3 Binge-Worthy Foreign-Language Shows on Netflix
The vast majority of viewers constantly look at America, a traditional supplier of high-quality TV shows, for the next big thing. It’s a complex web of circumstances that gives the US its leading position: on one hand, its networks have massive budgets to spend on content, on the other, they have some of the top IPs of our era to build on.
In the last decade, we’ve seen many shows emerge in North America and conquer the world. Just think of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, Westworld, or even the surprisingly popular Tiger King docuseries. But what about shows from other countries? Most of the time, these don’t get the attention they deserve because they either don’t have the budget or the originality to stand out of the crowd. There are, in turn, a few exceptions that blasted into the common knowledge recently, showing the world that there’s quality TV outside of the US, too.
La casa de papel (Money Heist)
Money Heist is a crime drama series created by Spanish television producer Álex Pina, the creative mind behind series like El Barco and Los hombres de Paco. The series tells the story of two heists led by the Professor, on the Royal Mint and the Bank of Spain, involving a series of collaborators, all named after cities. The series had two seasons broadcast by Spain’s Antena 3 network, and two more distributed by Netflix.
The fourth part of the series had its premiere this April on Netflix and jumped straight into the top, with a viewership of around 65 million (Tiger King has an estimated viewership of around 64 million).
The first German-language scripted original to make it to Netflix was “Dark”, a science fiction thriller some call the European “Stranger Things”. The story takes place in the German town of Winden and uncovers a sinister conspiracy among four estranged families that involves time travel, revealed in the aftermath of a child’s disappearance from the tow.
The series is often compared to David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” for its complexity and disregard for tropes and praised by critics and fans alike. And it is one of Netflix’s most successful foreign-language series to date, with a surprisingly high demand for it globally.
The third and final part of the series, involving “an apocalypse”, is set to be released this June.
If you are tired of global catastrophes and apocalyptic events always happening in the US (and usually leading to the destruction of the Statue of Liberty), The Rain might be a show you want to check out. This Danish post-apocalyptic series has a familiar premise with a twist: a viral infection that is carried by rainfall that wipes out most of the humans in Scandinavia.
The series follows Danish siblings Simone and Rasmus who emerge from an underground bunker six years after the event, searching for their father, a scientist, who left them in the bunker and disappeared.
While the show is not very original in its concepts and elements, it does bring a refreshing new perspective to the table, mixing drama, coming-of-age, and mystery into an addictive and deepening mashup.
The show has two full seasons on Netflix to date, with a third on its way – you can probably expect it to hit the screens this summer.