Hogan poster -File
CAIRO – 7 June 2019: As with every Ramadan there is a huge serving of Arabic TV series for the Arab audience to pick and reject.
Although in general the nationality of the TV series plays a big role in determining the success of it, so geographically Gulf are more popular in the Gulf region, Syrian/Lebanese are followed more rigorously in their perspective countries.
Yet one TV series has broken this rule and became a number one trend in not only Egypt, but Iraq, Morocco, entire Gulf region, and Lebanon. Hogan directed by the exceptional Shereen Adel, written by Muhammad Salah Al-Azab and starring a galaxy of stars of the second generation; Mohammed Emam, Karim Mahmoud Abd Al-Aziz, Asmaa Abu Al Yazid and Mohammed Ossama (Oss Oss) to name few. We have put together our own analysis as to why Hogan has managed to unite the entire Arab region's audience in the following ten points.
1. Being the first Ramadan without Adel Emam on our screen, people missed the long standing tradition of seeing Emam after breaking their fast. The gap left by this absence made people eager to compensate the void with a similar character and what is better than seeing Emam junior joined by another legend's off spring; Karim Mahmoud Abd Al-Aziz the son of the much missed star Mahmoud Abd Al-Aziz. Love is sometimes inherited and certainly the love that the Arab viewers hold for their fathers made the presence of the young duo more accepting than others.
2. The perfect trio; Emam, Oss Oss and Abd Al-Aziz better known as Hogan, Horas and Haraq the three unlikely but perfect friends, each with a unique character, the good, the bad and the dopey makes them relatable to the average viewer and more than that like them with all their faults, possibly because each character has its comical aspect.
3. The right balance; unlike most of the Ramadan series this year, Hogan does not follow one line of genre but it is a balance of comedy, action, drama and even light romance. This keeps the audience interested and eager to follow the plot development rather than get bored by one storyline that is drawn out for the entire month. The plot line is fast and every episode brings new story that keeps the average viewer entertained while they wait for the big outcome.
4. Everyone is a star; although Emam is the main star of the series (the name Hogan is the title of the series afterall) yet no one can claim that it was a one man show because every character is essential to the plot and each one shines in their perspective role.
Unlike other series' where the main star overshadows the rest and in certain cases you question why these well established stars agreed to participate in minor roles. In Hogan the audience have fallen in love with every character regardless of the capacity of the role for example Kamal Al-Labad two personal bodyguard Samer and Fahad played by Ahmed Al-Tohami and Muhammad Abu Al-Naga, or Noga's mother, performed convincingly by Ahlam Jaretly or the brilliant child actor Yossef Husam who portrayed the role of Noga's brother as he broke the hearts of millions when he lost his leg due to an infection that left him with Mobility impairment.
5. Emam; unlike most of Emam's previous work, he did not rely on his look nor did he play the usual romantic role, in fact he changed his appearance completely as he ditched his clean smart look for a scruffy and average one that we see on screen.
There are times when you can see his father, Adel Emam in him, the way he plays the rather dopey parts earlier in the series has a stark resemblance to Emam senior old films such as Al-Halfoot. This certainly endeared Emam junior further to the hearts of the audience who witnessed the a sort of continuity to a star that has long been crowned as the 'leader' of stars.
6. Al-Haraq; Karim Mahmoud Abd Al-Aziz has to be one of the biggest surprises this Ramadan with the incredible character of Al-Haraq the sly criminal who will stop at nothing to gain wealth and further himself, even if it means putting his own mother in danger and leaving her for dead, he has no loyalty to anyone but himself yet you can’t help falling in love with this character.
The comical aspect of Al-Haraq and his one liners such as 'its not wrong' has made him a household favourite, with people on social media reacting positively to his character as all his wrong doings are pushed aside and his behaviour is forgiven simply because he is funny. Like Emam there is an uncanny resemblance between Karim and his late father, the much missed Mahmoud Abd Al-Aziz and there are so many scenes that you forget this is the son and not the father, the way he talks, the manner in which moves and even his laugh is the spitting image of the deceased actor.
Karim is not a regular in Ramadan, in fact it has been years since he has appeared on the small screen which is why his choice was under great scrutiny from critics and viewers and true enough he has proved that he is a multi talented actor able to perform a fairly evil character and still be loved and admired by many.
7. The credit song; one of the most catchy and relatable series credit song has to be 'Hogan's' written by Shawki Saqr, composed by Muhammad Antr and performed by Redha Al-Bahrawi. It is a simple song that although relates to Hogan's story of the good natured guy who trust and help others, only to be met by betrayal and exploitation. Yet the song is very relevant to our current times as society has become less trusting and more vindictive. The fast tune also adds to the popularity of the song amongst both the youth and older generation.
8. Asmaa Abu Al Yazid; Abu Al-Yazid has steadily been rising amongst the elite of the acting industry and anyone who has been following her progress will be convinced after her portrayal of 'Noga' that next year she will undoubtedly have the lead role in any work she will take part in. In every role Abu Al-Yazid had taken in the past few years, she has chosen wisely a different character, making her a multi-dimensional actress that is not limited to one typecast. From the oppressed and wronged Tuqa in 'Hatha Al-Masa' to the love struck and loyal Azza in 'Ana Shahera..Ana El Khayen' to the ambitious singer Jalela in 'Layali Ojeni' and she tried her hand at comedy with Ahmed Fahmy in the film 'Al-Kewaesen'. In all of these roles she was convincing and not once did the audience compare her characters as everytime she took on a role she made it very much hers. Noga is a downtrodden working woman, supporting her mum and younger brother, when we first meet Noga we like Hogan are taken in by her kind nature as she helps Hogan off the street and offers him a home. But we soon see a different side to Noga when her greedy and treacherous nature become visible yet like Haraq you can't help but like Noga, her comical presence gives the series a much needed light relief away from the action that dominates the drama.
9. Guest Stars; The inclusion of big named stars such as Reath Al-Khouli, Salah Abdallah, Inaam Salousa and the exceptional one scene of Sawsan Badr appearance all added to the quality of the drama as they were all perfect for their perspective characters and not once did the viewer question their inclusion.
10. New Faces; although they are stars in their own right but not many would recognise Hajer Ahmed, Merna Noor El Deen or even the comedian Oss Oss because they are not a regular drama stars but each one has proven themselves and value to the series. OssOss has to be one of the biggest discoveries of the series as he has shown that he can act in something other than complete comedy and his loyalty and good nature despite his thieving away made the character of Horas a friend that everyone likes to have.