'Enemies', 'HaMefakedet' and more hot Israeli shows to watch

The documentary series "Enemies" is back for its second season and will be airing on Kan 11, with an episode about the Yom Kippur War.

 ‘DISMISSED’  (photo credit: Kan 11/Ran Mendelson)
(photo credit: Kan 11/Ran Mendelson)

The documentary series "Enemies" on Kan 11 is back for a second season with an episode about the Yom Kippur War and how deeply it shaped the current Middle Eastern reality. This episode is available on the Kan website at www.kan.org.il. No matter how much you think you know about that war, this episode will likely surprise you, as it features historians, generals and other analysts – both Israelis and Egyptians – who discuss the conflict and its aftermath. 

"HaMefakedet" season two will air October 19

Another much-awaited Kan series is coming up on October 19, the second season of "HaMefakedet (Dismissed)," the army comedy focusing on female soldiers and starring Alona Sa’ar (the daughter of Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar) as the endearingly ill-suited commander of a group of entertainingly annoying troublemakers. Among the returning cast members will be the compelling actress, Maya Landsmann, who won the Best Performance Award at the Cannes International Series Festival for "The Lesson (a.k.a. Zero Hour)."

Israeli sitcom "Nevsu" is now on Netflix

The very clever Israeli sitcom "Nevsu," about an Ethiopian man married to an Ashkenazi woman, is now available on Netflix with English subtitles. The basic joke is that Gili (played by series co-creator Yossi Vasa), an Israeli of Ethiopian descent who works in advertising, is constantly regarded with suspicion and contempt by the authorities and just about everyone else because of his ethnicity. It opens with a sequence in which he nearly gets arrested for taking some water bottles out of his own car outside his building. But the flip side is that his wife, Tamar (Meyrav Feldman), is extremely assertive and routinely films the police harassing him and posts it on YouTube. She has found the perfect cause in Gili; she can be angry and outraged all the time and there is (almost always) good reason for it. 

Screen iL on television  (credit: Courtesy)Screen iL on television (credit: Courtesy)

It’s a classic sitcom premise: an odd couple or a couple of people perceive as odd, which adds a dimension of real social commentary. Coupled with Vasa’s sweet but frazzled comic persona, this adds up to a series that is a lot of fun and should work well with Netflix audiences around the world. Meskie Shibru and Hanna Laslo consistently provide laughs playing the couple’s mothers, who seem locked in a contest to prove who is more tactless and self-absorbed. There have been movies about the Ethiopian community before, but they have been serious dramas, except for Esti Almo’s Lady Titi Singing Blues, about a man who hides from loan sharks by posing as a woman. Vasa has apparently decided that laughter is a good coping mechanism. Nevsu is not subtle and this is a series where everyone always says the quiet part out loud, so to speak, but that’s also what makes it funny. The series won an Emmy Award for Best International Comedy Series. 

Cellcom TV to show Dutch miniseries "The Crash"

It has been 30 years since the horrific plane crash in Amsterdam in which an El Al cargo plane crashed into the Bijlmer housing project, killing 43 people including the entire crew, and Cellcom TV is showing a Dutch miniseries, The Crash, about it. The series opens with a disclaimer, “Facts and fiction have been freely mixed,” and it presents a number of unconfirmed conspiracy theories about the crash, notably that the plane was carrying chemical weapons that included nerve gas and that the airport gave false reports of the plane’s route to the press to cover up their mismanagement.

The character of the nerdy aviation reporter digging into the details of the crash is appealing and we all want to be on the side of the angels against bureaucratic baddies. Still, it is frustrating that we don’t know what the series’ creators considered fiction. It’s interesting to get to know those living in Bijlmer, a project that in the series’ telling was an oasis of tolerance in Amsterdam. The series is certainly well written, but many will be uncomfortable with an Israeli airline being accused of transporting deadly chemicals when it isn’t clear that this really happened. 

New series "Shantaram" available on Apple TV+

Shantaram is a new series that starts showing on Apple TV+ on October 14, based on the bestselling, loosely autobiographical novel of the same name by Gregory David Roberts. It tells the story Lin Ford (Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy), an Australian philosophy student turned heroin addict and bank robber in the 1980s, who flees to India in the hope of reinventing himself in the chaos of Mumbai. But soon he finds himself caught up in intrigues that even a streetwise guy cannot easily figure out and it seems it is his destiny to get caught up in a world of crime and drugs again. The series also stars Antonia Desplat as a femme fatale. The series is a bit obvious – the bad guys all look stereotypically sinister – but there is a vitality about it in spite of its cliches.