x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Second series of 04 hits the air

The Dubai-based drama series has won a large following across the Arabic-speaking world.

The cast of O4, from left, Mohammed Al Dosari (Abdul Aziz), Khalid Najim (Wisam), Nicholas Mouwad (Ziad) and Momin Noor (Hassan). Courtesy MBC
The cast of O4, from left, Mohammed Al Dosari (Abdul Aziz), Khalid Najim (Wisam), Nicholas Mouwad (Ziad) and Momin Noor (Hassan). Courtesy MBC

What it's all about

Four roommates trying to make it in Dubai. It's Friends meets Entourage meets Days of our Lives - in Arabic, with English subtitles. The series title, 04 (Zero Four), refers to the troop, as well as Dubai's city code. Up-and-coming pan-Arab actors headline the show, led by the young Kuwaiti director Khalid Al Rifai.

The characters

There's Ziad, a hyperactive Lebanese who's slightly self-absorbed, and the show's comic relief; Wissam, a shy Jordanian who constantly over-thinks things; Hassan, an old-school romantic (read: very dramatic) lad from Egypt; and Abdul Aziz, an athletic, artistic Kuwaiti aspiring to be a filmmaker.

What you have missed

The first season of 20 half-hour episodes chronicled how the four adjust to each other's cultural differences, all the while trying to find their individual places in their new home city. Like real-life roommates, they argue about living arrangements and struggle with paying the rent.

We watched as they dealt - often amusingly, sometimes operatically - with attention from the opposite sex, as well as stressful visits from manic family members and the pressures of their careers.

What we shouldexpect from the second season

More insights into the highs and lows of living in the UAE, aside from unanswered questions from last season's finale: will Ziad realise his bad temper isolates him from his friends and object of affection, Nadine? As he climbs the entertainment-industry ladder, will Abdul Aziz finally get the approval of his father?

And it's more than TV …

04 has a formidable web presence - which it dubs "the region's first transmedia experience". The four lead characters have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, which they constantly update.

For a recent Manchester City match, for example, the four invited fans to a virtual viewing night, posting images of themselves watching the game and eating pizza.

In a further re-imagining what a TV show is today, the show has partnered with Google and its Google+ Hangout feature, so fans can video-chat with characters right after an episode airs.

How it's been received

It's slowly turning into a phenomenon. Since its debut in mid-January, 04 has garnered fans from all over the region, especially the UAE and Egypt.

04 is broadcast from Saturdays to Wednesdays at 11pm on MBC4. www.zero4.me. YouTube: Zero4channel; Twitter: 04_series; Google+: 04 TV Series