5 Turkish Original Dramas to Stream

zaib055April 12, 2022


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Though the onslaught of streaming giants is impacting Turkey’s TV landscape, it’s not as though Turkish shows weren’t doing gangbuster global biz way before Netflix and other platforms arrived on the scene.

“Turkish dramas were already reaching audiences all over the world on linear TV,” says Ekin Koyuncu, head of prominent broadcaster Kanal D’s international sales arm. And that is why streamers are now so keen on making Turkish originals.

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What changes with having Turkish originals streaming on global platforms is that “the age targets are totally different,” she says. “With this [platform] product, we are gaining the awareness of a younger population, especially in the US and Europe, where our linear penetration is actually low.”

So “both sides are benefitting from each other,” Koyuncu points out.

The new batch of Turkish dramas going out globally via both linear and streaming outlets includes:

Aziz

This 1930s-set historical drama being sold by Inter Medya is about a man who finds true love as he fights for the liberation of his people. Aziz Payidar, from the wealthy carpet-making Payidar family in the city of Antakya, undergoes a sudden life change after he kills a French military officer and must leave his first love and his lands behind. He returns after two years to find the city under military occupation and learns that his beloved is now engaged to his cousin, while his encounter with a village girl proves cathartic in more ways than one. Produced by O3 Medya, “Aziz” has already been a hit on Turkey’s Show TV.

The Club

This groundbreaking period drama is set in 1950s cosmopolitan Istanbul where Matilda, a Jewish ex-convict whose family suffered greatly due to a Turkish wealth tax that at the time targeted the country’s non-Muslims works at a nightclub. There she reconnects with her rebellious daughter. Besides being considered Turkey’s most lavish TV series, “The Club” is also probably the boldest since it shatters the taboo of depicting events that devastated the country’s non-Muslim minorities.

The Game of My Destiny

Currently airing on Turkey’s Star network, this NGM Media (“The Ambassador’s Daughter”) series is about a divorced woman named Asiye, whose world is turned upside down when her daughter is attacked by a neighbor. She moves in with someone for safety, only for her ex-husband to return to the scene. “Game of My Destiny” marks the first collaboration between NGM Media and Global Agency, which is selling the show at MipTV.

Three Sisters

Since its premiere on Kanal D in February, this family drama, produced by Süreç Film, has become the top-rated show in Turkey. Based on a 2018 bestseller penned by acclaimed author İclal Aydın, the series focuses on the close bonds between three sisters, who, following an idyllic childhood, are forced to face the bleak reality of an adulthood in which horrible family secrets, illnesses and other adversities surface.
“This is very typically Turkish content,” says Kuyunku, who believes there is still “huge interest and demand for our classic stories.”

Wild Surrender

The latest Netflix Turkish original is a high-concept comedy about a middle-class family, the Uysals, who at first glance may look average, but are not. The father, who is having a mid-life crisis, first starts leading a double life as a punk rocker. Then he sets up a space called the Occupation House where other people who need a similar form of escape can run away from “reality” for a bit. Meanwhile, his wife and kids, who are completely oblivious to his other identity, also lead their own double lives.

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