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Shahmaran Season 1 Review – A Genre Tale From Turkish Mythology

January 21, 2023

The post Shahmaran Season 1 Review – A Genre Tale From Turkish Mythology appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

This review of the Turkish Netflix series Shahmaran Season 1 is spoiler-free.

I have to admit I laughed at the premise of Shahmaran. you can blame netflix. The streamer presented me with a summary with such total seriousness that it was almost a parody: A beautiful woman, a handsome man, they go well together, except for one thing: he is half snake. What?

It turns out to be a serious eight-episode Turkish drama that mixes mysticism, romance and fantasy, and a “chamaranis indeed a folk hybrid of woman and snake. It’s also a very Turkish take on genre television, meaning much slower, more careful, and more nuanced than most of its Western counterparts. If you are looking for a simple analogue, something like Gift would suffice, another female-led Turkish crime series with fantasy elements (and hesitant quality.)

Shahmaran Season 1 Plot Summary and Review

Our protagonist here is Sahsu (Serenay Sarikaya), a doctoral candidate from Istanbul who travels to Adana to give a lecture at a university, but takes the time to give a different kind of lecture to her grandfather, Davut (Mustafa Ugurlu), who abandoned his now deceased mother decades before. But that’s the least of Sahsu’s problems. Her grandfather’s neighbor, Maran (Bourak Deniz), and indeed his entire family, are deeply involved in a mystical prophecy that they believe Sahsu is an integral part of, and once omens and the like start happening, it turns out they’re probably right.

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Here you can see the bones of the character drama that Shahmaran transplants on the strangest elements. The core relationships are the family relationship between Sahsu and Davut and the romantic – albeit potentially dangerous – relationship between Sahsu and Maran. There’s also an intriguing push-pull with Maran and her own family; the battle between obligation and desire, the things he wants to do versus the things he ostensibly owes. The storytelling is patient with these characters and their relationships, feeding in the larger plot details through individual moments – a sudden fire, a bizarre group suicide – while expressing most of the drama in real human terms.

The pace may be a little off. The show is in no rush to go anywhere, but it is deliberately stable. The characters prove to be a more convincing anchor than the plot. It helps that Sahsu and Maran are striking to watch. Serenay Sarikaya is very beautiful, although it feels like the show is overdoing it – she strips down to her underwear at least twice in a single episode, and is often framed in a light layer of sweat shimmering on her skin and a cigarette sticking out of her mouth, as if she were constantly in a modeling session. It’s not suspicious or anything, just a little distracting, though I guess if you can hire prospects as nice as these two, you might as well make the most of them (Maran gets about the same processing, still posed as a cover model.)

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Is Shahmaran season 1 any good?

This little fussy side, Shahmaran continues what is becoming a tradition of Turkish productions on Netflix by being long, patient and intriguing, giving a slightly more serious take on the genre fare Netflix releases in spades. Not all audiences will have the time or patience to bother seeing it, but those who do will likely be rewarded with a memorable experience.

You can stream Shahmaran Season 1 exclusively on Netflix.

Further reading:

  • Shahmaran Season 1 Ending Explained
  • Will there be a season 2 of Shahmaran?
  • The Highest Rated and Best Netflix Series

The post Shahmaran Season 1 Review – A Genre Tale From Turkish Mythology appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.