The first Saudi Arabian Netflix original is set to premiere this Thursday, June 11 and with it debuts a new mode of small-screen storytelling for the region. Featuring complex female protagonists and often unexplored social themes condensed into a suspenseful limited series, Whispers is an easily binge-able eight episodes unlike the traditional 30-episode Ramadan specials common to the Middle East.
This dramatic thriller will also be the first Arabic licensed original on the global streaming giant and will be available to 183 million subscribers worldwide. With this much exposure comes the exciting responsibility of portraying modern-day Saudi Arabia in a way global audiences may have never seen before.
“We believe that great stories can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere,” explained director of content acquisitions for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at Netflix Nuha Eltayeb. “We are thrilled to be offering the new series to all our users in 190 countries and to be giving them the chance to discover great Arabic content that is full of mysterious twists.”
Following the story of a feuding family dealing with the aftermath of the unexpected death of their patriarch and uncovering the mysterious puzzle of the past along the way, every episode of this fast-paced drama is told from a different character’s point of view. The absence of one single narrative and absolute truth constantly unearths new clues and cliffhangers to the highly emotional saga. Since each family member has their own secrets they’re keen on hiding, every episode reveals a previously unknown part of the story, explained Whispers director Hana Alomair, with the truth constantly in flux based on who is narrating.
Produced by the Saudi Entertainment Phenomena Company “EP Saudi” and championing an up-and-coming cast of predominantly Saudi creatives, Whispers shines an international spotlight on a fast-growing pool of regional talent, from seasoned star Abdul Mohsen Alnimer to newcomers Elham Ali, Shaimaa Al-Fadl, Mysoon Alruwaily, Nada Tawhid, Norah Alanbar, and Leila Arabi.
Since the start of this year, Netflix has begun expanding its selection of streamable Arab titles, catering to the region and curious foreign viewers with a diverse list of movies and TV shows. A slew of Arabic original series is already available to watch from Abu-Dhabi based legal drama Justice to Lebanese action show Dollar starring Amel Bouchoucha while the all-female cast and crew led Al Rawabi School for Girls and upcoming dramedy with Tunisian superstar Hend Sabri expected to release in the coming months.