by Paola Cesarini
The 2013-15 Turkish series "Medcezir" is one of those rare cases in which the adaptation surpasses the original. Loosely based on 2003-07 American TV show "The O.C.", it is a stunning production boasting an all-star, outstanding cast; an excellent script; and a simply amazing soundtrack by none other than the incomparable Toygar Işıklı. "Medcezir" became the fifth most successful TV series of all time in terms of net sales in Turkey, and consolidated Çağatay Ulusoy's status as a cinematic youth icon.
In the first episode, "Medcezir" closely follows the original. Successful lawyer Selim Serez comes to the rescue of Yaman Koper, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, when the latter gets into trouble on account of his wayward brother's shenanigans. Although he 'grew up in the mud', Yaman is smart, charismatic, honest, honorable and always true to his values.
Recognizing himself in the boy, Selim convinces his wife Ender to take Yaman into the family and, as a result, their seemingly perfect world is turned upside down. Soon, it becomes abundantly clear that it is the well-to-do community of Altinkoy that derives greater benefit from Yaman's inclusion, rather than the other way around.
A few episodes into the series, "Medcezir's" plot diverges substantially from "The O.C." in a direction meant to attract an older audience. The love story between the two gorgeous protagonists -- Mira and Yaman -- is much less adolescent-like, and at the same time more romantic and tasteful than Marissa and Ryan's teenage tryst. Indeed, "Medcezir's" protagonists are college students, rather than high-schoolers as in "The O.C." Moreover, in the Turkish series, the grown-ups are not empty caricatures, but strong characters with their own independent and interesting story lines. Most relevantly, "Medcezir" seriously confronts the social and cultural issues that "The O.C." only superficially touches upon. And finally, the American show's indie-rock soundtrack is replaced with outstanding Turkish musical performances by "Medcezir's" talented protagonists themselves.
Overall, three factors contribute to "Medcezir's" success. First, the intelligently revised script and heartfelt interpretations elevate this show way above the teen genre. For this reason, the series and the two main leads won numerous awards -- including the coveted Golden Butterfly Award for Best Actor. Second, "Medcezir" owes a great deal to the remarkable chemistry between the two young protagonists. Both gorgeous, skillful, and musically talented actors, Çağatay Ulusoy and Serenay Sarıkaya transform a shallow adolescent drama into a heart-warming and mature love story that viewers keep going back to, again and again. In comparison, the two young leads in "The O.C." appear juvenile, superficial and frankly miscast. And third, the perhaps more conservative approach of the Turkish series, which de-emphasizes sex and drugs in favor of cultural and class tensions, allows for a more substantive story line. In conclusion, those who have seen "The O.C." will surely enjoy "Medcezir's" new and improved version of the show. And those who have not are in for a treat.
On Friday April 17, StarTV is starting reruns of Medcezir, an internationally award winning romantic drama led by the talented young actors Cagatay Ulusoy and Serenay Sarikaya. Loosely based on Fox Network’s The O.C., Medcezir is a stylish, modern series that deviated significantly from the original, giving it a life and rhythm of its own.
Yaman (Cagatay Ulusoy) is a boy who was born on the wrong side of the tracks with one hand always on the door, having never learnt the true meaning of love. After he’s adopted by the Serez family and welcomed into the wealthy enclave of fictitious Altinkoy, Yaman becomes the anchor that pulls a core group of friends together. Mira Beylice (Serenay Sarikaya) falls in love with the handsome Yaman, while Mert Serez (Taner Olmez) finds love with his childhood crush and Mira’s best friend, Eylul (Hazar Erguclu). What might seem like a light teen romance is masterfully transformed under the talented producers of Medcezir, which captures many adult themes concerning loyalty, love, acceptance, ambition and integrity.
Originally on air 2013 - 2015 with a stunning production featuring an all-star cast, airtight script from a team led by Ece Yorenc, and an astounding soundtrack from Toygar Isikli (here), Medcezir became the 5th most successful Turkish TV series in terms of net sales. In addition, Cagatay and Serenay revealed their formidable musical talents by lending their voices for many of the songs on the show. We also see many young stars in the show who have gone on to make a bigger name for themselves since such as Aybuke Pusat, Ozge Gurel, Miray Daner and more.
Check out the extended trailer for the show below and find out more about Cagatay Ulusoy on any of the social platforms for Cagatay Ulusoy North America. Medcezir will air on StarTV on Fridays at 8 pm Turkish time.