The Best Foreign TV Shows on Netflix
Get over the subtitles and tune into these international gems.
The advent of streaming video has drastically changed the in-home viewing experience from what it was just a few years ago; bingeing your favorite movies and TV shows on whatever device you want isn't just possible—it's the norm. One of the ways the new television era has changed is by making available foreign-language TV shows that previously wouldn't have crossed borders, let alone language barriers. Netflix, on a mission to appeal to global audiences, boasts a huge collection of foreign shows that you may be overlooking. (If you're specifically looking for good anime on Netflix, that's a whole different list.) You'll want to try one of these titles the next time you wonder, "What should I watch?"
Atelier (Japan)The Japanese drama, Atelier, can best be compared to The Devil Wears Prada—complete with the Anna Wintour business matriarch type and her ambitious mentee—stripped of the meanness and petty cruelty stereotypically depicted in the fashion world and replaced with an earnest drive to work really hard and succeed within reason. Revolving around in the day-to-day of a lingerie store called Emotion, the series is marked by corny soap-operatic moments—and that quality is exactly what makes Atelier so delightfully goofy.
In Denmark, parliament is known as "The Castle," or Borgen. It's where this political drama takes place—and it's just as watchable as West Wing (without the lighthearted leaning and Aaron Sorkin banter) and thrilling as House of Cards (following the behind-the-scenes deals made in the government) but more realistic. The series begins on a shocking election night, with the first-ever woman Prime Minister, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), coming into power, and later documents her reign wrestling with various political issues, idealism, and her waning personal life. The political intrigue from issues pressuring parliament will grip you, but the real brilliancy here is in the complex characters (including a spin doctor played by Game of Thrones' Pilou Asbæk). It's never been a more perfect time to watch the series, too, as an all-new season co-produced by Netflix is coming sometime in 2022.