This will come as no surprise to action-series fans, but Israel has become a guarantee when it comes to adrenaline. The fact that the world discovered the talent that exists in the country for this type of series is primarily down to ‘Homeland’. The success of the American series, based on an Israeli series titled “Prisoners of War” (original title ‘Hatufim’), made many wonder if there might be other similar series of the same origin. Not only were there plenty where that came from, but there was also an experienced Israeli television industry, far from a novice in the export of television formats and content (one of the most remade series around the world is ‘BeTipul’, better known here for the American remake, ‘In Treatment’) showed them that they had a veritable goldmine on their hands. So while the creators of ‘Homeland’ and ‘Prisoners of War’ joined forces to jointly create another similar series, ‘Tyrant’, Israel saw the opportunity to export similar action series: fast-paced, with plots complete with espionage and a political component always at the service of adrenaline.

Niv Sultan in ‘Tehran’. Apple TV+.

In addition, the expansion of large platforms, more receptive to content from different countries, and viewers, also more willing to watch series from different origins, allowed Israeli shows to reach the public directly (not in the form of a remake). That’s how series such as ‘Hostages’, ‘False Flag’, ‘When Heroes Fly’, ‘The Spy’ and, of course, ‘Fauda’ came into being. The latter is perhaps the most successful of all, with its risqué stance on the Israeli-Palestine conflict (for an Israeli series, of course) and its fast-paced, camera-on-shoulder action scenes have provided high-voltage moments similar to those that, years ago, one could only experience watching Jack Bauer in ’24’. In fact, the head  screenwriter on ‘Fauda’ is the creator of the new series, ‘Tehran’, which dynamites the relationship between Israel and Iran (again, from a perspective conditioned by the country of origin). Released in summer on the public channel Kan 11, it has now begun its international distribution through Apple TV+, which with this acquisition has made one of its best signings since it was launched here in Spain.

Shaun Toub in ‘Tehran’. Apple TV+.

The series is not only the consolidation of Israel’s prestige in making this type of series, but the sublimation of a formula, uniting the complete set of elements that have worked in previous shows. Starting with a simple story, that of a Mossad hacker who’s mission involved travelling to Tehran to deactivate Iran’s air defense system and thus facilitate an attack from Israel, the series immerses us in a story of constant twists and turns that doesn’t let you catch your breath for a second, together with a network of characters that go far beyond the star, played by actress Niv Sultan. The cast includes names that are mostly unknown outside of Israel, but fans of ‘Homeland’ will recognize a few faces, including Shaun Toub, who in the American series played Majid Javadi, or American of Iranian origin Navid Negahban, who played Abu Nazir. These are not mere coincidences. Those behind ‘Tehran’ are in no doubt that ‘Homeland’ continues to be the model of success to imitate, above all others, and that any detail that serves to associate the series with North American success will be positive for them. Now that the Claire Danes series has come to an end and its followers have been orphaned by a series that gives them the dose of international action and politics they need, ‘Tehran’ takes center stage as a highly commended heir to the throne.

Toni de la Torre. Critic of television series. He works in ‘El Món a RAC1’, El Temps, Què fem, Ara Criatures, Sàpiens and Web Crític. He has written several pounds on television series. Professor at the school to Showrunners BCN and likes to lecture on series. Highlights the Premi Bloc de Catalunya 2014.