9 International TV Shows You Should Be Watching Right Now
STREAMING SERVICES HAVE MADE IT SO MUCH EASIER TO WATCH SHOWS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Streaming services and their vast libraries have made it easier than ever for viewers to check out shows from all of the world. You may already be on top of European reality shows like Love Island or the many Korean dramas hosted on Netflix, but there are too many international gems out there for anyone to possibly watch them all. If you're feeling overwhelmed for choice or simply want to broaden your viewing horizons for the first time, check out our list of nine international TV shows you should be watching right now.
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No one does crime drama better than the Brits, and one of the more recent and most compelling ones is The Capture, a BBC One drama you can stream on Peacock. The series, which premiered in 2019, is about a British soldier (Callum Turner) who was falsely convicted of a murder, and a detective (Holliday Grainger) who is working tirelessly to figure out what really happened.
There's a lot to keep up with in this thriller—maybe too much, as The Hollywood Reporter points out in their review of the first season. "It's a twisty journey that starts as a grounded exploration of the Panopticon-esque paranoia of the British surveillance state," the publication says. "That it eventually becomes something convoluted and vaguely silly is a disappointment, but the six hourlong episodes at least kept me curious throughout."
Now with two seasons in the bag, the series is as complicated and implausible as ever, but that doesn't mean it's not also chock full of conspiracy thrills and illicit romance.
Netflix has several Italian TV shows in its library, but one of the most fun to watch is Summertime, based on the wildly popular young adult book series by Federico Moccia. As Decider put it, "Summertime is like a refreshing lemonade on a hot day. It's goes down easy and doesn't weigh you down."
In the series, which premiered on the streaming service in April 2020, a young girl named Summer (Coco Rebecca Edogamhe) meets a "bad boy" on vacation on the Adriatic Coast. She falls for him instantly, and not just because she wants to hop on the back of his motorcycle and leave her small town to explore the world.
Summertime is basically The O.C. set in Southern Italy, which means that not only are there beautiful people doing beautiful things, but there's great scenery, too. The series has been renewed for a third and final season, though a premiere date for that last one hasn't been announced yet.
This award-winning French series created by George Kay (Criminal, Killing Eve) is inspired by the early 20th century literary character, Arsène Lupin, a thief and master of disguise. Lupin chronicles the adventures of another gentleman thief, Assane Diop, played by breakout star Omar Sy. Luckily, you don't have to have read the books and short stories to follow this contemporary version.
When the crime drama premiered on Netflix in 2021, RogerEbert.com called it the "first great show" of the year. "Lupin is as patient as it is smart, and its plot twists like melted railroad tracks. And yet the narrative train, through some tight savvy editing, always exits on the other side of the tunnel. But we're left wondering how it didn't skip its twisted tracks," the outlet gushed. New episodes are reportedly on the way.
Derry Girls is a smart and raucous comedy set in '90s Northern Ireland and based on creator Lisa McGee's teen years amid political unrest. While "the Troubles" continue to take place around them, a ragtag group of friends (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn, and Saoirse-Monica Jackson) cause trouble in their Catholic school, manage their parents expectations, and otherwise try to be normal teenagers in the most abnormal of cicumstances.
The comedy, which found a worldwide audience on Netflix, ended on a high with its third season last year. "Its success is no fluke: the show is a masterclass in hitting the sweet spot between decades-honed sitcom tradition and refreshing nowness. Its nostalgia is bright and cosy like a jazzy '90s jumper; its portrayal of young women as morally ambivalent and intrinsically comic human beings a cathartic, satisfying relief," The Guardian says. That, and the soundtrack is loaded with Take That and The Cranberries, which is another selling point.
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This French comedy, which premiered in 2019 on Netflix, is about a family who converts their struggling kosher deli into a marijuana coffee shop just as the country begins to legalize the substance. Hilarity obviously ensues as they attempt to bring their family business into the 21st century. Led by Jonathan Cohen, who's also one of the writers, Family Business also consists of three seasons, but they're just six episodes each. If you're looking for an easy, lighthearted binge, this one may be for you.
We've already shouted out the British for their excellent mysteries, but they're pretty synonymous with the comedy genre as well. In Hard Cell, comedian Catherine Tate plays a woman who leaves her event planning job to take over the management of a prison. The show is in the mockumentary style and involves Tate playing a band of hilarious and clueless characters.
The actor previously headlined her own sketch series, The Catherine Tate Show, and Hard Cell is in line with that type of humor. So your mileage may vary, depending on what makes you laugh. "Some of the material in Hard Cell will be a matter of taste—and with the gag rate as high as it is, a fair amount does inevitably land," The Guardian wrote in its review.
If you need a long, winding drama to get into, this Spanish period drama on Netflix has three seasons, comprised of over 20 episodes each. High Seas follows two sisters (Ivana Baquero, Alejandra Onieva) traveling from Spain to Brazil on a luxury ship in the '40s. As other passengers turn up murdered, they start to uncover a Pandora's box of family secrets. The series, which premiered in 2019, can veer into telenovela territory with over-the-top plots and characters, but that's also part of its charm.
Another part of its charm is the setting, time period, and production design. But it's the storyline that will keep you hooked. "The story plays out like one of those potboiler mysteries that Agatha Christie might have written in that time period; lots of colorful characters, all with an agenda and a motive, populate the ship, and mysteries abound," Decider notes.
Little Things is a popular Indian dramedy that started as 10-minute YouTube episodes. Now a Netflix series, it follows a sweet 20-something couple (Mithila Palkar, Dhruv Sehgal) navigating their romance and adulthood. It's been praised for its realism and not portraying love or being in a relationship as a simple, single-faceted thing. The Hindustan Times wrote in its review of Season 4, "This 'little' show limited itself to the huge task of sensitively, authentically showing the everyday tiny things that made love so beautiful." While that fourth season was its last, you can start the series assured that everything is tied up by the end.
Blood & Water
This South African show starts out as a mystery, with a teenager (Ama Qamata) investigating whether or not a popular swimmer (Khosi Ngema) is actually her long lost sister after they run into each other at a high school party. What follows is the unraveling of a wild web of family secrets, romances, and more. Decider wrote that Blood & Water "seems to be a pretty standard teen drama on the surface, but has elements to it that are certainly more germane to where its made than you first suspect." There are three seasons out now, all available on Netflix.