Top 15 Series for Turkish Dizi Newcomers
Turkish Series, or Dizis as they are called, is a fabric of varied human experiences, soaked in Turkish cultural dye, patterned with Turkish storytelling blocks, spangled with intertwining genres and tailored in global filmmaking finesse. Second only to the US in terms of top global TV show exporters, the Turkish entertainment industry has established itself as a standout genre in its own right.
If you are new to the world of Turkish TV series, you are in the right place 'cause we have curated our Top 15 Turkish shows/Dizis for Dizi Newcomers just for YOU! You name it, Romance, Comedy, Action, Drama, Medical Drama, Family Drama, Superhero Fantasy, Historical Drama, Adventure Drama, Military Drama, Remakes, Adaptations…, we’ve got them all sorted to cater to your personal taste. So, why delay? Pick your favourite genre and/or show; pour some hot cup of Turkish Çay or Coffee and kick start your Turkish Dizi adventure with us!
Allow us sketch this exactly how Mr. Ömer İplikçi (Barış Arduç) and Ms. Defne Topal (Elcin Sangu) would do! A rich, hot, workaholic ladies’ shoe designer boss- check! A beautiful, simple, middle-class waitress who is forced to work as the rich boss’ personal assistant- check! An annoying aunt- check! A seemingly stupid game set up by the annoying aunt to get the boss to marry his assistant – check! A gang of loyal friends- check! A bunch of pesky busybodies- check! Comic situations, timings, characters, and dialogues-check! Laugh-out-loud comedy and ooo-did-it-suddenly-just-get-so-hot-in-here chemistry- check! Absorbing script and charismatic direction- check! Aesthetically gorgeous locations and production- check! Oh, and some melodious, upbeat and exhilarating musical score- check! Sahane! (Well, Sahane! means Harika! oops, we mean, fantastic! Yeah, don’t be surprised if you end up responding or expressing in Turkish to your family and friends once you start this series. We do it every single time!) So, what are you waiting for? Grab that cup of hot Cay and treat yourself with this charming, much-loved cult-classic Romantic Comedy by Ortaks Yapim. Warning: extremely addictive!
It’s black. It’s infinite. It’s complicated. It’s intense. It’s gripping. It’s wrenching. It’s cathartic. It’s original. It’s the first and only Turkish dizi to win the International Emmy Awards for the Best Telenovela. Kemal Soydere (Burak Özçivit), an engineering student from a middle-class family and Nihan Sezin (Neslihan Atagül), an artist belonging to a wealthy business family, falls in love. But on the special date night that Kemal arranges, Nihan refuses the proposal and marries her childhood friend and business tycoon Emir Kozcuoğlu (Kaan Urgancıoğlu). Kemal leaves the town and returns after five years to negotiate a business deal with Emir’s company. Is he back for revenge? What is Nihan’s reason for rejecting Kemal? Will Nihan cheat on Emir? Will Kemal treat Nihan with love or as an enemy? How will Emir take all this? What will happen when Kemal, Nihan, Emir, and their families fall into a web of complications, conspiracies, and fate? With protagonists who may immensely exhaust you at times and with antagonists who may evoke your deepest sympathy, this masterpiece by Ay Yapim is a sensitive and powerful depiction of the complexities of situations and human emotions, especially love and its many faces.
What are the chances of a sane person with common sense, raised by a struggling single mother, being trained to become a police officer, joining the criminal gang that caused his own father’s death? Well, Sarp Yilmaz (Çağatay Ulusoy) does just that. And, what are the chances of a kidnapped child, raised by a criminal gang-leader, trains to become a police officer to destroy the very gang that raised him? Well, Officer Mert Karadağ (Aras Bulut Iynemli) does exactly that. Also, what are the chances of gangster Sarp and officer Mert end-up working both for and against each other in their individual quest for personal revenge on the various people that made their life miserable and destroyed members of their families they aren't sure still exist or not? Well, that’s precisely what İçerde is all about. Filled with action, drama, revenge, romance, and deep, emotional loyalty to one’s family, Icerde is a complete package oozing brilliance at every level. With a riveting plot, clever direction by Uluç Bayraktar, convincing, eclectic, nuanced performance by artists of the likes of veteran Çetin Tekindor (who plays the leading antagonist), and a captivating musical score composed by one of Turkey’s music maestro Toygar Işıklı, İçerde showcase everything that makes Turkish dizis standout on the global stage.
“Writer? Girl, you better find a proper job or agree for an arranged marriage!” Yup, you don’t wanna mess with this badass momma but run straight to your sister to somehow find a way to work in the advertising company that she works at! That’s exactly what our smart, crazy, troublesome daydreamer and DIY perfume maker Sanem Aydin (Demet Özdemir) does. And as any romantic comedy goes, at her work Sanem falls for her hot, free-spirited, wanderlust, and photographer boss Can Divit (Can Yaman). But, Sanem has a secret that Can may not be very happy with. With a cool bunch of quirky and funny characters sprinkling the entire show with so much energy, love, and laughter, we would say this is hands down one of the funniest recent series that fits and fulfills the romantic comedy category flawlessly at every level. If you are a F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan and/or enjoyed watching She’s The Man, you wouldn’t want to miss this hilarious series by Gold Film with Turkish twists that managed to spread joy and glee like wildfire across the globe; especially the impeccable comic, electric performances of Demet Özdemir, Can Yaman, Özlem Tokaslan (Mevkibe), Tuğçe Kumral (Deren) and Anil Çelik (Cey Cey).
When destiny topples dreams, history is made. If any place on earth knows this adage better, it’s Istanbul. A grand tapestry weaved of myriad tales, Istanbul, behind her regal robe of resilience wears armour of unapologetic ardency. So, when Hakan (Çağatay Ulusoy) warns “Bu masal değil” (this is a not a fairy tale), you instantly know it’s the voice of Istanbul echoing through him setting the backdrop for a twister roller coaster storytelling. Based on Nilüfer İpek Gökdel’s novel Karakalem ve Bir Delikanlının Tuhaf Hikayesi, with a screenplay plot meticulously crafted by a team of insightful writers, directed intelligently by award-winning directors (Umut Aral; Gönenç Uyanık; Can Evrenol; Burcu Alptekin; Gökhan Tiryaki) and portrayed by some of Turkey’s finest artists, The Protector proves itself worthy of being the first Turkish Netflix Original Series. On discovering his ties to an ancient secret order, Hakan Demir, a young, enthusiastic, street-smart souvenir shopkeeper living in modern Istanbul, is thrown into an engaging epic adventure duty of saving the city as its last protector from an immortal enemy. First of its kind, The Protector is also a breakthrough series in launching the superhero fantasy genre in the Turkish filmmaking industry.
Aşk-ı Memnu is one of Turkey’s most viewed; most globally distributed and most loved record-breaking romantic drama series by Ay Yapim. Set in contemporary Istanbul instead of the late 19th-century, it is an adaptation of Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil's 1899 novel of the same title. Adnan Ziyagil (Selçuk Yöntem) lives in one of the most prominent mansions along the Bosporus in Istanbul with his two children Nihal (Hazal Kaya) and Bulent (Batuhan Karackaya), a relative's son Behlül Haznedar (Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ), and his children's nanny Ms. Deniz De Courton (Zerrin Tekindor). A widower for eleven years, Adnan meets Bihter Yöreoğlu (Beren Saat), stunning beauty and the daughter of a widow and socialite lady Firdevs Yöreoğlu (Nebahat Çehre), who fancies Adnan. He falls in love with the much younger Bihter and marries her with her consent. With the families already in a net of losses of many kinds, things take a dark turn as Bihter and Behlul fall passionately in love with each other. How will their secret affair affect other members of the family? With a gripping plot that exposes the passion of each character for things forbidden, Aşk-ı Memnu will provoke one to think deeply about passions and its complex and, sometimes, damaging effect on people and relationships. You will witness some of Turkey’s finest artists deliver their best performance in this series.
Hearts and brains dissecting and healing each other- that’s what this pleasant, unpretentious, romantic series is all about. A stubborn, tough, intelligent yet problematic girl Eylul Erdem (Öykü Karayel) and her intelligent, professional, practical yet sweet-tempered school teacher Ali Asaf Denizoglu (Gökhan Alkan) meet after a few years at the same hospital as co-Brain surgeons. An official remake of the South Korean medical drama series Good Doctor (Logos Films), Kalp Atışı stays true to the original plot and storyline, painting it in Turkish cultural canvas. The natural, stunning, mature chemistry of Öykü and Gökhan, the unconventional depiction of its lead characters and the cult-classic perfect portrayal of Ali Asaf by Gökhan Alkan make this a standout series in its own right. If you love Gray’s Anatomy, you will definitely appreciate this Turkish dizi delight.
We are all familiar with Alexandre Dumas' 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo, aren’t we? Well, this Turkish crime drama series, directed by the award-winning Uluç Bayraktar, is a loose adaptation of Dumas’ masterpiece. Omer Ucar (Ismail Filiz) is betrayed by his best friends Ali (Barış Falay) and Cengiz (Yiğit Özşener) and his girlfriend Eysan (Cansu Dere) by accusing him of committing a crime he never did. After fleeing from the prison where he was tortured for years, Omer returns as Ezel Bayraktar (Kenan İmirzalıoğlu) to get his revenge. With an exceptionally competent ensemble cast portraying a first-rate story and a gripping musical score composed by the very talented Toygar Işıklı, Ezel by Ay Yapim will keep you on the edge of your seat from the get-go.
Nicknamed as the Turkish ‘Game of Thrones’, this historical fiction and adventure drama by Tekden Film, set in the 13th century, revolves around the life of Ertuğrul Gazi (Engin Altan Duzyatan), the father of Osman I, the founder of the once-powerful Ottoman Empire. Created by Mehmet Bozdağ and directed by Metin Gunay, this epic adventure historical series is breaking records in many countries around the world. Visually, this series is a magnificent spectacle transporting us all into the 13th-century world of warriors, horses, copper, and other metallic accessories. The plethora of talents and production value this series showcases will stun anyone who is hitherto ignorant of the Turkish filmmaking industry and its enormity.
The lead actor of this well-crafted, engrossing series was nominated for the International Emmy Awards in the Best Actor category. Yes, we are talking about the versatile Engin Akyürek and now you know what powerhouse performance you are signing up to watch! Omer Demir (Engin Akyürek) is an idealist police officer, who even postponed his engagement to accomplish his latest assignment. Elif Denizer (Tuba Büyüküstun) is a wealthy jewelry designer based in Rome, Italy. Their lives cross paths when Omer’s fiancé (Selin Ortaçlı) and Elif’s father (Aytaç Arman) are found murdered in the same car in Istanbul. Sensing very suspicious, larger yet delicate, even mysterious mafia connections, Omer and Elif have no other option than to work together to solve the puzzle. But, with each step, they find themselves and everyone related to them caught up in a vast, dangerous, confusing, and tricky maze. Can love blossom amidst the dense thorns of black money? Or, will fear crush the delicate rose of love? With an incomparable veteran actor, Erkan Can play the lead antagonist Tayyar Dundar, you wouldn’t want to miss this action, mystery, romance drama by Ay Yapim.
The O.C. goes Turkish. Faithful to the original, Ryan Atwood becomes Yaman Koper (Çağatay Ulusoy) and Marissa Cooper becomes Mira Beylice (Serenay Sarikaya). Yaman and his brother Kenan get arrested as Kenan steals a car from a gas station. That night Yaman’s life takes a sharp turn when his rich lawyer Selim Serez (Barış Falay) offers to help him build a promising future. Yaman’s mother closes the door of his Tozludere house to him, forcing Yaman to accept Selim’s offer. The story records the journey of Yaman who now lives in the rich upper-class neighbourhood of Altinkoy with his new foster family. The burden of his past starts to pose a challenge for Yaman as he is constantly attacked by his rich neighbour and girlfriend Mira’s ex-boyfriend Orkun Civanoğlu (Metin Akdulger), who unites with Yaman’s step-father Hasan (Cenk Kangöz) to make Yaman’s life miserable. This refreshing gem of a teen drama remake by Ay Yapim is a delight to watch; especially the bond among Yaman, Mira, Mert (Taner Ölmez) and Eylul (Hazar Ergüçlü) is friendship goal at its sweetest.
Turkish people’s patriotism and their love and respect for their military are well-known and widely appreciated fact. This intense, action-filled drama series centers on military personals and their consistent commitment to willfully sacrifice their lives for the sake of the country. Highly-skilled Squad commander Senior Lieutenant Yavuz Karasu (Tolga Saritas) is with his fiancé Merve (Su Kutlu) in Istanbul when a terrorist attack takes place there. At the hospital, Dr. Bahar (Aybüke Pusat) tries to save the wounded Merve but in vain. Following this, Yavuz goes back to Karabayir and Dr. Bahar follows to give him something that belongs to Merve. Meanwhile, Yavuz gets chosen as the team commander whose mission is to find and capture a terrorist thereby protecting Karabayir and the country. Yavuz and the team go about this task and that makes the rest of the story of Söz. Emotionally gripping, this powerful yet tender story of love and selfless sacrifice will have any viewer say prayers and feel grateful for the frontline warriors that risk their lives and families to keep us safe. Tolga Saritas is another dynamo Turkish actor who was also nominated for his role in this series as Yavuz Karasu in the Best Actor category for the International Emmy Awards. The depth of understanding of the professional and personal functioning of military personals and of the military operations that actors need to pull off such tough and delicate characters is immense. To our delight, the entire cast of Söz delivers spot-on.
A strong and good-hearted surgeon Asli Çınar’s (Birce Akalay) simple decision to go on-site to treat a road accident victim brings her face-to-face with a cold-blooded killer Ferhat Aslan (İbrahim Çelikkol). The killer’s uncle Namık Emirhan (Muhammet Uzuner) orders him to kill her but he decides to forcefully get her married to him once he learns that her brother is a police officer. Also, Asli retelling anything she saw or felt that day to anyone would expose and end the secret dealings of the Aslan family. A perfect blend of romance and drama, this series has a luring power to pull the viewer into its captivating world, making the situational realities and emotional struggles felt and lived by each character palpable. Ibrahim’s and Birce’s sizzling chemistry and top-notch acting will keep any viewer emotionally involved in their personal and romantic journey. With a surprising and sensitive storyline and interesting plot developments, Siyah Beyaz Aşk by D Productions continues to be one of the most loved, watched, and recommended romantic drama from Turkey.
Two polar opposite families get involved in each other’s life when the son of one family is forced to call the daughter of the other for a rescheduled photoshoot. But are things really so as it seems?
Fazilet Camkiran (Nazan Kesal) and her two daughters, Hazan (Deniz Baysal) and Ece (Afra Saraçoglu) live in a modest neighbourhood. Persistent on her dream to become successful and rich one day, Fazilet uses the beauty and modeling skills of Ece even to the point of neglecting her education to appear for auditions. Hazan, who detests this attitude, hides her beauty by wearing tomboyish clothes and works as a sports coach/ gym instructor.
Businessman Hazim Egemen (Mahir Günsiray) and his wife lead a happy, wealthy life in a mansion along Bosporus. They have three sons and one daughter: Gökhan (Tolga Güleç), Yagiz (Caglar Ertugrul), their most favourite child who is very successful, understanding, trustworthy and mature and works at their family business; Sinan (Alp Navruz), the youngest, who continues to be a care-free womanizer despite being engaged; and Selin (Ecem Baltaci).
With a very plausible modern-day story and a believable, likable, and skilled ensemble cast, Fazilet Hanim ve Kizlari by Avşar Film explores lives and actions that are motivated by lies, deceit, greed, self-benefits and individual definitions of love.
This heartbreaking yet hopeful classic by Ay Yapim, based on Vedat Türkali's scenario of the same name, revolves around the highly sensitive issue of a horrific violation of the innocence of a young girl by gang-rape, corrupt covering up of the truth, forceful marriage to an accused rapist, the victim’s relentless fight for justice, healing through forgiveness and the related emotional and mental struggles. Fatmagül Ketenci (Beren Saat), a young girl from a lower-class family is gang-raped by four drunk and drugged boys. Using their rich fathers’ money-power the truth is distorted and covered-up by three of the boys, forcing the fourth boy Kerim Ilgaz (Engin Akyürek) to take the blame and forcefully get married to Fatmagül. With guilt, anger, and hatred brewing in their hearts, Kerim and Fatmagül face further painful circumstances which even cause them to leave their hometown. The rest of this drama series is set in Istanbul where Kerim and Fatmagül face each other and the others who destroyed their lives. With sensitive, tender and powerful performances by the entire cast coupled with a riveting screenplay written by Ece Yörenç and Melek Gençoğlu and stirring score composition by Toygar Işıklı, this series is an absolute must-watch.