Preternaturally attractive teenagers and ancient powers collide in Jinn, the first Arabic-language series to premiere on Netflix. The five-episode show -- created by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, Elan Dassani, and Rajeev Dassani -- follows a group of Jordanian high school students whose lives are beset by the jinn, supernatural forces, after a school trip to Petra goes horribly wrong, leading to the mysterious fatal fall of one of their classmates. It's a tantalizing premise and Jinn could simply offer viewers a Middle Eastern spin on the tropes of teen supernatural dramas seen in the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Teen Wolf. Sadly, Jinn, which feels like it could have taken place anywhere, is so generic, it seems plausible that it was scripted by algorithms rather than humans.
The concept of the jinn, spiritual beings that are a mainstay in both pre-Islamic folklore and Islamic mythology, present near-unlimited thematic opportunities for a TV show: the clash of the modern with ancient forces; the juxtaposition of pre-Islamic indigenous knowledge and Islamic doctrines; the idea of jinns possessing bodies as a very broad metaphor for puberty (always look to Buffy for ideas!); and the fears of historic evils coming back to haunt contemporary Jordan, for starters. Jinn unfortunately opts for a warmed-over version of Twilight, but in laying out the rules and limits of its supernatural universe, is even more confusing than the Stephanie Meyer series.
In Jinn, the protagonist, reclusive cool girl Mira (Salma Malhas), unwittingly summons an other-worldly protector in the form of the smoldering Keras (Hamzeh Okab). He supplies her with Edward Cullen-esque platitudes about her ability to save everyone and believing in herself. Meanwhile, Mira's classmate, the troubled and bullied Yassin (Sultan Alkhail), has similarly attracted Vera (Aysha Shahaltough), a jinni with nefarious intentions. Unless they act immediately, evil jinn will be unleashed upon the world.