If you live in one of the 150 million households with a Netflix streaming account, you’re probably a little overwhelmed by the number of movies and programs available. I’ve got some interesting suggestions based on my own viewing habits for five shows from non-English speaking countries.
These shows might be dubbed or might feature subtitles. I don’t mind subtitles, though I know they are a deal-breaker for some folks. I prefer to leave things in the original language so I can hear the emotion in the actors’ voices. But if you’re willing to venture out and try something new, check out these suggestions:
Ultraviolet – This procedural comes from Poland, but it has an amazing backstory. It was created by American TV producer Wendy West, who was inspired by events surrounding the real-life murder of her brother. Through that experience, she learned about a group of amateur crime-solvers who tackle cold cases. Sounds like a good idea for a TV show, right? West thought so, but no American networks were buying. She ended up taking the idea to Poland where it was turned into this great series about an Uber driver who stumbles across a mysterious death and works to unravel the mystery with a band of amateur sleuths and a handsome policeman. The characters are pretty much what you’d expect to see in a typical police procedural, but the Polish locations give everything a fresh look. Rating: TVMA
Designated Survivor: 60 Days — This South-Korean show is very much like the ABC show of the same name starring Keifer Sutherland. A low-level member of the cabinet is elevated to President after a terrorist attack wipes out everyone above him in the government. Since South Korea’s laws call for a special election within 60 days in an event like this, there’s a time limit on the new President’s time in office and complicated political decision to make about whether or not he wants to stand for election. Like the American version, there are lots of political twists and turns and some pulse-pounding action. Rating TV14
Money Heist — This thriller comes to us from Spain. It tells the story of a complicated plot to steal a literal mint full of money. There are lots of flashbacks that slowly reveal the pasts of both the cops and the robbers involved in this caper and the lines between good and bad guys start to blur. This show is available in dubbed in English for those who don’t care to read subtitles. Rating TVMA
Bordertown — This Finnish show is both a personal and procedural drama set on the border between Russia and Finland. It focuses on the complicated personal life of a police detective and his partner, a Russian immigrant. Personal and police drama often intersect in over-reaching story arcs. This show isn’t afraid to take its time revealing the mystery. The beautiful Finnish landscape is as much a treat for the eyes and the twisted mysteries are a treat for the mind. Rating TVMA
The Missing Menu — An offbeat show from Malaysia that’s part drama, part comedy, and part-cooking. This show focuses on a hard-working mother who wants nothing more than for her four adult children to come home for dinner once a week. It intermixes delicious recipes with stories about food, family, and the complications of modern life. I’ve never really seen anything like it and I can’t seem to take my eyes off it. Be prepared for hunger pangs after watching the food scenes. Rating TVPG
All of these show can be found on the Netflix streaming service available to watch whenever you want. Netflix plans start at $9.99 per month. First-time users can take advantage of a 30-day free trial.