The Middle Geeks Episode 33: ‘Gaza Mon Amour’ Review and Holiday Edition

Even though there’s not a lot to be merry about, we count our blessings and make it merry! We also discuss the wonderful 2020 film Gaza Mon Amour by director brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser, which shows old love in the middle of Gaza, starring our fave Hiam Abbass. We also discuss the exciting news of We Are Lady Parts Season 2 renewal, Mena Massoud’s new Netflix rom-com coming out soon, and much more!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 32: The Promise of ‘Star Wars: Visions’

We’re excited to have Meg Humphrey of Rogue Podron on to discuss Star Wars: Visions, the new anime anthology on Disney+ that breathes fresh life into this franchise with Japanese creators, crafting stories in a universe that was *heavily* inspired by their own culture.

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The Middle Geeks Interview: Abubakr Ali of Netflix’s ‘Grendel’

We are delighted to welcome Abubakr Ali on the podcast, who will be playing the titular role in Netflix’s Grendel, making him the FIRST Arab and Muslim actor to headline a comic adaptation in TV/Film! We discuss what got him into acting, his career so far, what his favorite superhero and other media are, and much more. Enjoy the conversation!

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Interview with ‘Batman and Robin and Howard’ Author Jeffrey Brown

Damian Wayne has many fans. The popular Arab American character, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al-Ghul, is an adorable crime-fighting — and previously murderous kid — whose fundamental charm and sincere desire to do good has captured the hearts of many DC fans, so much so that he has a current ongoing series. But we don’t see enough of Damian’s school life. When does he get to be a regular pre-teen who gets to have fun at school and make friends?

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The Middle Geeks Episode 31: ‘Dune’ Review

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation, based on a book that was explicitly and heavily influenced by Middle East and North African (MENA) and Islamic cultures, is out, and we are joined by our friends and fellow MENA critics Hanna Flint and Roxana Hadadi to review it.

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AlRawabi

The Middle Geeks 30: ‘AlRawabi School for Girls’ Makes ‘Mean Girls’ Look Like Cotton Candy

Created by Jordanian creator Tima Shomali, AlRawabi School for Girls is a devastatingly excellent series on Netflix exploring the dynamics of a Jordanian high school. What causes these girls to escalate their psychological wars on each other? How does this series do at exploring some of the systemic patriarchal problems in Middle Eastern societies? We discuss all of that and why we love this series.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 29: ‘Lift Like a Girl’ and an MCU Assessment

Ferdosa joins us to discuss the Netflix documentary Lift Like a Girl! How well did this documentary do at showcasing the weightlifting journey of Asmaa and her team, and the depiction of everyday Egyptians? What could it have done better? We also discuss the exciting news that Black Palestinian writer and actor Yassir Lester will be the head writer of the upcoming MCU series Armor Wars, and speculate on what that might mean for the MCU’s penchant for military propaganda. Enjoy listening!

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The Middle Geeks Episode 28: Palestine in Pop Culture and ‘Loki’

Palestinian historian and scholar N.A. Mansour joins us to discuss the situation in Palestine, where the situation stands now, how pop culture plays into the dehumanization of Palestinians, and what you can do to help and learn more about Palestinian people and their struggles. We also discuss all of Loki Season 1! What did we like about the series, and what themes resonated with us? Where could it have done better in areas? We also give our recommendations, and much more!

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The Middle Geeks Interview: Amin El Gamal of ‘Breaking Fast’

For Pride Month, we are so excited to have on Amin El Gamal, who plays Sam on the amazing queer Ramadan rom-com Breaking Fast, which is now on Hulu! We dig into what drew Amin to acting, the experience of filming Breaking Fast and working with Mike Mosallam, their thoughts on the current landscape of MENA and queer stories in film and, what he’d love to see more of in the industry, and much more!

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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 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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The Middle Geeks Episode 24: ‘WandaVision’ Review

We’re joined once again by the wonderful Arezou to discuss and review the entirety of Marvel’s WandaVision on Disney+! What did we think the series did well, and what were areas it could have improved upon? How well did it do at exploring themes of love and grief? What do we think it says about the future of the MCU, and the standard it sets for character development and exploration going forward? We answer all that and more in this spoiler-packed installment of The Middle Geeks! 

Spoilers for all of WandaVision throughout this episode

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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 excited to share our thoughts with all of you! But before that, we discuss the exciting news of DC/Warner Brothers casting Iranian-American actress Sarah Shahi for Black Adam, the not-so-exciting news of Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins teaming up for a Cleopatra film, and a continuation of our discussion of “cancel culture” regarding a certain Chris (he’s a rich white cis-het man, he’ll be fine y’all). Enjoy listening!

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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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