SHAHMARAN on Netflix is a new genre series from Turkey (org. title: ŞAHMARAN). There are eight episodes to the season and it’s off to a solid start. It’s very mysterious, but you’ll discover what’s going on when the main character does. Read our full Shahmaran series review here!
SHAHMARAN is a new Netflix series in the fantasy, adventure, thriller, mystery, and drama genres. A true genre mix that suits the story very well. Each episode is around an hour long and there are eight episodes to the series, but there is a lot of story to cover. And a lot of history and mystery to reveal.
This genre series is from Turkey (org. title: Şahmaran) and just last month we got another Turkish Netflix genre series with Hot Skull which I really enjoyed, This new series is a completely different creature but manages to be extremely intriguing in its own right.
Continue reading our Shahmaran series review below. All eight episodes are on Netflix from January 20, 2023.
So many snakes!
While Shahmaran is very mysterious at first, there are also quite a few familiar symbols used. Snakes (so many snakes) and fire are part of the symbolism. So are water and wind, so it’s all the classic references to nature. Danger and rebirth, if you will. For many of us, it will also feel quite biblical perhaps, but if you just think religion on a broader spectrum, it’s better.
After all, this is a Turkish production, so the bible isn’t the main source of reference.
What really works for Shahmaran from the very beginning, is its female protagonist; Sahsu. She’s feisty and strong in all the right ways. Sure, she can also be quick to judge and has an idea of who people are before they’ve had a chance to show her. Often, she’s already read them correctly, but sometimes she finds that she was wrong.
Arriving from the big city to a much smaller town, she needs time to settle in. She’s a bold woman, but so are quite a few of the other young women in town, so she doesn’t stick out that much. For me, the mix of having cell phones and a beat-down hotel room is a much greater contrast. Still, she just deals with it and moves on.
Episode 1 does an excellent job of setting the tone and introducing characters. However, you have to get ready for a mystery. You won’t know much from the beginning, but neither does the main protagonist, Sahsu. You’ll be figuring it all out right alongside her, and that part is fine by me. Even though I’m really not the most patient person.
Two very strong lead characters
Sahsu is portrayed by Serenay Sarikaya, who does an excellent job of portraying this young woman. Sahsu is just now learning who she really is. Mostly because she’s been lied to quite a bit – whether to protect her or someone else, is the first thing she needs to figure out.
Just expect that from the whole opening scene, you’ll quickly come to adore Serenay Sarikaya as Sahsu. I know I certainly did, and thanks to her portrayal alone, I was immediately intrigued by the story in Shahmaran. I had the same experience with the series Fatma though that title character was almost the direct opposite. Well, based on appearances anyway.
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The other main character of Shahmaran is Maran. A tall, dark, and handsome man living in this small town. Maran is portrayed by Burak Deniz, and by the end of episode 1, you’ll know at least one secret of this character.
I enjoyed how Burak Deniz played the role of Maran, so he didn’t come across as some obnoxious guy full of himself. I can easily see how another actor would have played too far into that trope in the opening episode, but he doesn’t. Quite the opposite!
Watch Shahmaran on Netflix now!
The screenwriter of Shahmaran (org. title: Şahmaran) is Pinar Bulut, who has worked on many series in the past. I can’t say I’m familiar with any of the past work by Pinar Bulut, but what I see in this new Netflix genre series, I certainly like. Well, okay, there are many steamy moments that might not add to the genre elements. But they do work for the story, which is key.
Umur Turagay is the director of Shahmaran just as he was a director of the Hot Skull (org. title: Sicak Kafa) series. The style and tone of this series are quite different as it’s much lighter and brighter. There’s a fantasy and adventure element (along with a more physical romantic element) that ensures this.
If you’re in the mood for something different – that still deals with familiar symbolism – you should check out this Turkish series. The amazing production quality and awesome cast should be enough to give it a chance. Eight hour-long episodes might be a tad too much, but isn’t that often the case with these series?! Fortunately, it never seems to ruin the overall experience.
Season 1 of Shahmaran premieres on Netflix on January 20, 2023.
Director: Umur Turagay
Screenwriter: Pinar Bulut
Cast: Serenay Sarikaya, Burak Deniz, Mustafa Ugurlu, Mert Ramazan Demir, Ebru Özkan, Mahir Günsiray, Nil Sude Albayrak, Berfu Halisdemir, Mehmet Aslan
Going to Adana as a lecturer, Şahsu is determined to confront her grandfather, who left her mother behind years ago. On this journey, she finds herself in the middle of an unusual and mysterious community called Mar, descended from Shahmaran. Believing in the legend of Shahmaran, one of the greatest symbols of love and wisdom, the Mar race awaits the completion of the historical prophecy with the arrival of Şahsu. Nothing will be the same again when Şahsu’s path crosses with Maran’s.
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