The 15 Best Turkish Series of 2022

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The 15 Best Turkish Series of 2022

There was no shortage of quality Turkish series to choose from in 2022. From authentically Turkish dramas to feel-good rom-coms, this year provided top-of-the-line content for everyone and with that came our first introduction to many new and immensely talented faces. 

Even with the threat of cancellations hanging over our heads, we found ourselves falling back in love dizis this year, so here, in no particular order, is our attempt at narrowing down the best Turkish Series of 2022.

Having broken every record there is (well, almost), it is fair to say Yalı Çapkını is making its way onto the list of Best Turkish Dramas ever made, and rightfully so.

Produced by OGM Pictures, the classic family drama tells the story of two sisters whose paths cross with the heir to a family full of betrayal, lies, and secrets. 

Suna is to be wed to Ferit, the heir to the Korhan jewelry empire, but having never met his bride-to-be, Ferit - a spoilt casanova who is not interested in settling down - happens upon her younger sister, Seyran. Totally captivated by Seyran, Ferit's sets his mind on marrying her instead. While the arrangement suits Suna and Seyran’s father, who just wants a shot at the Korhan’s riches, both of the young women are thrown through a loop, and Suna starts to hatch wicked revenge plans to take back the future she believes has been stolen from her.

Yalı Çapkını, which is based on works by the renowned author Dr. Gülseren Budayıcıoğlu, has been a huge success for Star TV this year for many reasons, but the most obvious is its outstanding, well-chosen ensemble cast, led by Afra SaraçoğluMert Ramazan Demir, and Çetin Tekindor. Each cast member lends weight and depth to the solid, multilayered story that pulls you right in and keeps you coming back for more.

ATV has had its fair of classic Turkish dramas through the years and in its short time on screen, Aldatmak is slowly but surely climbing the ranks.

Produced by the iconic TIMS&B, the legal drama follows the story of Güzide Yenersoy, a respectable family court judge, who has dedicated many years to perfecting the image of her own family. To the best of Güzide's knowledge, her husband, Tarık, is an experienced and successful lawyer, running his own law firm; her son, Ozan, is a construction engineer working at a prestigious company, and her daughter, Oylum, is studying medicine in the Netherlands. But the real truth couldn't be farther from Güzide's reality. Her husband has a second family born out of an affair, her son is drowning in debts caused by his own idiocy, and her daughter is one plane ride away from New York, where she plans to follow her real passion: dancing.

Behind closed doors, family can be really messy, and Aldamak does a praise-worthy job of navigating the mess. The characters in the series are very well-written but Aldamak benefits significantly from its masterful cinematography which is supported by a mesmerizing musical score that elevates the tempo of each episode.

With the impeccable level of production that is very reminiscent of big-budget Hollywood movies, there is nothing quite like Aldatmak on Turkish TV right now.  

BKM may not make as many TV series as the next guy but when the production house delves into creating one, magic happens.

Gelsin Hayat Bildiği Gibi was the last of the summer series to be announced but it is now the end of the year and it is the last of the summer series left standing. 

In the drama series, life comes as it knows to Sadi Payaslı, Ankara's indomitable bully once upon a time. Having had his come to Jesus moment, Sadi is placed into the witness protection program, trading in his shady past for a new life as a geography teacher at Karabayır High School, a penal institution for juvenile delinquents. 

Armed with his unshakable sense of justice, Sadi balances out his past wrongdoings at the school by taking care of a group of convicted students who have never been given a fair chance. 

The official logline for Gelsin Hayat Bildiği Gibi describes the series as a "realistic look at Generation Z" and that couldn't be any more accurate. Turkish TV has had its fair share of preppy teenagers bedazzled in all the jewels and privilege, so Gelsin Hayat Bildiği Gibi's alternative approach to life as a teen was very much welcomed. Writer Gani Müjde shies away from clichés and instead relies on gritty realism, the result of which is a raw and intense drama that effectively explores the multitude of challenges faced by each character.

Of course, the many shippable duos (*cough #SadGül *coughs*) in the show are the real icing on the cake. 

One of the best decisions we made this year was checking out ATV's Bir Küçük Gün Işığı

Written by Özgür Evren Heptürk, the series follows event planner Elif (Seray Kaya), whose life spirals out of control after the unexpected death of her husband. Grief-stricken and recovering from the shock of losing her husband, Elif learns that not only was her husband unfaithful for years, but also he had a kid, Güneş, with the other woman, a kid he so happened to register, legally, as Elif's child. Navigating through the huge mess her husband left behind, Elif meets the oh-so-charming Fırat (Berk Oktay), who, wait for it, turns out to be the brother of the woman with whom Elif's dead husband fathered a child ?

This all lays out the groundwork for good ol' Turkish drama, which, thus far, has had us clapping and screaming with every twist and turn. 

The best part of the series is unarguably the phenomenal performance by the small but mighty Azra Aksu, who plays Günes. With little to no spoken lines in the series, Aksu's body language and excellent use of facial expressions brings a top-tier level of sincerity to her character, leaving the audience with a realistic encounter with the plight of many abused children.

To top it off, the show's attractive leads, Seray Kaya and Berk Oktay, share infectious onscreen chemistry that adds a lot of real warmth to the series. 

With characters as well-written as Elif, Günes, and Firat, Bir Küçük Gün Işığı is a must-have on your watchlist.

Disney+ made a splash with its launch in Türkiye this year, and with its deep pockets came fantastic originals like Dünyayla Benim Aramda. 

In Dünyayla Benim Aramda, Ilkin (Demet Özdemir) worries that her famous actor boyfriend Tolga (Buğra Gülsoy), is no longer in love with her. So, in a bid to get their relationship back on track, she reaches out to her boyfriend from a fake social media persona she creates, a persona that soon turns into the perfect woman to seduce her lover.

Pınar Bulut remains one of Türkiye's most brilliant writers and she once again showcases her strong pen game with Dünyayla Benim Aramda, delivering a quintessential yet modern-day take on a classic tale. In between wanting to establish the motivations of the character Ilkin and anticipating the fallout from the catfish, the audience is left with nail-biting thrills that prove consistently engrossing.

It should be exciting to see where the series goes in its already-confirmed second season.

In 2022, Netflix's continued commitment to delivering stellar Turkish content brought us a gem of a series, titled Zeytin Ağacı.

The visually delightful series follows surgeon Ada, lawyer Sevgi, and mom-fluencer Leyla, three college roommates turned lifelong friends. After Sevgi is re-diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that refuses to take to conventional treatments, the trio embarks on an impromptu road trip to Ayvalık in a bid to find a man named Zaman, famed for his spiritual methods of healing.

The trip to the seaside town becomes an adventure of self-discovery as each woman is challenged with confronting their own personal demons along the way.

 

In eight episodes, Zeytin Ağacı touches on a host of familiar themes, ranging from family dynamics to spiritualism to even romance but its most valuable asset is recognizing and highlighting the role generational trauma plays in shaping who we become as individuals. From less-than-perfect marriages to body-related insecurities, Ada, Sevgi, and Leyla each carry their own personal baggages, some of which they are aware of, others not so much, but as they undergo spiritual awakening and get a better understanding of themselves, they figuratively feel up space, both mentally and physically, allowing them to rediscover the best version of themselves. 

Now the best-performing Turkish series to date, Zeytin Ağacı is enriched by mastery of scenery and the naturalistic chemistry between the show's leads, Tuba BüyüküstünBoncuk Yılmaz, and Seda Bakan.

Backed by superb performances from its young cast, it is no mistake that Tozluyaka was one of this summer's best-performing new series. 

A classic whodunnit mystery with compelling twists Tozluyaka follows a close group of friends as they don their investigative hats to uncover the real truth behind their friend's supposed suicide. To get to the truth, Ali, Zeyno, and Arap enroll in the elite private school where their friend Vefa was a student, but the insidious power of wealth and outright snobbery make it hard for them to fit in. As they get accustomed to their new surroundings, the class divide is gradually surmounted and their lives are changed forever.

Audiences love a good underdog story and Tozluyaka triumphs greatly on that front with help from its stars. In the first episodes, you think you can tell the good guys from the bad guys but as the story unravels, it is clear everything isn't so black and white, and that in turn makes the series as exciting as it is engrossing.

With the short life span of rom-coms on Free TV, it has always been our ultimate dream to have an OTT platform create one, and in 2022, that dream very much became a reality. 

Erkek Severse led the opening of this new and exciting streaming era, premiering earlier this year on beinConnect (now called TOD). Served up on 26 entrailing episodes, the series follows the love story between the passionate and beautiful Zeynep (Büşra Develi) and charismatic businessman Kenan (Alperen Duymaz), and the rivals who threaten to doom their romance with a web of deception and lies.

Duymaz and Develi share incredible chemistry as the series' leads but what really set the rom-com apart was its rather refreshing script. For one, the character Zeynep is a single mother of two, and as she realistically juggles the struggles of having to not only keep a job but also cater to her kids, amid an ongoing custody battle with her knucklehead ex, a strong female lead that we can all get behind is born.

Another standout asset to the series is the level of communication between its main couple. If you have ever watched a Turkish rom-com, you know the struggle. Writer/Creator Asli Zengin drastically improves on her previous works with Erkek Severse, turning the "how long will they be apart" frustrations all the way down, in turn creating a clear and concise story.

Duy Beni is easily the most popular Turkish series released this year and for once, you can believe the hype.

The young adult drama, set in a prestigious high school, explores the endless teenage struggle of living with bullying, social injustice, and high school romances. The series centers on Ekim, a young teenager who is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend Gerçek High School, a school for wealthy kids, after an accident caused by one of the school's pupils, leaves her best friend wheelchair-bound. There, she is forced to survive among rich and spoilt kids, learning in time that all that glitters is not gold.

When tackling prevalent issues such as bullying on TV, the line between what's essential and what's exploitative is often blurred, however, Duy Beni does many things right, from casting of painfully relatable high-schoolers to its explorations of power dynamics between the haves and have-nots in a high school setting.

While a number of scenes were sprinkled with a heightened sense of realism to trigger a certain reaction from the audience, Duy Beni stays committed to its goals of highlighting just how damaging bullying can be.

Netflix continues to keep true to its promise of producing more Turkish series and 2022 brought along ones of its best Turkish originals to date,  Midnight at the Pera Palace.

Stemming from the award-winning Charles King novel with the namethe 8-episode series centers on a young journalist, Esra’s encounter with the legendary Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. Assigned to write a piece about the hotel, she accidentally discovers that one of the historic rooms is a portal to the year 1919. Thrust into the past, she lands in the middle of a political conspiracy against the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Science fiction and Turkish storytelling is a tricky combo that requires getting used to but it does work when done right, and in the case of Midnight at the Pera Palace, it was done right.

In highlighting more of its historic side against the backdrop of the Pera Palace, the series' insane production level, direction, and cast, led by Hazal Kaya (Esra), Tansu Biçer (Ahmet), Selahattin Paşalı (Halit), triumphantly transports the viewer into the eras it is set in and as we jump back and forth, the script manages to keep viewer very much engaged.

Show TV's Kızılcık Şerbeti was met with controversy before it even premiered, but naysayers were quickly reminded never to judge a dizi by its fragman.

Kızılcık Şerbeti tells the captivating story of the idealistic Doğa (Sıla Türkoğlu), who falls hopelessly in love with Fatih (Doğukan Güngör), a charming man from a religious family whose values clash with that of her mother.

Having tried and failed at the marriage thing, Kivilcim (Evrim Alasya), a single mother of two has always had bigger plans for her two daughters. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that her oldest daughter Doğa not only plans to marry a man from a devout family, but she is also expecting a child with him. Like her mother, Doğa is stubborn and goes through with the marriage despite her mother's many objections but having been raised "secular" all her life, she soon comes to learn, the hard way, the familial responsibilities that come along with cultural barriers.

The plot of Kızılcık Şerbeti isn't anything particularly new or groundbreaking, but with the glitz and glamour splattered all over TV all the time, we are unconsciously pre-programmed to lean more towards one side of a coin with two very distinct, yet equally valid sides. 

Bolstered by fine performances from its cast, the series gains ground in its approach to very real and complex issues by challenging audiences to set aside their own bias, assumptions, and prejudices surrounding hot-button topics like class, religion, secularism, and confront the societal stigmas and stereotypes placed against them.

Netflix's Turkish originals remain hit or miss but the streaming giant is yet to go wrong betting on works by Ay Yapım. 

From the mind of the incredible Meric AcemiKus Uçusu intricately explores the complex power dynamics, in the cooperate world through Gen X, who, for the most part, still hold decision-making positions, and Gen Z, the fast-rising generation.

In the series, We follow the story of the crow-like Asli (Miray Daner), who utilizes conniving and manipulative methods to reach the top instead of relying on the merits of hard work.

The intelligently crafted drama probes the ramifications of Asli's methods in the ever-changing cooperate world, leaving the viewer embattled with their own moral dilemmas. 

Kus Uçusu highlights a lot of parallels between what is right and what is wrong and in drawing on the strengths of its cast, the end product is a solid drama that packs just the right punch to please even those who are new to Turkish dramas.

Based on a book with the same title, Üç Kız Kardeş follows the story of three siblings who were raised by doting, overprotective parents. Türkan (Özgü Kaya), Dönüş (Almila Ada), and Derya's (Melisa Berberoğlu) fairytale-like upbringing left them unprepared to face the harsh realities of adulthood, and as they grow and come to their own, they come to discover that life and the choices that are accompanied by it are not as easy as they seem.

Sometimes all it takes to make a good dizi is a really awesome script and great actors, albeit big names. Set in the 90s, Üç Kız Kardeş takes the viewer on a journey back in time, brilliantly and convincingly juggling its characters' experiences along the way. 

There is heart at the series' core and with each episode served up with hard life lessons that are still very much applicable today, Üç Kız Kardeş is a must-watch for fans of old-fashioned Turkish dizis. 

If there's one thing to be said about Ay Yapım, it is that they are the true connoisseurs of the 'family drama' genre. 

Earlier in the year, the powerhouse production house launched Baba, which followed a large family's evolution from barely making ends meet to having more money than they knew what to do with.

For the longest time, the strict Emin Saruhanli held the title of patriarch of a crowded family living together in a small town in Izmir. Proud and as stubborn as they come, Emin ruled his family with an iron fist, so much so that he let his son get arrested for a matter that could have otherwise been handled within the family.

But despite his many years of asserting his dominance, the trappings of wealth and power radically transform the lives of his family members when Emin is named the head of the powerful Saruhanli Holding Company following the untimely death of his estranged brother.

It's often said that money is the root of all evil and Baba brilliantly utilizes each and every one of its characters in illuminating the true meaning of the phrase. With every generation properly represented, the series delivers an authentic and well-balanced look at the human condition, prompting the viewer into a game of self-reflection.

Mix in an impressive bit of storytelling with a all-star ensemble cast that includes the likes of IEmmy winner Haluk BilginerAyda Aksel, and Tolga Sarıtaş, and the result is a cinematic Turkish delight. 

Turkish romantic comedies tend to lean more towards the romantic side of things but Seversin breaks the mold with a script that's equal parts hilarious as it is romantic.

Burak Yörük stars as Tolga, a famous young actor at the top of his career but dissatisfied with his life, and İlayda Alişan as Asya, an ordinary girl with big dreams of making something out of herself. After a chance encounter, black and white collide with Aysa landing a role of a lifetime she couldn't be any less interested in, and Tolga, with a heavy price to pay for underestimating her. 

Anyone who isn't fluent in Turkish knows the struggle of trying to understand comedic scenes as most of the good stuff often gets lost in translation. In the case of Seversin, the fast-paced and witty dialogue supported by its cast's strong sense of comedic timing made for a truly enjoyable viewing experience. If you're looking to just sit back, relax, and have a good time, Seversin is just the show for you ama dikkat, the 20-episode series will definitely have you laughing out loud frequently.