5 TV Shows Featuring Arab American Actors You Can Watch in Celebration of Arab American Heritage Month

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Ramy Youssef, Alia Shawkat, Rami Malek, Tony Shalhoub and Mo Amer
Jon Pack/ HBO Max/Hulu/Peter Kramer/Universal Cable Company/Kobal/Shutterstock/Philippe Antonello/Prime Video/ Netflix © 2022

April is Arab American Heritage Month.

April marks Arab American Heritage month, a time celebrate the Arab American heritage and culture and pay tribute to the contributions of Arab Americans and Arabic-speaking Americans. It's also a time to celebrate their contributions on screen as well.

From Ramy featuring Ramy Youssef, to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which boasts an all-star cast that includes Tony Shalhoub, today's biggest streamers are filled with hit shows that not only feature Arab American actors, but put them in leading roles. In celebration of Arab American Heritage Month, ET is sharing 5 TV shows you can stream that put the work of Arab American actors at the forefront.



Starring show creator Ramy Youssef, Ramy follows a first-generation Egyptian-American 20-something who is on a spiritual journey in his politically divided New Jersey neighborhood. Caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is a moral test and a millennial generation that believes life has no consequences, Ramy is often facing an internal battle of doing what he thinks is "the right thing" and still trying to do the things that most 20-somethings do.

With seasons 1-3 streaming on Hulu, Ramy not only paints the Arab American experience in a way that's never been seen on mainstream television before, but is one that is relatable and palatable to viewers of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds.

ET spoke to Youssef ahead of the show's third season, where he explained the importance of casting fellow Arab American actors on the show, including model Bella Hadid, who had a guest spot on the show's third season.

"I think it feels organic to the show," Youssef said of the cast and its guest stars. "I think that everyone we've brought in has just been a fan of the show, and somewhat of a friend. And so many of the people that work on this show, I have personal connections with. I mean, like Julian Sergi, who plays Yuval this season, I've known him since I was 18."

"I've known obviously Dave Merheje, and Steve Way, and Mo Amer. All these guys I've known, coming on decade or decades, depending on who you're talking about -- Laith Nakli, same thing," he added. "So, it's cool. There's just a natural chemistry with everyone who gravitates towards the show, and we only really bring in people who feel like they would fit into that family."

Seasons 1-3 of Ramy are available to stream on Hulu.

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A family Ramy is, with the show spawning another series featuring one of its own, Mo Amer, who has seen success with his self-titled series on Netflix. Loosely based off the life of the Ramy actor and stand-up comedian, Mo tells the story of a Palestinian-American man living in Houston, Texas, who is constantly straddling the line between two cultures as a refugee constantly living one step away from asylum on the path to U.S. citizenship. Co-created by Youssef, the comedy drama sees Mo work to create a stable life for him and his family in the States, while still grappling with the aftermath of leaving his war-torn country as a child. Using some coping mechanisms that only numb the pain, Mo finds himself quickly in over his head after taking some extreme measures to secure his status and his future as an Arab American.

Arab Americans aren't the only ones who love the series, Netflix does too, green lighting the show for season two at the streamer.

Youssef also commented on Mo's success and creating a character show that offers a different look at the Arab and Muslim experience in America.

"I really wanted this story to exist, and I feel like to be with a guy like Mo, who has such a great story and so much stand-up, I knew that networks would be into supporting that," Youssef explained. "And I felt like it'd be really nice to give Arab Muslim viewers a different type of show. I think the show is so much different from the Hulu show."

He added, "We can't really be defined to just one box or one category."

Season 1 of Mo is available to stream on Netflix.

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Search Party


Starring Alia Shawkat -- who boasts Iraqi-American heritage -- Search Party follows Dory (Shawkat) and her friends, Drew (John Reynolds), Portia (Meredith Hagner) and Elliott (Early), as they search for their missing friend, Chantal (Clare McNulty).

The dark comedy, which pokes fun at the absurdity of millennial adulthood, started out as a low-budget satirical TBS comedy the followed a group of self-involved Brooklyn millennials searching for their missing college acquaintance and, more importantly, purpose. Evolving into a hit HBO Max series, the show effortlessly moved between genres, at times a Nancy Drew mystery and at others, a courtroom drama. And still, it never failed to lose its unique and stinging point of view.

As murders were committed, court cases were tried, and brunch was consumed, the show critically explored what it means to grow up, by taking the consequences of each character faced to absurd, and somehow meaningful and logical places.

Shawkat has several other hilarious titles under her name, including Arrested DevelopmentBig MouthSeverance and more.

All five seasons of Search Party are available to stream on HBO Max.

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Mr. Robot

Bobby Bank/GC Images

While many know Rami Malek for his Oscar-winning role as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, the Egyptian-American actor first rose to fame in the USA Network drama, Mr. Robot.

Malek stars as a young, anti-social computer programmer, Elliot, who works as a cybersecurity engineer during the day, but at night he is a vigilante hacker. He is recruited by the mysterious leader of an underground group of hackers to join their organization. Elliot's task? Help bring down corporate America, including the company he is paid to protect, which presents him with a moral dilemma.

Although he works for a corporation, his personal beliefs make it hard to resist the urge to take down the heads of multinational companies that he believes are running -- and ruining -- the world.

ET spoke to Malek back in 2019, at the premiere for the show's fourth and final season, where he shared what a "profound" moment it was to bring the hit series to a close.

"It's a tremendously emotional experience," Malek told ET at the time. "It has been since we began shooting this fourth season, and I know that it will be at the end of this night. It's a moment in my life that is profound and prolific."

He added of the show's final season, "It is a very fulfilling and cathartic ending. If I may be so bold as to say, I think we nailed it."

Seasons 1-4 Mr. Robot are available to stream on Prime Video.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Prime Video

Tony Shalhoub famously cemented himself on our TV screens in the 2002 criminal dramedy, Monk, and while a revival movie is in the works, these days the Lebanese-American actor is boasting a starring role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. 

Shalhoub plays Abe Weissman, a Columbia University mathematics professor-turned-theater critic and the father of Miriam "Midge" Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) on the Prime Video series. The heartwarming period comedy-drama comes from Gilmore Girls creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, and follows Midge Maisel, a New York City housewife who decides to pursue stand-up comedy after her husband, played by Michael Zegen, has an affair.

Over four seasons, Maisel fans have watched as the lovable and strong-willed Midge has faced ups and downs in both her comedy career and personal life. 

The hit comedy has also raked in the awards over the years, winning 20 Emmy awards with 54 nominations in its first three seasons, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Sherman-Palladino made history by becoming the first person to earn Emmy wins in both Comedy Writing and Comedy Directing in the same year.

The show has also earned five Critics Choice Awards (including Best Comedy Series), two Producers Guild Awards, a Writers Guild Award, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, including Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and a Peabody Award.

Viewers can catch the fifth and final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel when it premieres, April 14 with seasons 1-4 streaming now on Prime Video.

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