With many smaller arthouse theaters shuttering across the country, Netflix has emerged as one of the best places to catch foreign-language films, such as three-time Oscar winner Roma. But did you know that it's also home to a number of award-winning international television series? From chilly Scandinavian police procedurals to lush Korean historical dramas, these shows offer an insight into the genres that connect us — and the ones that are wholly new to American audiences. Here are 10 binge-worthy shows to start your global TV journey.
Netflix pro tip: Many of these series offer English-dubbed versions, which might automatically play when you click on the show. If you don't feel like reading subtitles, voila! But if you'd rather view them as originally created, just select the speech bubble on the bottom of the screen and select your preferred language for the audio track and subtitles.
The Series: Lupin (2021-)
The country of origin: France
The premise: At the turn of the 20th century, the British had Sherlock Holmes, and the French had Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief and master of disguise who appeared in more than 50 stories. In this witty new thriller — which returned with five new episodes June 11 — Omar Sy stars as Assane Diop, a French-Senegalese man who uses the adventures of Lupin as inspiration to commit daring heists to avenge his late father, who was wronged by his wealthy employer. If you're a fan of French cinema, you'll recognize Sy from the touching 2011 film Intouchables, for which he became the first Black best actor winner in the history of the César Awards (France's Oscars).
Watch it if you liked: The BBC series Sherlock (there's a crossover being discussed!) and stylish French filming locations like the Louvre
Where to watch: Lupin
The series: Babylon Berlin (2017-)
The country of origin: Germany
The premise: Set during the waning days of the Weimar Republic, just before the Nazi takeover, this neo-noir thriller is a window into the glitz and grit of 1920s and ‘30s Berlin. Police inspector and World War I veteran Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) transfers to Berlin to investigate the hijacking of a Soviet freight train; once there, he starts working with Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries), a flapper and police clerk who hopes to become the city's first female homicide detective.
Watch it if you liked: Cabaret, The Great Gatsby and film noir
Where to watch: Babylon Berlin
The series: Cable Girls (2017-2020)
The country of origin: Spain
The premise: With five seasons and 42 episodes, this Spanish period drama was Netflix's longest-running international series when it wrapped last year. Set in 1920s Madrid, the series — called Las chicas del cable in Spanish — follows four women who work as switchboard operators at Spain's first telecommunications company, as they navigate what it means to get a taste of independence in the era of flappers and suffragettes. It's a perfect blend of pointed historical commentary and a ton of girl-power fun with a surprisingly rocking soundtrack.
Watch it if you liked: Mad Men, feminism and vintage 1920s fashion (so many cloches!)
Where to watch: Cable Girls
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