A scene from "Derry Girls"
Netflix

The Best Foreign TV Shows to Binge This Summer

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A scene from "Derry Girls"
Netflix

TV From Afar

Chances are good that you've watched more TV over the 15 months or so — like, a lot more. Maybe you're even feeling like there's just not that much left to watch. But if you haven't yet delved into the world of foreign TV shows, we promise you … there's plenty of good content there to mine, especially if you don't mind subtitles. Here are 12 foreign TV shows we recommend for summertime binge-watching. 


Related: 17 Beloved Classic TV Shows You Can Still Watch


‘To the Lake’
Amazon

‘To the Lake’

Watch on Netflix

This Russian sci-fi thriller, based on the bestselling novel by Yana Vagner, is about a group's attempts to survive when a civilization-ending plague strikes. It's filled with drama, suspense, and plenty of plot twists. Only one eight-episode season has been released on Netflix so far, but a second season is in the works. However, it likely won't air on the streaming service until 2022 so you have plenty of time to get caught up. 


Related: The Cast of ‘That ‘70s Show’: Then and Now

Scene from "The Last Kingdom"
Adrien Szabo/Netflix

'The Last Kingdom'

Watch on Netflix

This British historical fiction drama is based on 'The Saxon Stories,' a series of novels by Bernard Cornwell that loosely follows the actual ninth-century history of King Alfred and the era's bloody and violent struggles between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings. The series' main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, is a warrior caught between the two worlds after his village is sacked by Vikings who then decide to adopt him. Netflix has the first four seasons available, and the fifth and final season should air sometime in late 2021 or early 2022. 


Related: Best TV Shows Starring Boomers

A scene from "Beartown"
Niklas Maupoix/HBO

'Beartown'

Watch on HBO or HBO Max

If you're a fan of ice hockey, Scandinavian noir, or author Fredrik Backman's work, you'll likely enjoy this Swedish adaptation of Backman's novel by the same name. The miniseries explores difficult themes including sexual assault and the price paid when a community wraps up too much of its identity around winning. Just five episodes long, it's a quick binge with plenty of frigid landscapes to make you feel cooler on the steamiest of summer days. 


Related: The 24 Most-Watched TV Show Finales

"Kim's Convenience" cast
CBC

'Kim's Convenience'

Watch on Netflix 

This Canadian sitcom follows the daily lives of Korean-Canadian family the Kims and the events that take place around their family business, a convenience store. Although the show has recently (and unfortunately) been in the news for a lack of behind-the-scenes representation, its first four seasons were lauded for their honest and straightforward depiction of Korean culture, and the show is both funny and heartfelt on top of that.  


Related: 24 Funniest Comedy Specials You Can Watch Online

A scene from "Dark"
Netflix

'Dark'

Watch on Netflix

This German science fiction thriller has some pretty dark subject matter — kids are disappearing in the fictional German town of Winden — but the truth behind how they vanish unravels to a level of complexity that is mind-bending. The show ended after the third season, and a total of 26 episodes are available to stream on Netflix. 


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'Derry Girls'
Amazon

'Derry Girls'

Watch on Netflix

This comedy is set among the unrest of Northern Ireland in the 1990s, and that tension is juxtaposed against five bawdy, awkward teens who try to navigate their coming-of-age as they also grapple with family dynamics and the political upheaval that constitutes their world. Two six-episode seasons of this hilarious and earnest show have been released so far, and there's a third season coming to Netflix, although probably not until 2022. 


A scene from "Crash Landing on You"
Netflix

'Crash Landing on You'

Watch on Netflix

For the romance folks out there, here's a South Korean TV show that follows an heiress who crash lands in North Korea while paragliding. Captured by DMZ patrol officers, drama ensues, and there's a love story that eventually plays out between the heiress and one of her captors. With just one season of 10 episodes, 'Crash Landing on You' is a quick binge, and one of the highest-rated South Korean TV dramas in cable television history.


'Shtisel'
Wikimedia Commons

'Shtisel'

Watch on Netflix

This Israeli drama follows the lives of a Haredi family living in one of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. The show emphasizes its characters' humanity while also noting their differences. Each episode is around 45 minutes, and the show has received nominations and wins for Best Drama Series from the Israeli Television Academy. There are three seasons on Netflix.


'Borgen'
Amazon

'Borgen'

Watch on Netflix

If you were a fan of “The West Wing” (and even if you’re not — it’s that good) this three-season Danish political drama will definitely interest you. It follows the rise of a minor and moderate female politician who suddenly finds herself as Denmark's first female prime minister. It has elements of mystery and scandal, and has been lauded for its ability to 'uncannily forecast actual developments in Danish politics.' 


A scene from "Money Heist"
Netflix

'Money Heist'

Watch on Netflix

You have until Sept. 3 to get caught up on the first few seasons of “Money Heist,” a Spanish crime drama that relies on prolonged tense narratives punctuated by doses of humor (and a great soundtrack). While much of the show was filmed in Madrid, other locations include Italy, Panama, and Thailand. The first part of the final season will be released in early September, and the second half will hit the streaming site on Dec. 3. 


A scene from "Kingdom"
Juhan Noh/Netflix

'Kingdom'

Watch on Netflix

If you're a fan of both zombie flicks and historical dramas, this South Korean show — not to be confused with the MMA-focused American TV show of the same name — has elements of both horror and historical fiction. Set in the Joseon Dynasty, the drama follows a kingdom's response to a 'mysterious plague overtaking the land.' There are two seasons to watch on Netflix so far, and if you finish those before mid-summer, the streaming network recently announced it would release a special stand-alone episode titled 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' on July 23.

'Babylon Berlin'
Wikimedia Commons

'Babylon Berlin'

Watch on Netflix

Set in 1929 Berlin, this German series is based on novels by author Volker Kutscher and follows the Weimar Republic's later years. One of the most expensive television series ever produced in Germany, the show has elaborate sets and has been filmed at various locations around the country. It's a great content choice for history buffs as well as fans of historical fiction. There are three seasons on Netflix, and a fourth season is expected later this year or in 2022.