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Netflix’s first Arab-Original series Jinn is a supernatural drama I want to like but find myself horribly indifferent to. Despite a strong start, the series devolves into a middling teenage melodrama for much of its run-time, full of questionable pacing and some wonky acting across its 5 episodes. While the story itself is relatively enjoyable, the cliffhanger ending and unresolved plot points hold this back from being a better title.
At the heart of it, Jinn is a 5 episode series about mysterious entities called Jinn who take human form and threaten to destroy the world. At polar opposites of the spectrum lie two main characters who find Jinn attracted to them for very different reasons. Vera presents herself to Yassin while he’s reveling in his bitter anger toward life while Keras appears before Mira, telling her she holds the key to salvation. As the series progresses, the two Jinn find themselves coming head to head while the show dabbles in all the teenage romance and melodrama you’d expect from a drama like this. Unfortunately, the story leaves many questions unanswered and at the end of the fifth episode, you’ll probably wind up wondering what the point of it all was.
In true Netflix form I wouldn’t recommend watching this one with the dubbing on. The English is truly woeful although the acting itself, even in Arabic, does leave a lot to be desired. While I can forgive some of it, especially given that this is tailored toward teenagers, some of the line delivery and plot logic is thrown out the window, especially midway through the series. There’s not much in the way of character progression either although Yassin does grow a little over time. The rest of the characters don’t and in some cases, like Kesar, appear to devolve across the episodes.
Jinn’s short length is a double edged sword. On the one hand, you’ll be grateful this wasn’t stretched out to a 10 episode romp with more subplots but on the other hand, the five episode arc makes for a messy and ill paced series that never quite settles into the right rhythm. It’s such a shame too because I started out really engaged in this. Seeing this was made for teens I looked past some of the early swearing and woeful acting in the hope the story would deliver and while it did for the first couple of episodes, the rest of the series takes a steep nosedive from there.
The Arabic culture is rich with lore and interesting ideas but the execution to try and depict some of it here leaves a lot to be desired. I can only imagine how natives must feel given the lack of accuracy with some of the world building but while the concept itself is relatively good here, the execution is anything but.
While a second season seems unlikely, if this is renewed then I’d like to see a much slower story, one that explores the Jinn’s background and really takes its time with the characters and fleshes this out properly. There’s a good idea here and early on there’s certainly promise but its muddied into a strange blend of melodrama, teen romance and questionable pacing that really hold this back from being a better series. A shame for sure but Jinn is not a show to remember. I quite liked the first episode and was willing to stick with it but as the season draws on, the issues really stand out and hold this back from being a better series.
Verdict - 5/10