The critical social comedy series Buq'at Daw'a (Spotlight) has always been the first to cross the line in Syria. The series is seen as a bastion of courage for consistently defying the limits of censorship. It is now gearing up for its ninth season. The question now is: what will this new season offer and will it continue to push the limits of the censors?
The new season will necessarily be shaped by the current events in Syria, and responding to these events will be the principal new challenges for the team behind Buq'at Daw'a. All factors surrounding the Syrian crisis have increasingly tested the limits of censorship. The stories on corruption, criticism of the government and disputes with the security institutions—which the series is recognized for boldly addressing—have now become topics discussed by the general public. What will be the new approach in the latest eason of Buq'at Daw'a, which plans to surprise its viewers with an approach even more daring than usual?
This is the principal question that those working on the ninth season should be asking themselves. The production company has asked its writers to send in their scripts via email, within which will be hidden the secret behind Buq’at Daw’a. The scripts will be able to provide the valuable answer to this question. However, if the new season is jeopardized by dramatic events in Syria, this question will surely become irrelevant.
Dr. Ranya al-Jaban, who is working on the ninth season, has issued a statement saying, "The series will discuss the ongoing Syrian crisis from a social perspective." She refuted claims that "the series will take on the crisis from a political perspective or take a stance with or against anyone. The series will deal with the effects of the crisis on the relationship between the citizens and our social life. These are crises that the Syrians are dealing with for the first time and they are being affected at different levels."
Al-Jaban seems to be addressing the crisis in a sensitive manner, and the series will supposedly refrain from taking sides. It is an approach that we have witnessed before in two drama series aired on Syrian Satellite Channel, Hat Min Al-Akher (What is the Bottom Line) and Hsan Tarwadah (Trojan Horse), which were produced by the General Organization for TV and Radio Production.
The two series have discussed the crisis in a balanced way, but more is expected of Buq'at Daw'a even if it adopts the same approach. Those two series announced their intentions for a dramatic take on the crisis, whereas Buq'at Daw'a has a history of criticizing the authority throughout its eight seasons. One of its main tasks has been to go the extra mile, unveiling what lies beyond the obvious. Here, we do not mean that Buq'at Daw'a should try to forecast the future events of the crisis and build on them. However, we hope that it will revolutionize its usual content. Its treatment of the revolution will signal a bold new approach for the series, and a departure from its previous seasons.
It would be good for the series to reshuffle its content so that it may revive the kind of topics that were previously barred by censorship laws. The first step for Buq'at Daw'a, is to discuss issues with even more boldness and honesty. This will mark a new era for creative freedoms in Syria. The upcoming years will definitely bring about a new type of drama that tackles the tragedy of the crisis, but only once the latter is concluded. That time is not now.