The Middle Geeks Episode 27: ‘We Are Lady Parts’ Review

We are SO excited to discuss Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts, a British series featuring a punk rock band of all Muslim women of color, including MENA women, premiering today on Peacock TV! What did we love particularly about this series, and how well does it handle representation? We also discuss the news of the additional Sandman for Netflix, including the Lebanese Razane Jammal, American Eid debuting on Disney+, and much more!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 26: ‘The Present’ in Palestine

We discuss the most recent IDF and Israeli government brutalization and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza and East Jerusalem and discuss what the world and the US need to do to help those affected and end the occupation. We discuss what the daily reality is like for Palestinians in the West Bank through Farah Nabulsi’s brilliant short film, The Present, which you can watch on Netflix. Please do what you can to help Palestinians in need.

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The Middle Geeks: Tala Ashe of ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

Tala Ashe, who plays our favorite TV superhero Zari Tarazi, joins Swara for a discussion of the next Legends of Tomorrow episode, “The Ex-Factor!” They talk about the importance of Iranian, MENA, and Muslim representation, where Zari’s journey goes this season, and the experience of working on a show as exciting as Legends. Enjoy! 

This is a podcast form of the interview published here for The Nerds of Color.

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NOC Interview: Tala Ashe of ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

Since debuting in Season 3 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Zari Tarazi (Tala Ashe) has become a beloved fixture in the CW’s zaniest (but still very heartfelt) Arrowverse show. Besides the importance of her being the first major Muslim and Iranian-American superhero on network tv, she’s one of the most dynamic and compelling members of the Legends. Things have changed tremendously for Zari over the past few years, as her relationships with her teammates develops and changes and her brother Behrad (Shayan Sobhian) has become a member of the Legends. Now, in Episode 3 of Season 6, she’s faced with more personal challenges as it’s up to her to save the day in a reality tv show competition. We at the Nerds of Color had the opportunity to interview Tala Ashe about Zari’s story this episode, and where her journey in Season 6 will be going.

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The Middle Geeks Interview: Reem Faruqi and Fahmida Azim of ‘Amira’s Picture Day’

In the second of our interview series, author Reem Faruqi and artist Fahmida Azim join us to discuss their new book, Amira’s Picture Day, out now! We discuss the impetus for this delightful children’s book that takes place on the Muslim holiday Eid-Al-Fitr, celebrating the end of Ramadan, and what else inspired them in the creation of this wonderful story, from the beautiful art to the deeply embedded cultural elements Enjoy listening and buy your copy of Amira’s Picture Day today!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 25: The Falcon, The Winter Soldier, and… Chad

This month, we’re reviewing not one, but TWO series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+, and Nasim Pedrad’s Chad on TBS! What did we think of the overall series and finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? How well did it handle the sociopolitical and geopolitical themes it tried to tackle? How did Chad do a good job at presenting a normal Iranian American family, and what did we make of the cringe humor style? We also discuss some VERY exciting castings of MENA actors for the Black Adam film, give our recommendations, and much more!

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Co-showrunner Phil Klemmer Discusses New Season of ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the wonderfully wacky and zany sibling of the Arrowverse, is coming back for its sixth season on May 2. The season five finale left fans on a cliffhanger with Sara’s abrupt abduction by aliens after the team drunkly celebrated their victory over the Fates in 1970s London. Even besides the capture of their leader, the Legends have many other team dynamics going on, and Nerds of Color was able to speak via phone call with co-showrunner and Executive Producer Phil Klemmer on what fans can expect for our ragtag group this upcoming season.

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NOC Review: ‘Chad’ is Good, but Revels in Cringe

Being a Middle Eastern kid in an American high school can be an awkward experience. You may struggle to fit in and have an unclear sense of your identity, making friends and relationships as a result. With the new show Chad on TBS, in which she plays the titular 14-year old character, Nasim Pedrad seeks to encompass that experience through reveling in the awkwardness that being an insecure MENA teenager can often entail. And it works for the most part, though the humor sometimes falls flat, especially when it leans too much into the awkwardness.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 23: ‘I Still Hide to Smoke’ and a Plethora of MENA News

We’re joined by Mae’s sister Sonia to discuss the inaugural film of Algerian director Rayhana Obermeyer, “I Still Hide to Smoke.” How well does this film convey the experiences of living as a woman in Algeria in the mid-1990s? How are the themes explored applicable to women’s issues worldwide? How amazing is Hiam Abbas in the lead role (answer: incredibly amazing as she is in everything.) We also have a lot of MENA news to discuss, including the news that our fave Marwan Kenzari will be starring in the DCEU’s Black Adam! We also discuss Mauritanian-American actor Mamoudou Athie’s new film project, the announced tv adaptation of Hafsah-Faizal’s “We Hunt the Flame,” which takes place in a fantasy Arabia, the upcoming return of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the Writers Guild of America forming a Middle Eastern Writers Committee, and the exciting news about the establishment of Avatar Studios, which is expanding the animated universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on Nickelodeon and Paramount+!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 22: ‘Breaking Fast’ Review

We are joined by our friend Tariq Raouf to discuss the upcoming film Breaking Fast, which features a gay Arab-American Muslim as its protagonist! We discuss what we enjoyed about the film, what director and writer Mike Mosallam was trying to say with this delightful rom-com, how well it does with representation for Arabs, Muslims, and Ramadan, and where it could have been better. Before that, in our MENA news segment, we have some GREAT news to discuss with Ramy’s May Calamawy being base in Marvel’s Moon Knight! And another of our faves, Rami Malek, has been cast in a lead role in David O’Rusell’s upcoming film! Enjoy listening!

Spoilers for Breaking Fast begin around 26:06

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The Middle Geeks Episode 21: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and its MENA Issues

We are joined by the wonderful Hanna Flint to discuss Wonder Woman 1984 in this special bonus episode! We discuss the various ups and downs of the film, how well we thought the actors did with the script and story they had, and whether this movie did Diana Prince/Wonder Woman justice. We also discuss the many racist and Orientalist aspects of its depiction of Egypt and Egyptian people, and how detrimental it is for MENA representation. There’s a LOT to discuss, and we go through it all. Enjoy listening!

Spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984 begin around 11:26.

TW for discussion of rape and sexual assault 11:44 -12:57

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Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and Mosul

The Middle Geeks Episode 20: Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and Mosul

We’re back with a LOT to discuss. Joining us is a prolific cosplayer, streamer, and friend, Jasmin! We discuss Jasmin’s cosplaying and how the cosplay community has been doing in quarantine. We also discuss the announcement of a queer Ramadan rom-com coming out next month, highlights of the MCU announcements from last week, and how MENA people are WINNING as directors for Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight, why we’re so excited for these series, and our thoughts on the castings (and on the ones that are controversial), and discuss Netflix’s Mosul as our movie of the month. Enjoy!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 19: ‘Paranormal’ Activity in Egypt (on Netflix)

This month we’re joined by filmmaker Shahab Zargari to discuss Netflix’s new supernatural series Paranormal, a supernatural drama set in Egypt, with a story actually told by Egyptians! We’re excited to dive into this overall excellent show. We also interview Shahab on his filmmaking career and what drives his art, discuss the roller coaster of recent Arrowverse news and what it says about DCTV moving forward, and give our recommendations. Also, we have a very special announcement!

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Arabian Sights

The Middle Geeks Episode 18: DC’s Arabian Sights Festival and DC’s MENA Heroes

This month we’re discussing films we watched as part of Washington DC’s Arabian Sights Film festival. With films from Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, and more, this festival conveys the array of work being done by MENA filmmakers and we are so … Continue reading The Middle Geeks Episode 18: DC’s Arabian Sights Festival and DC’s MENA Heroes

The Middle Geeks Episode 17: MENA in the Stars and Middle Earth

We’re excited to have on TV writer, blogger, and Star Wars fan Arezou Amin on to discuss the long history of MENA people being excluded from Science Fiction and Fantasy media. Why are we constantly ousted from stories that were, in fact, inspired by works based on the Middle East and our culture? Where could we even find ourselves? We discuss Arezou’s project with Postcards from the Galaxy’s Edge featuring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Star Wars fans, and what she and the podcast hoped to achieve with it. We also discuss various DCTV news, including the Legends of Tomorrow panel at DC FanDome and the future of Zari and Behrad Tarazi in Season 6, Supergirl ending with Season 6, and Caity Lotz’s bufoonish tweets, and the news that Alia Shawkat is creating and starring in a series based on her family’s Iraqi immigrant experience!

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DC FanDome: ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Cast and Producers on What to Expect in Season 6

Spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 and some mild spoilers for Season 6 follow. Quotes have been edited for length and clarity. It’s the wackiest, one of the most beloved, and critically revered of all the DCTV shows. In a panel moderated by Chancellor Agard of Entertainment Weekly, most of the cast and some of the creative heads of Legends of Tomorrow, including Caity Lotz, Nick Zano, Tala Ashe, Jess Macallan, Matt Ryan, Amy Lousie Pemberton, Shayan Sobhian, Olivia Swann, producer Phil Klemmer, executive producer Keto Shimizu, and executive producer Grainne Godfree, the Waverider crew and more reflected on Season 5 and what fans can expect from Season 6.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 16: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’ Review and DC FanDome

We’re starting spooky season a bit early this year with a review of Iranian-American film director Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 horror classic “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” What makes this film so unique in its abstraction and commentary, and how effectively does it pull it off? But before that, we have a heavy news section discussing police violence and brutality in the US, the recent explosion in Lebanon that has exacerbated the country’s numerous problems, and, on a much lighter note, we discuss the plethora of entertainment news out of DC Comics’ online convention DC FanDome!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 15: “The Old Guard” Review and “Cancel Culture”

We have a PACKED episode this month. After discussing some excellent and exciting MENA entertainment news, Mae and Swara review Netflix’s The Old Guard, which is directed by the incredible Gina Prince-Bythewood and stars one of our favorite MENA actors Marwan Kenzari! But before that, we have an open and frank discussion about “cancel culture,” why it scares powerful and privileged white people so much, and how if they just actually devoted themselves to be better people they wouldn’t have to worry about being “canceled.” Enjoy listening!

Spoilers for The Old Guard being around 1:12:00.

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The Middle Geeks Interview: Faly Rakotohavana of Disney’s ‘The Secret Society of Second Born Royals’

In the first of our interview series, we’re joined by Faly Rakotohavana of the upcoming Disney+ film The Secret Society of Second Born Royals! Faly tells us how he first got into acting on Raven’s Home on Disney Channel, Black Lives Matter, and his role as Matteo in The Secret Society of Second Born Royals, which is to debut on Disney+ this September 25, 2020. Enjoy!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 14: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in MENA Communities

In this episode, we discuss systemic Anti-Black racism, how it crops up in MENA communities, and how we should address it. We discuss how we can start important and difficult conversations with friends and family, and how we should show solidarity with the Black community in the fight for racial justice.

We’re joined by Nawal Rajeh, a community organizer and activist who co-founded and runs the non-profit By Peaceful Means, which works with youth in East Baltimore, MD around issues of peace and justice. 

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