Five Muslim-centred shows to binge after finishing Ms. Marvel

Ms Marvel
5 min read
13 July, 2022
The glass ceiling that has blighted Muslim actors and actresses is on its way to being shattered after the resounding triumph of Disney's Ms. Marvel. We've profiled five of our favourite binge-worthy shows that prominently feature Muslim characters.

Remember those days when a Muslim character would come on the television, and you would yell for your family so they could see? And then you’d all inevitably be disappointed when it turned out the character was a terrorist/didn’t say a word/was an offensive stereotype?

Well, go and yell for your family, because Muslim representation has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and disappointment is a thing of the past. Ok, not the distant past, but I promise, there is good representation out there.

Disney+’s newest Marvel series, Ms. Marvel, gave us our first Muslim superhero this year, and she headlined her show in style. From Islam being a part of her everyday life in both subtle and overt ways to showing us a character who wasn’t a bundle of stereotypes, Kamala Khan was a refreshing addition to our screens.

"Remember those days when a Muslim character would come on the television, and you’d yell for your family so they could see?"

But if you’re worrying that finishing the show’s six episodes means you’ll be left waiting indefinitely for the next great Muslim character, stop. A number of recent television shows have given us “good” Muslim representation: characters who are rounded and show us that faith doesn’t come in one size fits all.

Here are five television shows with excellent Muslim characters to add to your watch list…

Man Like Mobeen

This comedy-drama series is written by Guz Khan and Andy Milligan, and stars Khan in the title role. It began life as a YouTube series by Khan before being picked up for television and focuses on former drug dealer Mobeen, who lives in Small Heath, Birmingham and spends time with friends Nate (Tolu Ogunmefun) and Eight (Tez Ilyas), in between looking after his much younger sister Aqsa (Dúaa Karim).

That’s pretty much the plot of the entire show, which aired first on the BBC and can now be found on Netflix.

But the show’s simplicity is part of its charm; there are some high-danger moments but mostly, like Ms. Marvel, this is a show about family and friends and community, and a man trying to live a good life as a Muslim.

It’s hilariously funny, really touching and deftly deals with a number of serious issues.

Where to watch: Netflix

We Are Lady Parts

This sitcom, which thankfully has been renewed for a second series, is an anarchic and irreverent music comedy about a Muslim female punk band, and one of the best shows to come out of 2021.

Created and written by Nida Manzoor, the story focuses on Amina, a geeky PhD student on the hunt for a husband who becomes the unlikely lead guitarist of Lady Parts, despite her intense stage fright.

The members of Lady Parts, and their manager, are great examples of how faith is practised by different people in different ways. Mostly though, this show is raucous and funny and a little bit wild, just like Lady Parts.

Where to watch: Channel 4

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Superstore

Workplace comedy Superstore is set in a big box store and follows the lives of the ragtag group of employees who endure working there. You’ll have to wait until season four for the Muslim character Sayid (Amir M. Korangy) to turn up, but the show as a whole is so good we can guarantee you’ll devour it at a rate of knots.

Sayid is a refugee from Syria who gets a job at Cloud 9, and his deadpan humour and facial expressions will have your stomach aching with laughter.

Best of all, Sayid’s refugee status and his Muslim faith aren’t laboured over, and he’s not presented as a model minority.

Instead, everything is woven seamlessly into not just the character’s life, but also the lives of the employees and of Cloud 9, in both serious and comedic ways, and Sayid is given plenty of storylines that have nothing to do with his faith, and everything to do with him as a person.

Where to watch: Netflix 

Ramy

Created by comedian and writer Ramy Youssef, and starring in the title role, Ramy is a comedy-drama about something many people of faith will relate to including the challenges of being caught between a traditional community and a generation that thinks life is consequence-free.

Ramy (both the character and the actor) is an American Muslim of Egyptian background, and the show puts him in situations that are both relatable and a little out there.

There’s a focus in the show on Ramy’s romantic relationships, refreshing in an age where traditional Muslim communities like to pretend dating (and more) don’t happen while Western narratives present Muslims as undesirable or in forced relationships.

There’s also plenty about family in the show, which deservedly saw Youssef win a Golden Globe for his acting in 2020.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime 

The Bold Type

The Bold Type, hands down, is one of the wildest representations of working at a magazine/website (or “the dot com” as the characters like to irritatingly say) we’ve ever seen.

But the show, for all its madcap storylines, also brought us the iconic Adena El-Amin (Nikohl Boosheri), introduced in its first series.

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The character is a Muslim lesbian artist and photographer from Iran, and her impact is outsized given that she’s a secondary character; in fact, we suspect she was only meant to be in a handful of episodes before disappearing forever.

Instead, Adena has popped up throughout the show’s run, and while her storylines often revolve around her identity (in addition to a love story or two), they do so in really deep and interesting ways that other shows aren’t doing, or at least weren’t before The Bold Type came along.

Where to watch: Netflix 

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance literary journalist and editor. She writes about books for Stylist Magazine online and is the books editor at Phoenix Magazine.

Follow her here: @sarahshaffi