Sharpen Your Culture and Language Skills by Binge Watching These Foreign TV Shows

The television industry is experiencing another golden age of entertainment with more streaming services popping up every day and new types of programming being brought to living rooms around the country. While there are plenty of new, interesting shows produced here at home, there are also lots of intriguing new programs coming in from around the world. Check out these international television shows to gain some insight into another culture or sharpen your language skills.

Babylon Berlin

Netflix subscribers can check out Babylon Berlin from Germany. This mesmerizing historical drama takes place in 1929. It tells the story of a Berlin detective and former WWI veteran in the years before Germany was taken over by Nazi ideology and anti-semitism. The sets, costumes, visuals, and the intricate story will draw you in and have you eager for more of this addictive crime drama series. So far, there have been two seasons since it premiered in 2017. The new third season is scheduled for release at the end of 2019.

The Pact

If you have HBO, you can use its streaming service to catch another international crime drama, The Pact. The series, which comes from Poland, ran for two six-episode seasons on HBO Europe in 2015 and 2016. The protagonist is a journalist named Piotr, who lives in modern-day Warsaw. The story follows Piotr as he discovers information that could end up costing lives.


Another great series from Netflix is Elite, which is a smart teen series from Spain. Released in 2018, the two seasons follow a group of teenagers at an elite private school. The plot centers around a group of working-class students and the wealthy elite of the school’s legacy. At some point in the first season, there is a murder, which brings even more conflict and drama to the school. The second season continues the story after the murder and uses different points of view to show what happened. If you want to see more Spanish-language programming, check out some of the DISH Latino packages.


Brazil also has a stunning series available for streaming online. On Netflix, you can check out 3%, one of the few options in Portuguese. This show portrays a dystopian future in a similar fashion to the world from The Hunger Games. Society has been divided into the poor and the elite. So far, there have been three seasons released on Netflix. The last fourth season is set to be released next.   


On Amazon Prime, you can see an intriguing mystery program called Trapped. The show is set in the stunning backdrop of Iceland and follows a murder investigation a policeman in a remote fishing village. Two seasons have been released so far, and a third season is already being worked on for release possibly next year.


Another international entry from Northern Europe is Finland’s Bordertown. This award-winning crime drama takes place on the border between Finland and Russia and details the challenges of this location. The lead character and detective Kari has taken a job in a quiet town thinking he will finally have time to spend with his family. Unfortunately, his work as a detective starts to get even more complicated. Two seasons have been released on Netflix, and a third season is on the way.

My Brilliant Friend

The last show to check out on this list comes from Italy and chronicles a lifelong friendship between two women. My Brilliant Friend is based on a series of novels called the Neapolitan novels by Italian author Elena Ferrante. The first novel of the four-book series has been transformed into this thought-provoking series on HBO.

Expand your entertainment horizons by watching some of these shows produced outside of North America. Find out why international programming is becoming so popular.


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