Shayan Sobhian, aka Behrad Tarazi of Legends of Tomorrow, joins Swara to discuss his upcoming episode, “This is Gus!” They talk about how Shayan relates to his character, the importance and impact of representation, and how Behrad may be developing this season. Enjoy listening!
This is a podcast form of the interview published here for The Nerds of Color.
Since coming onto the Legends team in a revamped timeline in the Season 4 finale, Behrad Tarazi, younger brother of Zari Tarazi, has been a fixture on Legends of Tomorrow. But it was only this season that his actor, the mult-talented Shayan Sobhian, was promoted to a series regular. He’s the chillest member of the Waverider crew, always looking to defuse tension and make sure that he and his friends have a good time.
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.
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.
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.
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+!
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!
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.
In the latest episode of The Middle Geeks, we review Hulu’s Ramy Season 2, dropping on Hulu May 29! We were able to watch the season in full, and give a non-spoiler review followed by a full-length SPOILER review. We mark the timings for these discussions below, so be sure to watch the season first if you don’t want spoilers! How did this season of Ramy improve from Season 1? Why was Mahershala Ali’s character such a standout? How were the characters we were introduced to develop further this season, and how surprising were their stories? How did Ramy Youssef seek to make a messy and irreverent story about this Egyptian-American Muslim family, and how well do he and the show team do that? We also have a difficult discussion about the new show Stargirl and how specifically it relates to the lack of MENA and women of color headlined DCTV shows, give our recommendations, and much more!
Ramy Season 2 discussion beings at 15:48, with a full SPOILERS discussion 27:39-1:34:03.
Music credit: Music Laounga 79 by El Masreyen, the album “Horreia,” used as opening music for Ramy
The internet was abuzz a few weeks ago when the first photos for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2020 adaptation came out, but where were all the MENA people who should have been cast in a work clearly informed by the Middle East and its people, down to blatantly using Arabic and Persian words? In our exasperation at this blatant exclusion, we have our friend and lifelong Dune fan Rocky on again to discuss why this is troubling and its overall implications for MENA representation in Hollywood. Why did Warner Brothers and Villeneuve not cast any MENA actors or We’re very tired. We also discuss the return of Legends of Tomorrow and what we thought of Tala Ashe’s mesmerizing performance, give our recommendations for our collective time in quarantine, and much more!
This month on The Middle Geeks, we’re joined by our friend and fellow DCTV fan Andy Behbakht to discuss why we love the character Zari Tomaz/Tarazi on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow so much. This character brings such wonderful representation, for which we’re very grateful. What does Tala Ashe bring to the role in her excellent performance of the character? What do we make of Zari’s story over the seasons and how she is written? How does Zari, through her cultural background, story, and personality, represent us as Middle Eastern people? We also discuss the news that we may be getting an Aladdin (2019) sequel, whether we feel excited about it, give our recommendations, and much more!
This month on The Middle Geeks, we discuss Waad Al-Kateab’s stunning documentary For Sama, which provides visceral insight into the Syrian Civil War and the experiences of citizens under siege. The film has been nominated for numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In much lighter topics, we discuss the upcoming return of Zari (Tala Ashe) on Legends of Tomorrow, and the news that Iranian and other people of color will be leads in Middle Earth on Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings series!
In the latest installment of The Middle Geeks, we review Wajib by Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir. Mae and Swara talk about what we enjoyed about the film, and how we thought it offered a realistic portrayal of families dealing with generational oppression and how meaningful it is for Annemarie Jacir to tell an intimate story of her people. We also discuss the great news that the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+ will have an Iranian-British writer with Hossein Amini, how we’re looking forward to the Arrow spinoff starring the Canaries, and give our recommendations of what to watch.
(We start our Wajib discussion at the 21:12 mark.)
In the latest installment of The Middle Geeks, we review Nadine Labaki’s 2018 heartbreaking masterpiece, Capernaum. Mae and Swara reflect on the state of conflict in the region, how institutions fail children, immigrants, and the most vulnerable, and how generational trauma affects us as Middle Eastern-Americans. It’s a hard but necessary set of discussions to have. On much lighter topics, we discuss the slew of news from D23, and express our dismay at a change in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow‘s upcoming season.
(We start our Capernaum discussion at the 32:51 mark.)
In the third episode of The Middle Geeks, we review Hulu’s Ramy, an incisive and groundbreaking new series on the Middle Eastern-American experience. Listen to Swara and Mae as we talk about what we loved about the series, how it made us feel about our own identities, and how we think it could have done better. We also break down all the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DCTV news from San Diego Comic-Con and talk about how we’re excited about what’s coming forward!
In the second-ever episode of The Middle Geeks, we cover Netflix’s new original series Jinn, their first ever Arabic language series! Did we enjoy it? Did it present an authentic Middle Eastern experience? Should we be outraged by teenagers kissing as many in Jordan apparently are? Additionally, we talk about how we’ve been enjoying DCTV this season on the CW, what we think it could do better, and what we’re looking forward to. Enjoy!