Do you like to binge watch television shows online or through NetFlix, Amazon or Hulu? Many of these online sources include mostly American, and some British and Canadian, series. But did you know there is a whole world of great television shows you might be missing? And some you can watch for free online!
During the last decade or so of traveling, I have enjoyed spending at least a couple of hours checking out some of the best television shows in countries I was visiting at the time. And when I returned home, I found other shows that I may have missed that are also top-notch productions. So yes, we are little a spoiled in America thanks to Hollywood and our huge media companies. However, not all great original television shows are American!
I would like to share 10 of the best television shows that you need to watch from around the globe:
1. “Orphan Black” — From Canada and the U.K., this critically-acclaimed series tells the story of rebellious orphan Sarah. When she witnesses the suicide of a woman, things take a crazy turn. Tatiana Maslany is brilliant in the role of Sarah and portraying several other characters (without giving too much away). Maslany has picked up Golden Globes and Emmy nominations for her acting in the series that originally debuted on Bell Media Canada and BBC3. You can watch it now on Amazon as well as BBC America and CTV in Canada.
2. “Isabel” — This spectacular historical series is only available in Spanish, but it tells the story of Queen Isabel, portrayed poignantly by the talented Michelle Jenner. Directed by Jordi Frades and produced for Spain’s TVE (Televisión Española) the entire 39-episode series is available to watch free online.
3. “Hatufim” (“Prisoners of War”) — If you have seen the popular American series “Homeland,” then this Israeli show might seem familiar. This is the original show that took the Israel TV audience by storm by telling the story of soldiers who come home heroes after spending almost 20 years in enemy hands. But not everything is as it seems. Available on Hulu.
4. “Black Mirror” — Almost like “The Twilight Zone,” this British sci-fi show has a different cast each episode which focuses on how new technology could ruin humanity. This popular show debuted on U.K.’s Channel 4 and is now available on NetFlix.
5. “Thicker Than Water” (“Tjockare än vatten”) — This drama from Sweden’s SVT (Sveriges Television) presents the story of a mother attempting to reunite her three adult children by forcing them to confront the dark family secrets that are buried in their past. The show takes place on the beautiful Swedish island of Sunnanö and begins with a surprise. Watch on U.K.’s Channel 4.
6. “Prófugos” (“Fugitives”) — This Chilean series is one of the best I have seen in South America and was the first HBO Latinoamérica series filmed in Chile. It reminds me a little of “Breaking Bad” but tells the story of four fugitives transporting liquid cocaine throughout the Chilean and Bolivian border as they are pursued by police and other rival drug dealers.
7. ”The Straits” — This Australian series, which debuted on Australia’s ABC1, features Brian Cox as the head of a family of drug smugglers operating out of Australia’s Torres Strait Islands. A family power struggle breaks out when he plans his successor, so the show reminds me a little of “The Sopranos.” You can watch it now on Hulu.
8. “Deutschland 83” (“Germany 83”) — Maybe my favorite show, this German series debuted on SundanceTV in the United States (with subtitles), making it the first German-language series to air on a U.S. channel. It tells the story of a 24-year-old East Germany native who is sent to the West as an undercover spy for the GDR’s Stasi. Better yet, a new season is said to be coming out set in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down! Also available to watch on Channel 4 in the U.K.
9. “Magnifca 70” — This Brazilian show is both sexy and brilliant at the same, and reminds me a little of “Boogie Nights” but with the darker side of Netflix’s “Narcos.” It’s directed by Cláudio Torres, and takes you back to a time during the 70s in a São Paulo neighborhood where some movie studios made “pornochanchadas” — dirty movies during the censorship of the brutal Brazilian military dictatorship. It is dark but enthralling.
10. “Les Hommes de l’ombre” (“The Shadow Men” or known as “Spin”) — This French political television drama is absolutely electrifying. In the series, the president of France, visits a striking factory in Saint-Étienne and is killed in a suicide attack. The Prime Minister, Philip Deleuvre (portrayed by Philippe Magnan), decides to run in the new election in 35 days, but it seems he knows more than he claims. Enter Simon Kapita (portrayed by Bruno Wolkowitch), a former PR man for the late president, who decides to find a way to beat Deleuvre. Watch online on France’s Channel 2.
There are countless other good television shows out there. All you need is a streaming device, an internet connection and, in some cases, a subscription. Happy viewing!