It’s almost become a cliché to complain that there’s nothing left that you want to watch on Netflix. But let’s be honest, with the service’s huge catalog, this is probably not true for most people.
Non-English series in particular might escape the radar of English-speaking viewers, although people are increasingly discovering them. According to U.S. viewership numbers, about 97% of Netflix subscribers watched non-English content in 2021—a 71% increase from 2019.
Not sure where to start? Here are eight series recommendations based on popular U.S. and UK shows!
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If you liked: Stranger Things, Lost
Try: Dark (Germany)
Often dubbed the German Stranger Things, Dark is so much more. The series intricately weaves together elements from crime thrillers, science fiction, and horror, with a dash of drama for good measure. Set in the fictional German town of Winden, Dark tells a tale of missing children, time travel, and a possible impending apocalypse. It is the first German-language series developed by Netflix and was released to critical acclaim. Plus, the fact that Dark is only three seasons long and tells a complete story bolsters the decision to watch it.
If you liked: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones
Try: Kingdom (South Korea)
An extremely fun genre hybrid, Kingdom brings together all the most exciting horror elements from The Walking Dead (before it got bad) and the political intrigue of Game of Thrones (…also before it got bad). Set during 16th-century Korea, Kingdom follows the outbreak of a plague that turns people into zombies. Following the Imjin War with Japan, the kingdom of Joseon is facing widespread famine. The crown prince must contend both with the rising pandemic and malicious actors who plot against the crown. Strap in, you’re for a ride!
If you liked: Vikings, Monty Python, The Office
Try: Norsemen (Norway)
Another genre hybrid, Norsemen is essentially what would happen if Vikings was lensed through the comedy stylings of Monty Python and interpersonal commentary of The Office. If that sounds ridiculous, check out the trailer above and you’ll see what we mean! Set in eighth-century Norway, the series follows the daily lives of a group of vikings, their village, and surrounding communities. Interestingly, the series was simultaneously shot both in Norwegian and English.
If you liked: House of Cards
Try: Borgen (Denmark)
A taut political drama, Borgen chronicles the rise of Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), the first female prime minister of Denmark. Unlike House of Cards’ Frank Underwood, however, Nyborg’s path is less conniving and more on the straight and narrow. What the two programs do share in common, however, is the portrayal of the ever-hectic world of national (and international) politics and the sacrifices needed for success.
If you liked: Sneaky Pete, Sherlock
Try: Lupin (France)
A modern-day reimagining of the exploits of master thief Arsène Lupin, Lupin follows Assane Diop, a thief on a mission for revenge. Diop’s father, a Senegalese migrant to France, is framed by his employer for a diamond theft and is later found dead, leaving Diop as an orphan. The series picks up years later with Diop as a gentleman thief, now inspired by a book series on Arsène Lupin that his father had gifted to him years earlier. Echoing the subterfuge of Sneaky Pete and the creative flair of Sherlock, Lupin is the perfect blend of mystery and crime thriller.
If you liked: Breaking Bad, Prison Break
Try: Money Heist (Spain)
Looking for a tense action thriller? Did Breaking Bad leave you on the edge of your seat? Did Prison Break have you rooting for characters that longed for escape? Then Money Heist is the show for you! Originally conceived as a mini-series and broadcast in Spain on Antena 3, Money Heist was later acquired by Netflix and recut into a slightly different format. The series follows a random group of people that have been selected to undertake the biggest heist in Spanish history.
If you liked: Black Mirror, Kiss Me First
Try: Alice in Borderland (Japan)
Based on the manga of the same name, Alice in Borderland is an absolutely bonkers series that’s equal parts Hunger Games, Ready Player One, and live-action anime. The story follows a group of teenage reprobates who are transported into a post-apocalyptic parallel Japan and forced to play games in order to survive. Basically, Alice in Borderland is everything you’ve come to love from over-the-top manga adaptations and includes a hefty dose of phantasmagoric imagery and cartoonish violence. The manga has also been adapted into a three-part anime series.
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If you liked: Homeland
Try: Okkupert (Norway)
Set in the near future, Okkupert tells the story of a Russian-occupied Norway. Following an environmental disaster and subsequent Europe-wide energy crisis, the European Union has backed Russia to occupy Norway in order to kickstart oil and gas production. A gripping political thriller replete with tense action and threats of espionage, Okkupert is a little less black and white than Homeland and will often keep you guessing whose allegiances lie where.