabian star's track record is anything to go by, it's certainly going to be a side-splitting ride.
The eagerly-awaited Mohamed Ramadan drama Mousa is also on the list. Reported to be 30 episodes long, the show is set in the mid-1950s, following the journey of a man from Upper Egypt who strives to care for his younger brothers after the death of their father.
Ramadan shared a teaser of the show last month, giving fans a first glimpse at the project. The 30-second clip shows Ramadan and a group of men storming into the home of a British official.
The show is directed by Mohamed Salama. It stars Raya Wa Sekina actress Somaya El Khashab, Al A'ar actress Heba Magdy and screen favourite Riyad Al-Kholi, among others.
Al Ikhityar is also set to return for its second season this Ramadan. The show's first season was one of the most positively received Arabic dramas of last year. It told the true story of Egyptian army colonel Ahmed Al Mansi, the leader of elite tactical group The Thunderbolt Forces, who died in a 2017 terrorist attack in Northern Sinai. The second series of the show will star Egyptian actor Ahmed Mekky as a police officer who gets involved with a terrorist group.
The show's second season was written by El Al El Rohi screenwriter Hani Sarhan. It is directed by the budding No Surrender filmmaker Peter Mimi and stars Karim Abdel Aziz, Iyad Nassar and Engy Al Muqaddam.
Another anticipated release is a show cryptically titled 2020. The show pairs Lebanese star Nadine Njeim and Syrian favourite Qusai Khouli, who became one of the Arab world's favourite on-screen couples after they appeared together in the 2019 Ramadan show Five Thirty.
Penned by La Hokom Alayha scriptwriters Nadine Jaber and Bilal Shehadat, 2020 will tell the story of a captain in the Lebanese army called Sama, portrayed by Njeim, who tries to track down one of Lebanon's most notorious gangsters, played by Khouli.