Last Updated: January 28th
Netflix is beefing up its international line-up with a handful of elite shows from every continent. In the mood for a Spanish-language drama about prep school kids that begins with a murder? It’s there. What about a Scandinavian mystery-thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world? The streaming platform’s got you covered there, too. Netflix is cultivating some great foreign TV series in every genre for fans to enjoy, and we’re rounding up the best of the best.
How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
1 season, 6 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
This German import is a wild ride through the drug-laden world of high-school. Moritz is a nobody who’s suffering through his teenage years with the belief that one day, he’ll be the next Mark Zuckerberg (not something to aspire to, kids). When his girlfriend dumps him, he recruits his best friend to help create what soon becomes Europe’s largest online drug business in the hopes of getting “in” with the popular kids and winning her back. Shootouts, overdoses, jarringly funny lessons on the effects of MDMA, it’s all here, and it makes for an addictive watch.
5 seasons, 66 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara star in this Canadian sitcom about a wealthy family forced to scale down their extravagant lifestyle with hilarious results. Levy plays Johnny Rose, a rich video-store magnate who loses his fortune when his business manager fails to pay his taxes. O’Hara plays his wife, Moira, a former soap opera star who, along with her husband and their two pampered children, must move to a town called Schitt’s Creek. Johnny bought the town as a joke when the family had more money than they could spend, but now, the town and its residents serve as a comedic wake-up call for a guy who has problems rooting himself in reality. Levy is brilliant in this thing, and it’s a damn shame that the show was so overlooked by American audiences. Let’s change that.
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Sure, there’s an American version of this show available if you just can’t be bothered with subtitles, but you’re missing out if you choose it over the original French iteration. The story’s the same in both: a small mountain community is rocked to its core when several local people who are presumed dead suddenly re-appear at their homes, but the French version offers plenty more twists and satisfying reveals than its American cousin. Also, the horror elements as people try to recover their memories are enough to give you nightmares.
2 seasons, 16 episodes | IMDb: 7.5/10
Netflix’s Spanish-language teen drama is a cross between the noir-thriller nature of Riverdale and the high-society angst of Gossip Girl. The show follows a group of students at an elite prep school who are left reeling when one of their own is murdered. Worse, a rivalry between the rich kids and the working-class students leads to a whodunnit fueled by booze and drugs and deadly brawls that have some surprisingly deep roots in classism.
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
If an anthropomorphic horse navigating Hollywood just seems too far-fetched, even by cartoon comedy standards, maybe this show about an anthropomorphic red panda working in the accounting department of a Japanese trading firm feels a bit more down to earth. Retsuko is 25, single, and completely fed up with her place of work. Her boss is a pig (literally), her coworkers are manipulative and selfish, and her love-life is nonexistent. Her only escape: The karaoke bar she goes to every night to vent her frustrations with life by dubbing death metal tracks. If cute Japanese anime, hard rock, and shows about self-discovery are your thing, check this one out.
1 season, 6 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
The U.K.’s most popular new drama has made its way across the pond. The procedural thriller stars Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden as David Budd, a military vet turned police officer tasked with protecting a high-profile politician during a particularly dicey time. There’s plenty of suspense and action to string you along, coupled with a vulnerable performance by Madden, who ditches his King of the North swagger to play a man conflicted by his past and his present duty to his country.
2 seasons, 19 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
If you’re trying to pin down Netflix’s mystery crime thriller, the best way to describe it is to call it a German version of Stranger Things minus the Demogorgon. The show centers on four families whose lives and dark deeds are brought to light after two children vanish in the woods. There’s plenty of familial drama here and a supernatural twist or two to keep things interesting.
Boys Over Flowers
1 season, 25 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
This South Korean dramedy follows a young girl who gets involved with the most popular boys’ clique at her elite high school. Geum Jan-di has grown up poor and doesn’t fit in with the rich kids at her prep school, especially the F4, four young men from powerful families who rule her grade. When she stands up to one of them after they bully a fellow student, their leader, Gu Jun-pyo, begins to fall in love with her. The show skips around a few years, following their messy love story amidst more soapy-plot-twists like memory loss, kidnappings, and an arranged marriage, but there’s real heart and a lot of humor in this thing that makes it worth the watch.
1 season, 9 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
This Dutch thriller centers on a young woman named Mie, who wakes up in a psychiatric facility with no memory of her life before becoming a patient there. Making things worse? A missing person’s case prompts a detective to begin snooping through her past, causing her to mistrust everyone around her, including herself. There’s a bit of murder and camp in this one, which only add to the mystery of it all.
2 seasons, 14 episodes | IMDb: 6.4/10
This Danish sci-fi series follows the survivors of a mysteriously fatal natural disaster — a virus carried by rainfall that wipes out most of Scandinavia — as they search for answers to the illness, what causes it, and why one amongst them is immune. Simone and her younger brother, Rasmus, go up against government facilities intent on experimenting on them while they hunt for a cure.