Some of the best television is being produced outside of the United States. The internet is affording us more access to the best of world tv dramas. Foreign television companies are producing some of the most impressive shows with American producers then remaking them in English.
Take AMC’s “The Killing” for example, a remake of “Forbrydelsen,” the hit Danish series, or “Wallander” the Kenneth Branagh PBS series versus the Swedish production with Krister Henriksson or the honor-ridden SHOWTIME production “Homeland,” a borrowing of the original Israeli series “Prisoners of War” now available on HULU. As good as the American shows are, the foreign originals are even better. Two challenges arise: one has to read subtitles and availability can be akin to a scavenger hunt. The effort is definitely worth it on both counts however.
When choosing my favorites of the bunch, I must add “Broen/The Bridge” from Denmark, a fascinating crime show that starts with a female body being found on a bridge halfway between Denmark and Sweden and “Borgen,” the political drama about a fictitious first female prime minister of Denmark. Both shows grab you and keep you wanting more.
I can’t help but mention two more of my favorites: “Spiral”/”Engrenages” from France, a crime drama that didn’t snag my interest initially but bears patience as the plots and characters weave together in an ingenious way (now on NETFLIX streaming), and “Commissario Brunetti,” a curious yet entertaining production set in a gloriously filmed Venice but cast with German actors.
Many of the best programs are only available if you buy the DVDs from Amazon, MHz networks or another internet sales site. Beware of the DVD format as some only come in a PAL version unplayable on American DVD players. I’m told you can buy international DVD players at Indian shops on Devon Avenue in Chicago or at similar ethnic neighborhood shops if you are reading this from a different city.
One would hope that the streaming services such as NETFLIX, HULU (although they feature Spanish lanaguage telenovelas and Korean programming) and AMAZON Prime get savvy about this burgeoning interest in foreign television and provide us with more streaming content from Europe, Australia/New Zealand, South America and Asia.
I plan on making foreign crime drama television a special interest on my blog and web site, so check back from time to time as I add more reviews.
Here is an aforementioned service that sells DVDS, but also broadcasts on public television stations nation-wide:
A list of the programs noted above:
“Borgen” (Denmark), political drama. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
“Broen”/”he Bridge” (Denmark), crime series. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
“Commissario Brunetti” (German), crime series set in Venice. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
“Forbrydelsen”/”The Killing” (Denmark), crime series. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
“Prisoners of War” (Israel), psychological/political thriller. Available at HULU.
“Spiral”/”Engrenages” (France), crime drama. Available on NETFLIX streaming.
“Wallander” (Sweden), crime series with Krister Kenriksson. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
Other recommended foreign series:
“The Eagle”/”Ornen” (Denmark), engaging crime drama. Available on HULU and NETFLIX streaming.
“Epitafios” (Argentina), gruesome crime drama. Available from NETFLIX by mail.
“Inspector Salvo Montalbano” (Italy), lighter-hearted detective series. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
“Irene Huss” (Sweden), female detective series. Available for purchase from AMAZON.
“MI-5” (Great Britain), absolutely riveting spy drama. Available on NETFLIX streaming.
“The Protectors” (Denmark) fast-paced crime drama. Available on HULU and NETFLIX streaming.
“Varg Veum” (Norway) crime drama. Available for purchase at AMAZON.