Mesudarim: Best TV Show You’ll Never See

I’m way behind, but I just got done catching up on season 2 of Mesudarim from the Israeli Channel 2 Keshet network. What an amazing show – with a great opening:

Mesudarim which roughly translates to “hooked up / set for life ” is a show that in many ways is similar to HBO’s Entourage, but centered around an Israeli tech company that has a “big exit”, and focuses on what-happens-next. Mesudarim is supper funny, really well written, and even has political and social commentary weaved in just a bit.  To top it off, Jeff Pulver even had a camaeo as Steve Balmer in one of the last episodes of the 2nd season.

So why is it the “best TV show you’ll never seen” ? Simple, like all top Israeli shows, and really any top shows outside the US, the only way it seems to garner a larger international audience is by getting an option deal and getting remade in english, like “In Treatment” on HBO which is based on another popular Israeli show “BeTipul”.

While that model is fine, it amazes me that this tiny country puts out some of the best music, TV shows, and movies, but the content itself is often not seen or consumed by people outside of Israel.  Mesudarim should be a big international hit at this point.  A few simple suggestions to address this:

1) why not start with simple subtitles (maybe even crowd source with a tool like dotsub) and VOD options for those living outside of Israel ?  I know there is a bit of a VOD service for this show, but my guess is that it’s hard to access for most english speakers.  And a personal request, that Ouriel and I have been chatting about for 2 years – please make the site works in multiple browsers and platforms, not just Windows/IE.

2) Make all these shows available on iTunes – lots of people would pay for ad-free shows.

3) Build an app for Boxee for top shows

4) Build a Hulu for Israel.  Between Eretz Nehedert, Polishook, etc (and all the realty shows) there is plenty of content to consume – and with subtitles I think it would find an audience.

So what do people think ?  Any chance of this happening ?

Here is a promotional clip for season 2, and lots more clips on YouTube — can’t wait for season 3.

23 thoughts on “Mesudarim: Best TV Show You’ll Never See

  1. I totally agree with you Raanan. There is amazing content in israel. What struck me when i first came in Israel was the music. I discovered here stunning Israeli music i never heard in France. I was convinced that the only Israeli music was Oriental music…

    Lately Israel is getting better and better at producing content (Waltz with Bashir is just a symptom of more to come). I think the content industry is not built for export. Both in terms of business process and technology.

    hopefully this will change soon….

  2. @Ouriel — exactly, it’s both a tech and business challenge. But given the tech savvy and very export oriented web culture, you’d think some of these challenges would have been tackled already.

  3. Hi Raanan, these are really great suggestions. But you need to consider two more things. First, as far as I know, Mesudarim was bought for re-production in the US by HBO. As you’ve said the show is really weaved into Israeli culture, so it may need some adaptation for US audience.
    The second thing is that you need to remember that Israelis still can’t buy TV shows and songs from iTunes today. That is because of broadcasting rights. The big US TV networks, like Keshet in Israel, still thinks in “local” terms instead of global terms. And I think this will change in the end, like the music industry had changed.

  4. aryevi says:

    Subtitles in english for israeli tv shows sounds interesting. but it has to bloom first in the open society forums: P2P downloads are pretty common in the country – i know open society teams for the russian community are booming..so why not translating to english as well? i guess it needs a self-initiative to do so

  5. As much as having all of these options available to those of us in “chool” would be great, I think there is still so much of a culture embedded in the humor of Israeli satire/sketch comedy like “Eretz Nehederet” and “Ketzarim” etc. that non-Israelis just wouldn’t “get it” and may think that making fun of a suicide bomber or an MIA soldier was “wrong” or “offensive.” Things that SNL here in the US could never do, Eretz Nehederet would have done in a heartbeat! Which is great! 🙂

  6. As far as I know, the only big cross over hit to HBO from Israel is the Gabriel Byrne driven show In Treatment based on Hagai Levi’s TV series BeTipul. If this is any indication of the content, Im all in. And does Ofra Haza count as a cross over artist or is that too old school by now?

      • re: O Haza, ive had this longstanding question regarding her last name. Maybe you can help resolve this. In yiddish, you have the phrase pfizzin like a haza (sweating like a pig). Now does haza equate to Ofra’s last name in any way? Whats the etymological implications?

  7. Carole Weinstein says:

    Didn’t she die about 7 years ago? I believe her background was Temani. At least that was the image she portrayed on one of her album covers. Was she cross-over in the U.S. or just Europe? I don’t know if she ever became well known here in the U.S.

  8. Simon Weinert says:

    You can buy the first two seasons on DVD here: http://www.israel-catalog.com/product.asp?Product=13773

    They have english subtitles, but you need a codefree player, because of this stupid PAL-region-code-thing. If you or a friend of yours happen to travel ro Israel these days, you can buy them there for only 100 NIS.

    The show can easily compete with HBO-stuff like Entourage. One of the best episodes is, when Tomer Levy enters the Westbank in search of his stolen car. What a laugh! I hope that they pick it up for a third series.

      • Simon Weinert says:

        Since my hebrew isn’t fluent (:)) and I extremely enjoyed the exact-same DVD-Edition, I can garantee you, that it comes with english subtitles. The homepage I showed you unfortunately lacks specific information about subtitles and stuff like that. But you can count on my word. Enjoy!

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